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First cycle of Multimedia Training in Theme Rooms – Part 1: The program takes shape

December 5th, 2015 by Pekka Kamarainen

One of the highlights in the Construction pilot of the EU-funded Learning Layers (LL) project in the year 2015 was the implementation of the Multimedia Training based on the “Theme Room” concept in our application partner organisation Bau-ABC Rostrup. I have already reported on, how the training staff in Bau-ABC developed the concept ‘Theme Rooms’ (and how we integrated it into the LL project approach) in my earlier blogs of June 2015 and September 2015. After an intensive conference period we (the LL teams of Bau-ABC, ITB and Pontydysgu) found the time for planning and preparation in October. In joint planning meetings we adjusted the initial concept and made the related working agreements.

Adjustment of the concept and selecting the themes for the first cycle

The key idea of the Theme Room concept was to arrange four parallel rooms for thematic workshops with small groups. The idea was that the participants will go through a whole cycle through these rooms during four successive Friday afternoons. In addition, the participants should have access to virtual learning spaces of the Theme Rooms. The concept envisaged peer tutors from Bau-ABC  (supported by co-tutors from ITB and Pontydysgu).

In the initial concept the Bau-ABC trainers had proposed four main themes tor

  1. Learning Toolbox as a flexible framework for tools/ apps/ contents/ communication,
  2. Use of Social media as support for learning,
  3. Intellectual property rights, licensing and sharing,
  4. Preparation of Digital Learning Materials.

In the planning meetings we concluded that it would be necessary to start with fewer themes and to have two workshops in the same theme room before moving to the next one. In this way we could ensure that all participants can follow the tempo and achieve sustainable learning results. Also, we considered that it is better to have two workshops with the themes ‘Social Media’ and ‘Preparing Digital Learning Materials’ before introducing the theme ‘Learning Toolbox (LTB)’. Thus, the work with LTB would be introduced in the second cycle of Theme Room workshops. Concerning the theme ‘Intellectual Property Rights’, we agreed to take it up as a transversal theme and to invite the responsible tutor (Dirk Stieglitz, Pontydysgu) to visit the parallel theme rooms to give a brief input on these themes to all groups working in Bau-ABC.

Adjusting the mode of operation of  the Theme Rooms

So, we had come up with a model in which we had  four parallel groups that attended workshops on four successive Fridays in the training centre Bau-ABC in Rostrup and a fifth group working in the affiliated training centre ABZ in Mellendorf. We agreed that two groups in Bau-ABC would start with Social Media and two with Digital Learning Materials. The Mellendorf group also started with Social Media. After two workshops the groups would change to the other priority theme of the first cycle of workshops.

For each group we appointed a tutor from Bau-ABC and a co-tutor from ITB, whilst Dirk Stieglitz from Pontydysgu (responsible for Intellectual property rights) and Jaanika Hirv (TLU, placed for two months in Bau-ABC) were supporting all the groups. During the work we agreed that the groups will work with the same tutors across the themes instead of changing tutors when moving to the next theme.

All these measures and the grouping of participants aimed to help the participants to reach a common overview of the themes and a capability to use social media and prepare digital learning materials (whatever their prior knowledge and skills may have been). Thus, the workshops had the goal to provide all participants active learning opportunities and to create a basi for joint use of new tools and media across the organisation. For the preparation of the workshops and for storage of group results we set up a Google Drive folder tol be updated with contents, learning tasks and links to supporting web resources.

So, in this way we prepared for the start in October. During four Friday afternoons we then worked in the Theme Rooms to make the best of the program.

More blogs to come …

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