Archive for the ‘Informal learning’ Category

What are we achieving with Learning Layers Y2 fieldwork – Part 2: Stakeholder engagement and sustainability scenarios

November 7th, 2014 by Pekka Kamarainen

With the series of two postings I wish to give a picture on the progress of the Learning Layers (LL) project with its fieldwork in the construction sector during the Year 2. With the previous blog I discussed our progress from the perspective of the (participative) R&D activities. In this blog I will shift the emphasis on our progress with stakeholder engagement and in shaping sustainability scenarios for the time after the project.

Reaching out to stakeholders in Germany and in Europe

The major steps forward in engaging key stakeholders and in outreach activities have been the following:

  • The Learning Layers outreach activities during the Brunnenbauertage trade fair (May 2014 in Bau-ABC) reached an audience of ca. 300 persons. Via the presentations, the information stall and via numerous interviews and short working meetings the project made new contacts for follow-up measures. These activities focused on craft trade companies, manufacturer and vendor companies as well as on other training providers (e.g. Fachhochschulen with intensive workplace learning schemes).
  • The Learning Layers’ partners’ visit to the major North-German construction sector trade fair NordBau (September 2014) continued the outreach activities started at Brunnebauertage in May. In scheduled talks with manufacturer and vendor companies, the representatives of Bau-ABC took the lead in promoting the Learning Toolbox among their partner companies. Parallel to this ITB started the series of cooperation workshops on company-specific piloting with the Learning Toolbox.
  • Parallel to the progress in the pilot regions the Learning Layers partners used their conference participation to involve interested experts as external advisors. In this way, the contacts from ECER 2013 and ECER 2014 have been used to engage external advisors from Germany (evaluation of training sectors in the construction sector), the Netherlands (accompanying research on the development of hybrid learning environments in two sectors, including construction), Norway (evaluation of the role of regional apprenticeship offices as catalysts of innovations).
  • In collaboration with the partners working with managed clusters at European level (see below) the North-German partners have created collaboration with North-German cluster initiatives that focus on the construction sector. In this respect, the membership of Bau-ABC and ITB in the “Bau 4.0” initiative group paves the way for wider spin-off activities.

From project work to sustainability scenarios

The progress in the development of sustainability scenarios can be characterised in the following way:

In the year one, the sustainability scenarios in the construction sector could at best be shaped as measures to promote sustainability of the main project activities in target organisations (but with limited awareness how to sustain them after the project).

Based on the year two activities, it has been possible shape an integrative scenario that links to each otherthe following elements:

  1. the consolidation of the Learning Toolbox Development Group in parallel to
  2. the upgrading of capacity-building services provided by Bau-ABC – the so-called Living Lab concept,
  3. the creation of an organisational format for users’ participation in the development of the Learning Toolbox (“Users’ association”) and
  4. the creation of pattern for business cooperation between internal stakeholders and external service providers interested in the Learning Toolbox.

These are (in a nutshell) the messages we are presenting in our deliverables. But now that we have submitted them we are already continuing to the next steps of our fieldwork.

More blogs to come …

What are we achieving with Learning Layers Y2 fieldwork – Part 1: R&D activities

November 7th, 2014 by Pekka Kamarainen

Some time has passed since my latest postings on the Learning Layers (LL) project on this blog. The reason has been obvious – we have been busy preparing the Year 2 deliverables for the review meeting that takes place at the end of the year. This has required a lot of energy to present what all we have done. Also, it has required a lot of effort to compress our message – to make it transparent. With this blog I want to use some extracts of these documents to highlight what we have been achieving in our fieldwork in the construction sector – in particular from the perspective of the (participative) R&D activities. (In the next blog I will discuss the achievements in stakeholder engagement.)

Shift of emphasis from Year 1 to Year 2

Work in the Construction pilot region in year two has been based on the following shifts of emphasis in the main activities: key points and main activities in the initial deployment and piloting of the tools:

  • During year one, partners working in the construction sector carried out a series of interviews and workshops with different stakeholders. A negative picture of the use of  digital media and web tools in the construction sector was confirmed and specified by critical feedback on scattered apps, tools and software solutions.
  • At the end of year one and during year two, the challenge has been to engage key organisations and user groups in more targeted co-design processes and capacity building measures. The main emphasis has been on an integrative framework – the Learning Toolbox –  and on capacity building initiatives,  in particular the Multimedia Training in Bau-ABC. With these activities, the project has supported the application partners in taking a more prominent role as multiplier organisations.

Steps forward in co-design activities

The main characteristics in the initial deployment and piloting of the tools have been the following:

  • The initial Design Theme “Sharing Turbine” was reviewed internally and  reworked (in January 2014) into proposals for Development project “Learning Toolbox” supported by parallel Multimedia Training programme with in-built co-design sessions. Parallel to this, the www.baubildung.net platform was launched to support the pilots in the construction sector. These new Development Projects and support measures were presented in the consortium meeting in Innsbruck (February 2014).
  • The initial development of the Learning Toolbox has been carried out in several iterations and sprints that have been followed by stakeholder engagement activities and participative workshops.
  • The Multimedia Training program (including 5 workshops between November 2013 and July 2014) has enabled trainers from Bau-ABC to launch three domain-specific blogs that deliver their training materials, literature recommendations and special tasks for continuing professional development. Also, the training has enabled the participants to produce their own video content and to become peer tutors.
  • In the next iteration the Learning Toolbox was equipped with a QR-scanner and linked to tools and apps for digitising analogical contents. These features were presented 100 apprentices and trainers in the Demo Camp event in Bau-ABC during the project consortium meeting (June 2014). This feedback event provided the basis for subsequent developers’ event in Graz (August 2014) to explore the integration of WordPress (Baubildung.net, trainers’ blogs), the Social Semantic Server and the Learning Toolbox.
  • As an alternative to an interim evaluation workshop the Bau-ABC team (with support from ITB) produced short videos on the uses of the Learning Toolbox in different working and learning contexts. In these videos the trainers also gave insights into their own progress in making use of web tools and multimedia and as peer tutors in supporting each others’ learning (see http://odl.learning-layers.eu/the-learning-tool-box-new-prospects-for-using-digital-media-and-smartphones-alongside-working-and-learning/). Based on this feedback the developers of the Learning Toolbox have had a Design Sprint event in Utrecht (October 2014).

I have given a selective glimpse into what we are reporting and I have focused on our cooperation with the training centre Bau-ABC. In the next posting I will focus on our progress with stakeholder engagement and interaction with users. Here again, Bau-ABC has played a major role.

More blogs to come …

Learning Layers videos from Bau-ABC presented for a Norwegian audience

October 17th, 2014 by Pekka Kamarainen

Day before yesterday I published on YouTube  a set of Learning Layers (LL) videos (with English subtitles) from Bau-ABC . Here the link to the YouTube channel via which they were published:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNsA37YN2C4HZEwN10HqPOw

Today these videos had their premiere in front of a qualified audience from Norway. A delegation from the Norwegian college Fagskolen Innlandet (Rector, Vice-rector and ca. 50 lecturers) had visited enterprises in Bremen during two days. On their final day they had a special session with ITB, with focus on Learning Layers. Given their tight schedule, I was alone presenting the project and its recent achievements (in Norwegian).

After having given a brief introduction to ITB (as an institute), to its international projects and to the Learning Layers (as a project) we focused primarily on the Learning Toolbox. Here, the most effective way to communicate was to show the short videos from Bau-ABC. We had a look at the apprentices’ projects (Video 3), work situations on construction sites (Video 4), clips that highlight Health and Safety issues (Video 5), special demands arising from storage of tools (Video 7) and the results of Multimedia training in Bau-ABC (Video 1). Altogether, this session with short videos gave the visitors a lively picture on, what is happening in the LL project and how our application partner Bau-ABC is working with us.

After this presentation we had an interesting discussion. The rector drew my attention to the fact that the Fagskole is a two-year long college that provides higher vocational qualifications for professional who have gone through initial vocational education and have gained work experience. Fagskolen Innlandet caters for a wide range of occupational fields, including construction, industrial maintenance, automation etc. – but as well business administration and healthcare. In addition, a large proportion of the students is participating as part-time students using e-learning provisions. (Partly their training is comparable with the professional upgrading programs of Bau-ABC, partly with that of some German Universities of Applied Sciences.)

In the discussion I had to answer to several well-targeted and well-formulated questions:

Firstly, some of the lecturers were interested on the pedagogic implications of introducing the Learning Toolbox (LTB). Here, I referred to the conceptual background of the Bau-ABC White Folder in the culture of action-oriented and self-organised learning (Handlungsorientiertes Lernen). I told them of several workshop sessions and on the trainers’ discussion in the Video 2. In these discussions trainers have stressed the LTB as support for self-organised learning and professional problem-solving.

Secondly, some of the lecturers were interested on the organisational consequences of introducing the LTB. Here I could refer to the issues our Bau-ABC colleagues have raised on their access to Internet from working areas, to the availability of mobile devices and to the technical support for wider range of internet users. The Bau-ABC colleagues have addressed this in their concept to install a “Living Lab” unit, based on a mobile container with specific Internet access and support arrangements. At the level of craft trade companies there are also similar issues with which our partners are working.

Thirdly, some of the lecturers were interested in issues on industrial culture (steep or flat hierarchy) and on communication with contents that are manageable for craftsmen. Here again, I could refer to examples of our partner companies and to their initiatives to get the filtering and reduction right when making contents available online. Also, I could give encouraging examples of participative development and design work.

Altogether, the presentation was well received and the Norwegian colleagues were clearly interested in our work. So far they had not been strongly involved in European cooperation but there might be a chance to further cooperation with spin-off ideas arising from the work of the Learning Layers project.

PS. Just when I had returned to ITB, I had a chance to give another demonstration session to our visitor, Prof. Jürgen Radel who had been formerly working as an international HRD manager in a Bremen-based logistics company but is now working as professor in a University for Applied Sciences in Berlin. He was also interested to see, what we are achieving in our project and was very impressed of the LTB and on the trainers’ blogs (as outcome of the Multimedia Training). In return he gave a demonstration on his online learning materials (including videos) on Moodle. We agreed to exchange information our progress.

I guess this is enough to show that the work with the Learning Layers videos has been worthwhile. I am looking forward to next opportunities for such exchanges.

More blogs to come …

Further thoughts on the short videos from Bau-ABC for the Learning Layers project

October 16th, 2014 by Pekka Kamarainen

Yesterday I published on YouTube seven short videos (with English subtitles)  that were filmed in Bau-ABC to demonstrate the achievements of the Learning Layers (LL) project. Here the link to the YouTube channel via which they were published:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNsA37YN2C4HZEwN10HqPOw

During the final editing phase I had plenty of time to think about the importance of this material for the LL project. Therefore, I would like to share these thoughts with this blog post. I have already given an overview on the content of these videos in my previous post. Therefore, I prefer to go directly to the points that I want to highlight when looking at the whole set of these videos as testimonies of our partners in Bau-ABC on the achievements and prospects of the work of the LL project in their working environment:

1. The Multimedia Training has impact

Already the first video demonstrates that the Multimedia Training has had real impact. The most obvious example is the Carpernters’ blog – Zimmererblog. With this blog trainer Markus Pape has organised the whole range of initial training projects (from year 1 to year 3)  in his trade. He has also attracted international interest and the number of hits (now over 4700) is highly respectable. But it is equally important that similar initiatives (with blogs or with separate web pages) have been launched in other trades as well and that the feedback from apprentices – who have been able to use their smartphones to access the material – has been positive.

2. The Learning Toolbox (LTB) can be used to support both learning and occupational work

The third video explores the use of the Learning Toolbox (LTB) in an apprentice’s project, whilst the sixth video documents instruction on a specific workplace (and discusses the use of LTB).  The fourth video demonstrates uses of LTB in different working situations. The fifth video highlights the role of LTB in creating awareness for Health and Safety issue – both in the training workshop and in real work situations.

Altogether, these videos demonstrate multiple uses of the LTB for different purposes. Thus, Learning Toolbox is not merely a toolbox to support the training in Bau-ABC (in a local context) but a toolbox to support working and learning in construction sector occupations.

3. The trainers and apprentices are engaged in developing and commenting the Learning Toolbox

In the second video four trainers make comments on the importance of the LTB. In particular they highlight the role of LTB in supporting self-organised learning. Also, they draw attention to the possibilities to make the obligatory documents more interesting to the apprentices (by allowing them to add photos, cartoons or videos). The trainers are clearly willing to enter the next phase – to introduce a functioning LTB in selected apprentices’ projects – as we can see from the “Bonus Track” part of the video.

The third video shows a dialogue between Melanie Campbell and apprentice Martin on the uses of LTB in training. We have several remarks from him. In his final remark (not included into the short video) he expresses the wish to have LTB to use during the preparation for final examinations.

In the seventh video we have a particular working context – the storage of chains for construction vehicles. Here the trainer shows a particular possibility to use the LTB for identifying different chains. Here, new technologies (scanning the RFID chips) linked to LTB could help to track their technical data, safety features and maintenance data. This, however would require further steps in the development.

4. This all is based on previous work with the “Sharing Turbine” and brings the design idea further

Altogether, it is important to note that the initial design idea “Sharing Turbine” has not got lost. Instead, the progress with the trainers’ blogs shows that the info sheets and worksheets for apprentices’ project can be delivered via web. Also the examples on using LTB in different situations show that the apprentices can integrate digital media, web tools and mobile technologies to their work. Furthermore, the work with instruction videos (“Tricks of the trade”) arises from the phase of “Rapid Turbine” and has been carried on to work with Learning Toolbox.

5. This all is work for wider range of users to join in during the next phase of piloting

What has been delighting, is the fact that the colleagues in Bau-ABC have not kept the project and the benefits to themselves but are looking for wider outreach and wider engagement of their partners. This has been apparent during the trade fairs (Brunnenbauertage, NordBau – see my earlier blogs). We have also made progress with our contacts with craft trade companies and our counterparts have also shown interest to engage their partners into discussion on Learning Toolbox (e.g. the company K) or drawn our attention to the potential of LTB to support mobility of apprentices and trainees from other European countries (e.g. the company W). And finally, our work with managed clusters brings into picture a wider circle of users (as the recent messages from Gilbert Peffer demonstrate).

I think this is enough of my further thoughts. We have got something important moving and together we can keep things moving.

More blogs to come …

Seven short videos from Bau-ABC for Learning Layers project available on YouTube

October 15th, 2014 by Pekka Kamarainen

With a series of earlier posts I tried to make transparent, what kind of messages were to be found from the long video (in German) produced for the Learning Layers (LL) project by our colleagues in Bau-ABC: http://youtu.be/Z2JoZSn4PyY

Now, with the help of the friendly advice from Graham and supported by the quality check of Werner I have edited the rich material into seven short videos with English subtitles. Below, I give a brief overview and the links:

First video: LL Multimedia Training and Impact

In this video Bau-ABC trainer Markus Pape presents his Zimmererblog (the Carpenters’ blog) as a results of the Learning Layers’ Multimedia Training. Then, the parallel efforts to create blogs or web pages are discussed by two other Bau-ABC trainers from different trades – Kevin Kuck (Bricklayers) and Lothar Schoka (Well-builders).

 Second video: LTB Development and Implementation

In this video four Bau-ABC trainers discuss the development and implementation of the Learning Toolbox (LTB). They consider the support for self-organised learning, the benefits for apprentices. In particular they emphasise the necessity to get feedback from apprentices who have used the LTB in real work situations. They also stress their willingness to start using the LTB in selected projects. In the Bonus Track Lothar Schoka sends special greetings to the developers of the LTB.

 Third video: LTB for Apprentices’ Project

In this video Bau-ABC apprentice Martin demonstrates how a typical training project is carried out with the support of instruction sheets and worksheets from the White Folder of Bau-ABC. Then he discusses with project manager Melanie Campbell (Bau-ABC), how LTB can be used as support in different phases of the project.

Fourth video: LTB for construction work 

In this video Bau-ABC apprentice Arnold shows how he can use the LTB to support him in managing the heavy excavator that he is driving. In the second part  of the video Markus Pape demonstrates how  LTB can be used by a group of apprentices who are building the scaffolding for a construction site.

Fifth video: LTB for Health and Safety

In this video apprentice Martin discusses with Melanie Campbell, how the LTB can be used to raise awareness of Health and Safety issues in the training workshops while working with training projects. In the second part of the video the apprentices who are building the scaffolding demonstrate their safety gear. Then Melanie Campbell and Markus Pape discuss how to place the specific Health and Safety information into LTB.

Sixth video: LTB for instruction at workplace 

In this video Bau-ABC trainer Stefan Wiedenstried instructs apprentice Tim in measuring and preparing the slope in road-building – a trick of trade for lifetime as he calls it. Then he discusses with Melanie Campbell how such instruction videos should be placed in the LTB. At the end we see a glimpse of an older instruction video.

Seventh video: LTB for storage of tools

In this video Bau-ABC trainer Rainer Schütte shows how LTB can be used by training centres and companies as support for the storage of tools. He makes a request for a special app that could read the technical data and the safety features from the RFID chips. In the other part of the video apprentice Martin and Melanie Campbell look how the search for materials works with QR-scanner.

This is the overview of the short videos extracted from the rich material filmed by our Bau-ABC colleagues Melanie Campbell and Kerstin Engraf (who also did the original editing). With these clips we want to demonstrate how many uses our partners see for the emerging Learning Toolbox – both in training and in work situations. Also, we see how the Multimedia Training and peer tutoring have equipped the trainers to work independently as creators of web-based learning resources for their trade. Altogether, we think that these testimonies from Bau-ABC convey a clear message that they have got something moving with the use of digital media, web tools and workplace learning.

PS. I was assuming that I was publishing on the Learning Layers YouTube channel but it appeared that I was using my own YouTube channel.

More blogs to come …

Second thoughts after the Tallinn meeting of the Learning Layers project

September 30th, 2014 by Pekka Kamarainen

Last week we had the project consortium meeting of the Learning Layers (LL) project in Tallinn. I have posted quite a number of blogs on our preparation for the meeting – on our fieldwork with our partners in the construction sector and on the video produced by the Bau-ABC team, Graham Attwell has posted a blog on the preparation of a specific workshop on Wales-Wide Web. Now it is time to look back – to see what we achieved – and to look forward – to see how we can build on the results of the Tallinn meeting. I do not try to give an all-embracing report, instead I try to highlight some key points.

1. The Business Model workshop

The highlight of the first day was the Business Model workshop – the one that Graham outlined in his blog. Already before the meeting there was a consensus between several partners, how to develop an ‘incubator model’ that links the work inside the project (Work Package 7) to the efforts to facilitate spin-out activities with wider involvement (Work Package 8). The Business Model workshop was planned to take up some key initiatives that would require the involvement of external stakeholders and to develop business model canvases for the initiatives.

From this perspective we worked in small groups with limited time and with interim reporting session (business idea pitches) until we got business model canvases for the following initiatives:

  • Development of the Learning Toolbox (development and maintenance),
  • Development of a Learning Toolbox users’ association (external users’ engagement and co-participation),
  • Development of the AchSo! application,
  • Development of the Healthcare applications’ integration to Intradoc,
  • Development of the Social Semantic Server.

The workshop was carried out with very limited time but it gave an idea, what is needed to take these initiatives from the protective project environment to the ‘real life’ environment after the lifetime of the project. In particular it was important that these business model canvases were drafted by mixed teams – not only insiders in the respective development projects. In this way we got a far better understanding on the whole project.

2. The message of application partner Bau-ABC was received with great interest

This time our colleagues from Bau-ABC could not attend but they prepared a lengthy video from which I showed selected episodes. I have outlined the contents in an earlier blog and then made commentaries on different issues in the videos with my five recent blog posts. Here I would like to emphasise that the video gave a much more lively picture on the progress of our work and on the expectations & wishes of the Bau-ABC trainers, how to work further. Here we got insights into what can be achieved in training projects and in real work on construction sites.

It is worthwhile to note that many colleagues were enthusiastic although they couldn’t follow completely the discussions in German language. But seeing the live people in real working and learning situations or in a very intensive group discussion the colleagues got hungry to learn more what they are saying about the LL project and on the Learning Toolbox. The special “bonus track” was the episode in which Markus Pape demonstrates his Zimmererblog – the worksheets, the drawings, the added resources and the statistics. By that time the blog had passed the mark of 3400 hits (from over 20 countries), at this moment the blog has already passed the mark of 4000 hits. This is a really respectable result for a blog that was launched last November.

3. Progress with sustainability scenarios and integrated learning stories

Already in our previous consortium meeting in Bau-ABC we tried to put the sustainability scenarios into the centre of our work. Also, some of our colleagues had prepared workshops to create integrated learning stories that can demonstrate the use of several LL tools. At that point these exercises did not quite meet each other. Now, in Tallinn, after the Business Model workshop and after fresh input from our application partners we took some steps forward. When we were presenting sustainability scenarios, we were more explicit about stepping outside the project and in engaging external stakeholders. We were also in the position to script new learning stories that are based on the recent progress in our fieldwork . And finally, we were in a good position to to see, how we can make use of the visualisations of our colleagues in Tallinn to illustrate these stories with real life flavour.

I guess this is enough of the highlights. We took a lot of homework for us and now it is time to have a closer look at the ToDo-lists that have been circulating after the meeting. I will get back to blog when we take further steps.

More blogs to come …

 

 

Reviewing the video(s) from Bau-ABC – Part 5: From Multimedia training to multipliers of new skills

September 28th, 2014 by Pekka Kamarainen

With my four previous posts I have worked with a series of blogs that review the video produced by the Bau-ABC team for the recent consortium meeting of the Learning Layers (LL) project. As I have indicated, the video focused on the usability of the emerging Learning Toolbox (LTB) – a framework for accessing web resources and managing web apps – in the construction sector. In the two posts I discussed, how the LTB can be used in the the context of the training activities of the Bau-ABC  and in the companies or construction sites. In the previous post I presented Bau-ABC trainers’ views, how LTB will support learning alongside working. With the final post I will focus on Bau-ABC trainers’ views on the Multimedia training they have gone through and on their achievements with their new skills. Here I share the link to the video:

http://youtu.be/Z2JoZSn4PyY

In several sections the video makes references to the Multimedia training that was organised by the LL project (between 20.45 and 23.25) or to the achievements of the trainers’ in making use of their new skills (between 29.05 and 30.50). Here some insights into these discussions and into the picture that is given.

Trainers’ comments on the Multimedia Training by the LL project

Several trainers had comments on the impact of the Multimedia training. In his general comment Markus Pape pointed to the fact that the training had showed them quite a range of practical possibilities to work with new media. Once they had launched their domain-specific blogs (for the carpenters, bricklayers and roadbuilders) they had also been able to make use of them. All this has been greeted very positively by their apprentices. Kevin Kuck seconded and emphasised that the pioneering work of the carpenters was helpful for the bricklayers and there have been mutual exchanges between the trades, looking at each others’ solutions when making these blogs and using them. And already at the early stage the apprentices have been interested and looking forward to new contents.

In a similar way Lothar Schoka emphasised that also those trainers, who have not had the chance to participate, have been interested and tried to inform themselves of the colleagues’ progress. In this context he had also got some tutoring from the colleagues and made his own web page to upload info sheets. And he also got positive feedback from his apprentices. Thus, they considered that the trainers altogether are getting ready to dedicate some time for using digital media, web tools and mobile technologies to support their training and to enhance the workplace learning of apprentices.

Achievements in putting new skills into practice: the example of “Zimmererblog”

In the final part of the video there is a special section in which Markus demonstrates how he has developed his “Zimmererblog” and what contents there are to be found. We see first the structure – based on projects and project sheets for each year of apprentice training (1-3), the help areas, literature recommendations and the slide shows. Then we see the link to the facebook group of the trade, the designed link to the LTB and the business cards that give the QR codes of the blog and of the facebook group. Then, the video presents the statistics (at that time over 3400 hits from over 20 countries and more detailed accounts on the times and on the target pages). Altogether, we see a pilot site that is emerging into Open Educational Resource with a wider importance.

Concluding remarks

I have been impressed of this video and spent a lot of time listening to it and commenting it. To me it provides evidence that the pilot activities have not only been well received by the colleagues in Bau-ABC but they have in many contexts been integrated into their normal practice. In this respect the colleagues want to make further steps with the Learning Toolbox because it provides a transparent framework for many possibilities. Finally, the achievements with the trainers’ blogs show that the colleagues in Bau-ABC are not only using and co-developing the tools just for their training. They have taken important steps further to promote this know-how wider in the construction sector. I think that this video is a raw diamond that can be worked further to demonstrate this as well. Let us see this happen!

More blogs to come ...

 

Reviewing the video(s) from Bau-ABC – Part 4: Learning Toolbox as support for learning alongside working

September 28th, 2014 by Pekka Kamarainen

With my three previous posts I have started a series of blogs that review the video produced by the Bau-ABC team for the recent consortium meeting of the Learning Layers (LL) project. As I have indicated, the video focused on the usability of the emerging Learning Toolbox (LTB) – a framework for accessing web resources and managing web apps – in the construction sector. In the two previous posts I discussed, how the LTB can be used in the the context of the training activities of the Bau-ABC  and in the companies or construction sites. In this post I will focus on the Bau-ABC trainers’ views, how LTB will support learning alongside working. Here I share the link to the video:

http://youtu.be/Z2JoZSn4PyY

In the latter part of the video (between 18,04 and 29:00) Melanie Campbell has a discussion with four full-time trainers, who have been involved in most of the LL activities and engaged their apprentices as well – Lothar Schoka, Kevin Kuck, Stefan Wiedenstried and Markus Pape. Below I will highlight some points of their discussion and the messages they are passing to us (as their LL partners) and to wider audiences.

 New prospects for using digital media and smartphones alongside working and learning

The LL project has brought into picture new ways of using digital media, web tools and smartphones in the context of work and workplace learning. The trainers themselves have launched their blogs and brought their apprentices to demo sessions on the LTB. The apprentices have greeted this with enthusiasm. They and their companies have now new prospects for using these tools for working and learning – not as distraction and waste of time. From this perspective the trainers are keen to take further steps forward in piloting.

The LTB as support for learning and professional growth

The trainers saw in the LTB a great potential for supporting holistic, action-oriented and self-organised learning (in German with one concept: Handlungsorientiertes Lernen). Whilst they are currently delivering their info-sheets and worksheets each time for the respective project, the LTB provides a realm for information and challenges the apprentices to do their own searches and consolidate their own findings. In the same way, as the documentation of work processes and learning results is currently a routine with paper documents, the LTB opens room for creativity. The apprentices can enrich their documents with photos, videos and multimedia (with annotations, cartoons and other possibilities). In this way they can demonstrate also their learning progress and achievements to their peers and friends but also to their companies and to their supervisors. So far, the feedback from apprentices points to this direction if the apprentices can be wider engaged in the piloting.

Expectations on next 12 months with the LTB

The trainers are eager to see a beta-version of a functioning LTB on smartphone and tablet to be used in real life. On their behalf they are prepared to start the piloting with selected projects. They do not expect a fully completed end product but rather a pilot version that can be further developed on the basis of feedback. And for them it is important that the apprentices are engaged as pilot users who can also contribute to the development. This was the key message.

Reflective commentary

Here I prefer to let the trainers’ message speak for itself. However, it is interesting to see that they have confidence in their apprentices as smart users of smartphones when there is a framework like the LTB to draw their attention to working and learning contexts. Also, they are confident that the apprentices will use the LTB to enhance their learning rather than to minimize their learning effort. And finally, they see their apprentices as valuable stakeholders in giving feedback on the pilot use of LTB and in promoting the tool to their companies as well.

Secondly, it is worthwhile to note that the trainers are not only focusing on the training that is provided on the premises of Bau-ABC under their supervision. Instead, they are looking forward to see the LTB being used in wider contexts support professional growth and to strengthen professional communities. This became very clear when they discussed the impact of the Multimedia training and of sharing the experiences. But this merits a post of its own.

More blogs to come …

Reviewing the video(s) from Bau-ABC – Part 3: The relevance of Learning Toolbox for companies and construction sites

September 27th, 2014 by Pekka Kamarainen

With my two previous posts I started a series of blogs that review the video produced by the Bau-ABC team for the recent consortium meeting of the Learning Layers (LL) project. As I have indicated, the video focused on the usability of the emerging Learning Toolbox (LTB) – a framework for accessing web resources and managing web apps – in the construction sector. In my previous post I discussed, how the LTB can be used in the the context of the training activities of the Bau-ABC. This post shifts the emphasis towards companies and construction sites. Here I share the link to the video:

http://youtu.be/Z2JoZSn4PyY

Example on machine and metal techniques: The store of chains for construction machines

In the first case (placed between 0.25 and 1.42 on the current version) Rainer Schütte tells about the store of chains for construction machines. Each of these chains is a unique example, tagged with a separate chip or embedded chip, and the chains have to be tested regularly. Both for companies as well as for the training centre it would be useful, if the tags could be read by a smartphone or tablet that has the LTB installed. In this way the identification of appropriate equipment (numer of chains, capacity and tolerance) could be concluded with the help of the tool.

Example on construction vehicles: Driving supported by QR tags

In the second case (placed between 1.43 and 2.30) the apprentice Arnold demonstrates how he can manage a massive excavator. Whilst he already manages the routine commands, he feels the need to check the special commands for the forthcoming task. For this purpose he uses the QR-reader of the his smartphone and the QR tag (attached to the machine) that gives him access to the user’s manual of this particular type of excavator.

 Example on building the construction scaffolding in accordance to health and safety regulations

In the third case (placed between 15:34 and 18:35) Markus Pape and his apprentices demonstrate with Melanie Campbell and Kerstin Engraf how the building of scaffolding is carried out in compliance with the health and safety regulations. Markus points to the current tagging of the elements of scaffolding that point to instructions that are available online. The LTB that is equipped with a QR reader can make the instructions and the requirements of special clothing (with safety lines) transparent on site. In the filmed episode the team of apprentices assemble a high scaffolding and Max who is on top wears the required clothing. At the end of the episode Melanie, Markus and Kerstin discuss, how to accommodate this information under the designed tiles of the LTB and how to use existing materials in a compressed form.

Reflective commentary

All these cases were filmed on the premises of Bau-ABC but they did not differ from normal circumstances in construction sites. Selecting the appropriate chains, managing the excavator and assembling the scaffolding are real issues for construction companies. If construction workers are not sure about the right choices, it is very helpful that they have the possibility to double-check from a relevant resource. Here, the use of the LTB is to be seen as assurance and confirmation, not as an excuse for not learning things properly. This kind of issues were taken up in the group discussion of the Bau-ABC trainers that will be covered in the next post.

 More blogs to come …

Reviewing the video(s) from Bau-ABC – Part 2: How can Learning Toolbox be used in the training of Bau-ABC?

September 27th, 2014 by Pekka Kamarainen

In my previous post I started a series of blogs that review the video produced by the Bau-ABC team for the recent consortium meeting of the Learning Layers (LL) project. The video focused on the usability of the emerging Learning Toolbox (LTB) – a framework for accessing web resources and managing web apps – in the construction sector. In this post I will focus on the sections of the video that highlight the use of LTB in the context of apprentice training provided by the Bau-ABC on their premises. Here I share the link to the video:

http://youtu.be/Z2JoZSn4PyY

LTB as support for apprentice’s project

A very lively and comprehensive picture of a typical training project in Bau-ABC is given in the section that presents the apprentice Martin  He is a 2nd year apprentice in machine and metal techniques (and this section is placed between 3.41 and 11.02 in the current version). Firstly Martin gives an overview on the instruction sheets and drawings provided by the White Folder of Bau-ABC and on the planning sheets and inventory sheets that the apprentices have to fill. He then presents the mechanism that was to be constructed, partly from existing pieces, partly from pieces produced on sight. Then he presents the final report that gives an account on the work processes and on the quality criteria that have been met. At the end we see the points given by the trainers in their final assessment.

Secondly, Martin and Melanie Campbell identify several points in which the LTB can support such project – starting from the search for appropriate materials and adequate tools, continuing to storing information on relevant QR tags and to possibilities to repeat search histories. Furthermore, the LTB can store films of the functioning of the mechanism. A specific topic is the easy access to relevant health and safety information. Finally, Martin made a strong point on the usefulness of LTB in the phase when apprentices prepare themselves for their final examinations.

LTB as means to share the ‘Tricks  of the trade’

In next sequences  (from 11.06 to 15.33) we see firstly an episode in which Stefan Wiedenstried instructs firstly an apprentice how to get the slope right when the road is plasters with stone. Then, in the subsequent discussion Stefan and Melanie discuss, how to store such videos on the LTB and what their relevance is in the learning process. Finally, we get a glimpse of an older video that shows the use of a useful conventional tool (Sandhobel) in getting an underground scaffolding right at place (to give free space for pipeline builders).

Reflective commentary

These two cases are clearly from the context of apprentice training within the training centre Bau-ABC and on their premises. The first case demonstrates a typical apprentice’s project assignment and the learners’ tools that the White Folder provides. The solutions that are discussed for introducing the LTB are very similar to the ones that came up in the co-design workshops of the first year (when the digitisation of the White Folder was taken as the starting point for the design theme “Sharing Turbine”). Likewise, the use of the videos was discussed in the first iteration of the Sharing Turbine (when some trades and their projects were selected as pilot areas for “Rapid Turbine”).

However,due to the shift of emphasis to a more flexible design concept “Learning Toolbox” the co-design work  is not limited to the context of the training centre and its project. This will be discussed in the next post.

More blogs to come ...

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