Archive for the ‘Innovation’ Category

Learning Layers after the Aachen Integration meeting – Part 3: The Aachen Theory Camp (working group)

April 10th, 2014 by Pekka Kamarainen

My previous posts to this series have focused on the the Aachen Integration Meeting of the Learning Layers (LL) project. Part one gave an overview on the results of the Integration Meeting. Part two provided insights into the plenary session of the Aachen Theory Camp (a special event in the meeting). This post gives a report on the results of group work – Working Group 1 on Workplace learning. 

(I am much obliged to Gilbert Peffer who took photos of the flipcharts and Debbie Holley who took minutes on the spot – yet the accents and conclusions are mine.)

I would summarise our work with the following points:

a) The task: We discussed the presentations of the plenary and the way in which the different perspectives (or schools of thought) can be taken into account in the LL project. In this context we acknowledged the diverse positions, frameworks, and theories – some contrasting each other whilst others being complementary to each other. We also noted that some are more underpinned with empirical work whilst others were at higher level of abstraction. From these starting points we worked towards a joint understanding, how to make good use of the different background theories.

b) Approach to theory v.s. theories : We debated the issue ‘unified vs. pluralist view(s)’ as possible way(s) forward. We drew attention to the fact that some of the theories/concepts were not addressing conflicts of interest (or power relations) in working life. As a contrast, others saw them as key issues. Therefore, some theories provide a basis for ‘management tools’ whilst others give insights into conflicts that prevent innovations or lead to unexpected consequences. Taking such tensions into account we pointed to possibilities for drawing together the work from case studies or surveys, from qualitative or quantitative perspectives.

c) Implications for methodology v.s. methodologies: In this context we discussed the parallel use of data from the empirical studies of WP1 and from participative co-design processes and stakeholder talks. We also discussed, in which way the LL project can clarify its commitment or affiliation to ‘action research’ (as indicated in the deliverable of the WP7).  We noted that there are conceptual and epistemological tensions between ‘design research’ and (classical) ‘action research’ that are being debated in the literature. We also noted that there are German conceptualised traditions of ‘accompanying research’ (Begleitforschung) that refer to innovation programmes on Work & Technology or to model/pilot projects in vocational education and training(VET) that are less known elsewhere.

d) The issues of Intervention and Impact: In this context we had a discussion, in what ways the LL project is expected to show impact as Research, Technology & Development (RTD) project. We all agreed that there was a consensus on working with participative design processes and the interventions were essential for the knowledge development approach. However, there were differences between university traditions and/or evaluation procedures, to what extent researches should prioritise impact on theoretical level (academic publishing) or impact on practice (getting evidence on project-generated changes in working life).

e) The issue of desired outcomes in the field: In this context we discussed the prospect of changing attitudes to knowledge sharing. Here the key issues were “tolerance of uncertainty”, “willing to share” and “ability to share knowledge”. The strategies to promote such changes were linked to phrases ‘mindlines not guidelines’ (in the healthcare sector) and to the capability for social shaping of work, technology and environment (Gestaltungsorientierung) in the construction sector. In this way we tried to link the efforts to promote new competences/ capabilities in using Web 2.0 technologies (in the context of work or workplace learning) to the empowerment of users.

f) The conclusion: The group supported the initiative to continue with Theory Camp session(s) in the Bremen consortium meeting. We proposed the following title: “The Impact of the Learning Layers project on Theory and Practice”. We discussed some ideas that can be taken as topics or cross-cutting themes:

  • Connections between learning processes at the level of teams/ groups, organisations, networks, clusters and (‘learning’) regions;
  • Readiness for sharing knowledge; sharing in networks and/or in multiple networks;
  • Promoting new capabilities – the role of networks, organisations, teams and peers;
  • The role of intervention research approaches (action research, accompanying research, design research etc.) in working with and conceptualising such issues.

This is as far as we got in Aachen. The discussion on the follow-up is going on.

More posts to come on the next steps …

Learning Layers after the Aachen Integration meeting – Part 2: The Aachen Theory Camp (plenary)

April 10th, 2014 by Pekka Kamarainen

In my previous post I discussed the achievements of the Aachen Integration Meeting of the Learning Layers (LL) project. Now I shift the emphasis to the Aachen Theory Camp that was organised as a special event within the meeting.

Background of the Theory Camp: The need  to reflect on the theoretical foundations was raised by the reviewers comments in the Y1 review meeting in Barcelona. In particular these comments pointed to the theoretical assumptions regarding the Social Semantic Server. Also, other issues were raised – e.g. the project was asked need to clarify its commitment to ‘action research’. In the next consortium meeting in Innsbruck we started preparing a “theory camp”  workshop for the Aachen meeting. The dedicated workshop in Innsbruck had a more specific look at the SSS but later on further topics were raised for a broader Theory Camp that looks at the project as a whole.

The Theory Camp Plenary: As a result of the preparation phase we had a list of Wiki articles (see the  embedded links below) and corresponding ppts in Google Drive folder (see the link at the end of the list). For the plenary session these were grouped into following sets of contributions:

Learning and Practice

Collective & Networked Learning Theories

Organisational Learning

Generation of Meaning

Knowledge Representation

(See the presentations in

Reflective commentary: As the list above shows, we had quite a number of short presentations with few quick questions. Most of the discussions took place in the parallel working groups afterwards. In the plenary session the ITB team was responsible for the themes “Workplace learning” and “Work process knowledge”. Both presentations attracted attention and gave rise to further questions regarding the status of these concepts and of the practical implications.  I will get back to these issues in my report on the working group in which I participated.

More posts to come …

LL Theory Camp preparation takes off – Part Four: Providing theoretical insights into workplace learning

March 23rd, 2014 by Pekka Kamarainen

In my previous posts to this series  I have informed how that preparations of the Learning Layers (LL)  Theory Camp started (Part One, Part Two) and on our  reviewing of the heritage of the Work Process Knowledge network (Part Three). In this post I will focus on our efforts to give theoretical insights into Workplace Learning: Contexts, Processes and Outcomes. For this purpose we have created the following gDrive folder:

Starting point

We found it important to prepare the theme ‘workplace learning’ for the theory camp although we did not have a single source but instead a wide range of theories and concepts to bring together. As already expressed by the Work Process Knowledge network (see my previous post), many research approaches tend to overemphasise the role of ‘informal learning’ and to belittle the potential of organised vocational education and training (VET). Also, we were concerned that much of the conceptual work on workplace learning in the context of VET provisions (in particular in the German dual system) is only available in German (or in very few translations in VET-specific antologies).

Interim products

In our sub-folder for Working Documents (see we have produced the following overviews, input papers and synthesis articles (which all have the status of first drafts):

1) The overview Conceptualising Work Experience, Vocational professionalism and Workplace Learning – Overview on selected European research approachespresents a picture of European approaches that put into discussion work experience, comprehensiveness and connectivity in workplace learning. A set of selected articles outlines different positions at conceptual level – based on ‘connectivity’ and/or ‘Berufliuchkeit’ – and their implications to analysis of work process and curriculum development. (This overview refers to research dialogue between the Work Process Knowledge network and parallel research approaches.)

2) The input paper Learning in the work process – From Work psychology to Kompetenzwerkstatt  takes a closer look at the discussion on regulation on holistic actions and working tasks  from the perspective of work psychology and links this to the VET-specific approaches to shape holistic working and learning tasks (with reference to the ongoing project “Kompetenzwerkst@tt”.

 3) The input paper “Cooperation between Leaning Venues: Structure and impacttakes up several conceptual issues that arise from the institutional duality (or plurality) of learning venues in the German vocational education and training (VET). For the LL these are of particular importance since the gaps in cooperation and knowledge sharing are a particular stimulus for the co-design work under the agenda of Sharing Turbine.

4) The synthesis article: ” Workplace learning – Vocational knowledge – Working & Learning tasks covers most of themes mentioned above and puts them into a conceptual framework of VET research. It provides into the overarching concepts (‘workplace learning’ and ‘VET’) and into the pedagogic concepts ‘comprehensive action contexts’ and ‘holistic working tasks’. It continues with the themes ‘professional development’ and ‘social shaping’ (of work & technology) in the context of VET. Then, it draws consequences for the development of working & learning tasks and discusses the role of vocational knowledge processes. The article is concluded by a  reflection on the value of the culture of apprenticeship.

Working issues

As I have mentioned earlier, we have brought together contents from different sources as ingredients for a debate. The importance of these inputs for the LL project  lie in the fact that t we do not look merely at a simple, solitary process of  knowledge accumulation (as ‘banking’ ). Instead, the role of ‘work process knowledge’, contextual adjustment and ‘social shaping’ comes up all the time.
The LL project consortium has to perceive its developmental contribution in terms of research and development dialogue – instead of simple ‘technology push’. Thus, the usefulness of the apps and the SSS have to be discussed in the light of their contribution to vocational learning. The central questions are:

  • What aspects of work based learning and work process knowledge do the given apps and the social semantic server support and sustain?
  • Where are the restrictions, barriers and obstacles and how can we overcome them?

I think this is enough on this theme. We will keep working on them.

More posts to come …

LL Theory Camp preparation takes off – Part Three: Reviewing the heritage of Work Process Knowledge network

March 23rd, 2014 by Pekka Kamarainen

In my previous posts I have informed how that preparations of the Learning Layers (LL)  Theory Camp started as a Central Initiative (Part One) and as our local measures (Part Two). In this post I will have a closer look at one of the themes we have been working with – reviewing the heritage of the Work Process Knowledge network. As our gDrive folder (see contains a lot of documents I will make only some introductory remarks to the theme and to the different working documents. At the end I will summarise some conclusions for the LL  project.

 1. Starting point

The more recent theories and conceptual constructs indicated in the LL deliverables  refer to certain aspects of learning or knowledge processes. However, there is also a need to review more comprehensive approaches to learning in workplace contexts that date back to earlier years. In this respect the ITB team in the LL project has taken the task to review the interdisciplinary research on Work Process Knowledge (WPK) and Organisational Learning. In this way the ITB team seeks to build a link to European research that was funded under the FP4 (Targeted Socio- Economic Research) and FP5 (Improving Human Potential).

The WPK network represented a Europe-wide effort to develop a comprehensive and interdisciplinary research agenda. In this context particular disciplines and national research traditions were contributing to shared knowledge development on work processes. The WPK network and the follow-up project analysed the introduction of  ICT at an early stage of innovations. At that time the solutions to be developed and studied were mainly domain-specific and organisational innovations. Also, at that time the possibilities for user-involvement and participative design processes were seen in narrower contexts.

2. Interim products

So far we have produced the following commentaries  or overviews  on the approach and the work of the WPK network (see the sub-folder for Working Documents

a) Commentary I on theoretical foundations of Work Process Knowledge – interim synthesis MF-NB: This document gives a picture on the emergence of the concept ‘work process knowledge’ in different studies, on changes in working life. It also makes transparent the critique that the network presented on allegedly one-sided approaches to socio-technical innovations. Finally it gives a picture on the positioning of the network regarding the role of vocational education and training (VET) as contributor to innovations in working life. (The reference text of this document is the synthesis article of M. Fischer and N. Boreham, 2004.)

 b) Commentary II on empirical studies of Work Process Knowledge – interim synthesis MF-NB: This document gives a picture on empirical and co-shaping studies carried out by the network. The range of studies is from ‘basic research’ on informal learning and learning potentials on workplace to programmatic and development-oriented studies based on the concept ‘vocational professionalism’ (Beruflichkeit). (The reference text of this document is the synthesis article of M. Fischer and N. Boreham, 2004.)

c) Overview: Conceptualising Work Process Knowledge – Implications for VET: This document draws upon the two above mentioned commentaries. It brings into conclusion different threads that were followed in the two commentaries and makes more explicit the conclusions for the LL project.

3. Lessons learned

The importance of the contribution of the Work Process Knowledge Network for the LL project: can be characterised as follows

a) Specifying the relations between informal learning and formal education/training

A key feature in the critique of the Work Process Knowledge network vis-à-vis the alternative positions was that the latter ones either

a) reduced vocational and work-related learning into proceduralised and popularised version of codified expert knowledge or

b) overemphasised the situated and intra-organisational character of such knowledge and learning (without taking into account ‘external’ and long-term influences).

b) Linking the role of ‘social’ and ‘technical’ in socio-technical innovations

Another key feature in the critique of the Work Process Knowledge was that the alternative positions either

a) reduced technical innovations in working life into mere implementation (technology-push) of the allegedly innovative technologies or

b) narrowed down the role participative co-shaping (by skilled workers) as activities of the (immediate) communities of practice in intra-organisational contexts.

c) Specifying the role of research in participative design & implementation processes

The theoretical and methodological discussions in the Work Process Knowledge network paved the way for research designs and modes of conceptualisation that both

a) required co-participative and co-shaping involvement of researchers in processes that promoted technical and/or organisational changes (with the support of skilled workers) and

b) enabled the documentation and conceptualisation of critical incidents, eventual tensions, turning points and eventual reorientations without losing the overview on the process.

d) Making use of a holistic view on work process knowledge and workplace learning

The critique of the Work Process Knowledge network vis-à-vis the alternative approaches has not been merely a matter of academic perfectionism but a challenge to get a holistic view that

a) gives an adequate interpretation of the acquisition of work process knowledge (and of the role of workplace learning as integral part of sustainable innovations in working life;

b) gives guidance for promoting organisational learning with relevant tools, arrangements and facilitation that make it possible to transfer and scale up the innovations.

 I guess this is enough of this theme for the moment. There are still some contributions on the pipeline.

More posts to come …

LL Theory Camp preparation takes off – Part Two: The Bremen approach to Theory Camps

March 23rd, 2014 by Pekka Kamarainen

In my previous post I informed of the initiative to work with an LL Theory Camp in the forthcoming Aachen Integration Meeting. I also informed of the start of the local follow-up in Bremen. With this post I inform of the further discussion in ITB team to the work with a wider set of themes and to continue with Theory Camps after Aachen.

Theory Camp(s) in LL project: What needs – What issues?

In the follow-up discussions of the LL teams of ITB and Pont  we welcomed the approach to work with ‘theory camp’ but we had several questions, how this could best be done:

a) Is the general level of discussing ‘learning theories’ enough or should we have a more differentiated look at the theoretical foundations of of our project activities?

b) Is it enough to have one joint ‘theory camp’ in the meeting in Aachen or should we have a set of ‘theory camp’ activities that can nurture each other?

c) How do we deal with the issue ‘integration’ in the theory camp activities – are we assuming that inventarisation of some ‘theories’ would give us an integrated body or do we need more work to examine the interrelations between theories, tool development and cooperation with users in the two sectors?

Contributing to the Integrative Theoretical Discussion

In the light of these discussions we started to work with the  theme “Theory camp preparation” to support the forthcoming activities. We acknowledge the central role of the Aachen event we consider it appropriate to have similar (local) events before and after Aachen. From this perspective we created the above folder “Theory Camp preparation” to provide a wider forum for the preparation(see In this sense we have accommodated the Innsbruck documents and direct follow-up contributions under the sub-folder “Contributions to theoretical integration debate” (see

Reviewing the heritage of “Work Process Knowledge network”

Concerning the scope of theories, concepts and methodologies, we concluded that the work in the Innsbruck group and in the follow-up was somewhat disconnected from the fieldwork and form the co-design processes. Our point was that the the LL project needs to inform itself of the work of “Work process Knowledge network” (FP4, TSER) and the follow-up project “Organisational Learning” (FP5, Improving Human Potential). This, to us was not only a matter of academic perfection but a matter of learning from their fieldwork and on their interaction with stakeholders. From this perspective we have created the sub-folder “Reviewing Work Process Knowledge & Organisational Learning” (see

Providing theoretical insights into Workplace Learning

Concerning the theme ‘Workplace learning’ we have been concerned that it has so far had a somewhat marginal role vis-à-vis themes like ‘informal learning’, ‘scaffolding’ etc. For the ITB team it has been important to bring into picture several aspects of workplace learning in the context of the German vocational education and training (VET) culture – including the integrative concept ‘Beruf’, cooperation between learning venues and the role of working and learning tasks.  For these themes we created the gDrive folder “Workplace Learning: Contexts, Processes, Tasks, Outcomes” ( ).

Reviewing different approaches to ‘action research’, ‘accompanying research’ and ‘interactive research’

Another major need for similar work was to clarify our concept of participative design processes, e.g. by reflecting different positions in the field of participative research. In ITB and in the VETNET network of EERA-ECER there is a longer tradition of discussing the relations between the general genre of ‘action research’ and the more specific forms as ‘accompanying research’ or ‘interactive research’ that support innovation programmes in education/training and working life and/or specific pilot projects. The reviewers’ recommendation to widen the scope was taken into account and the thread ‘transdisciplinary action research was spotted. For this work we created the gDrive folder “Reviewing Action research – Accompanying research – Interactive research” (see ).

In the following posts I will give insights into the two themes that we have prepared for Aachen – Work Process Knowledge, Workplace Learning. Then, I will add some remarks, how we can bring these themes into common discussion in Aachen.

More posts to come …


LL Theory Camp preparation takes off – Part One: The Central initiative

March 23rd, 2014 by Pekka Kamarainen

Theory Camp(s) in the LL project – What for?

The need for specific measures to reflect on the theoretical foundations was raised by the reviewers comments in the Y1 review meeting in Barcelona. In particular these comments pointed to the theoretical assumptions regarding the Social Semantic Server and its use in the project. In general, the project was challenged to specify its own position vis-à-vis different (and sometimes contradictory) references that have been quoted. Also, other issues were raised – e.g. the project was asked need to clarify its commitment to ‘action research’ and to specify its position vis-à-vis newer developments in that field – notably the emergence of ‘transdisciplinary action research’ in cross-over areas between community psychology and landscape architecture (with an emphasis on societal dialogue and validation between planning and community participation).

One idea of the LL consortium was to respond to this critique with so called theory camp activities. At first this idea was discussed in one of the workshops of the consortium meeting in Innsbruck that started preparing a “theory camp” type of workshop for the Aachen meeting. After the Innsbruck meeting this idea has triggered further (complementary) initiatives that suggest a wider use of ‘theory camps’ with different accents, partly contributing to the Aachen meeting and partly continuing after it. This document tries to clarify, how these initiatives can complement each other and how we all can benefit of both.

The central initiative of the Innsbruck meeting: A Wiki for Theory camp in Aachen

The working group in the Innsbruck started to map different contemporary theories (or theoretical concepts) on learning – mainly with focus on generic theories and with an interest to map the theoretical landscape. One focus of this effort was to make transparent which theoretical assumptions are represented in the consortium and especially to clarify theoretical assumptions of the Social Semantic Server and their compatibility with the conceptual foundations of other project activities. This has been followed up mainly in the preparation of the Aachen agenda with a specific Wiki page that outlines issues and a procedure. (See the Wiki .)

The local initiative of the ITB team: A gDrive folder for a wider range of themes

A second focus (already in Innsbruck) was the need to discuss a broader pedagogical concepts and common research approaches to the project. As first follow-up measure to this, Joanna Burchert wrote a short input paper. It aimed to point out basic assumptions on learning (basic for the theories collected and discussed in Innsbruck by the LL consortium) and to show up their consequences for evaluation, cooperation and tool development. Further texts with pedagogical focus, e.g. exploring the terms formal and informal learning, followed. They are integrated in the gDrive “Theory Camp preparation” folder

In the forthcoming posts I will give some insights into themes prepared by the ITB team and discuss, how we can bring these into discussion in Aachen.

More posts to come …

Learning Layers’ Innsbruck Consortium meeting (9.-12.2.2014) was a step forward

March 22nd, 2014 by Pekka Kamarainen

Below I will post a shortened version of the report on the LL Consortium meeting in Innsbruck that I wrote immediately after the meeting.

This meeting was planned as a preparatory event that prepares the grounds for the Integration Meeting in Aachen (March 2014). The assumption of the coordinator was that the main activities in the two sectors will take shape as Development Projects – including some overarching or overlapping Integration Measures or Co-design and Evaluation measures. Thus, the role of technical work packages could be discussed as support to be offered for these activities.

1. Work with the sustainability scenarios & responding to the reviewers’ concerns

The sessions were opened with the overview presentation of Tobias Ley that emphasised the work with sustainability sessions and taking on board the remarks on the reviewers:

The general idea of working with the sustainability scenarios was made transparent by the presentation of Gilbert Peffer and Tor-Arne Bellika, exemplified with the forthcoming cooperation with Norwegian and Estonian managed clusters (see the case ppt and the Wrap-up ppt in the folder). Tamsin Treasure-Jones and John Bibby presented a further developed version of the sustainability scenario in the healthcare sector:

Ludger Deitmer and Pekka Kämäräinen based their presentation on the draft scenario outlined in the Barcelona review meeting and updated the picture with an insight into the key activities (Piloting, Multimedia training, Platform development) and how they are being scaled up with the support of spin-out projects. In our presentation we drew attention to the urgent uncertainty factors that need to be resolved.

2. Work in sectoral groups with focus on their Development Projects (DPs)

After these inputs there was a quick overview on the Development Projects.  Before the Innsbruck meeting the partners in the Captus team had provided a timeline for mapping the schedules of different DPs and support activities that contribute to the work under the joint agenda. This was used as a basis for the whole discussion in the construction sector group.

We outlined the uncertainties in working further with the Sharing Turbine agenda (in particular the lack of continuing technical support for programming). Since the piloting with Learning Toolbox is linked to the supporting multimedia training and to the development of platform for learning and knowledge we found it difficult to draw a timeline before having the question of support solved. Taken the above mentioned uncertainty into account we came up with a tentative timeline.

3. Work in mixed groups with focus on (technical) supporting activities

The other group work sessions were paved py shorter and longer presentations on the following topics:

a) Common data modelling of Design themes/Development projects by using Conceptual maps (Cmap)

presented by Vladimir Tomberg, see

b) The offerings of WP6 to support Design teams/ Development projects with infrastructure and tools presented by Ralf Klamma; see and

c) Revisiting the earlier presentations on the Social semantic server with additional flavour from Owen Gray’s document “Social Semantic Server for Dummies”, see

4. The initiative to work with an LL Theory Camp starts to take shape

Whilst many of these sessions were used for internal knowledge sharing between partners who had not been strongly involved in each others’ work packages, one of the working groups took step forward in preparing the grounds for a common “theory camp” activity. This was triggered by the critical remarks of some of the reviewers (in Barcelona review meeting) with recommendation to review the theoretical assumptions underpinning certain work packages and to clarify the position of the LL project vis-à-vis the theories and conceptions that are used. The said working group started to develop posters to group theories and concepts for such examination, see

5. Issues arising from further group work sessions

Without going into detailed reporting on further sessions it is possible to summarise their importance for the work of ITB and Pont teams with the following checklist that was taken up in the follow-up meeting on 13.2.:

- Further development of sustainability scenarios in the construction sector;

- Immediate measures to ensure technical support for SharingTurbine and Learning Toolbox;

- Synchronisation of the empirical studies for WP1 (key actor interviews) with other ongoing activities;

- Launching the ITB-Pont preparatory measures for the above mentioned“theory camp” and related work with conceptual maps;

- “Technical camp” for developers that are interested in enhancing the use of  WordPress and to develop plugins that integrate WP to SSS.

- Joining the initiative group on Augmented Reality in the construction work that had a kickstart in one of the working groups and started a vivid e-mail discussion.

- Updating the Open Design Library with presentations of construction sector DPs and updating the respective LL Wiki pages.

Altogether, we took a lot of homework from the Innsbruck meeting.

More posts to come …

Learning Layers has given new emphasis on Development Projects

March 22nd, 2014 by Pekka Kamarainen

The last event of the Learning Layers (LL) project  in the year 2013 of which I blogged was the Y1 Review meeting in Barcelona. One of the measures with which we have responded to the feedback of reviewers has been the shift of emphasis from overarching Design Ideas to more specific Development Projects. This shift of emphasis was already discussed during the Y1 Review meeting, but it really took off during the preparation of the LL consortium meeting in Innsbruck (that took place in February).

What has this shift of emphasis meant to us:

Firstly, it has provided us an opportunity consider, to what extent the co-design processes are going on with an overarching agenda (of the original Design Teams set up in March 2013) or whether they have moved to more differentiated processes.

Secondly, it has provided us an opportunity to give shape for sub-initiatives or complementary initiatives that may play a role in different contexts.

Thirdly, it has provided us an opportunity to reconsider, in what ways we share experiences and knowledge on co-design activities.

Here it is not necessary to give a comprehensive account on call changes or to go into very specific details. Yet, I can give some examples of the changes that have occurred with reference to the above mentioned reorientations:

1) In the Design Team “Sharing Turbine” the original idea was the digitisation of the White Folder (learning and working resource of the apprentices in Bau ABC). In the current phase the work has differentiated to several parallel Development Project:

1a) The Development Project “Learning Toolbox” is developing a toolbox of mobile apps and resources that supports the work with the White Folder (and paves the way for digitisation of documents and reports).

1b) The Development Project “Multimedia/ Web 2.0  Training “ is giving shape for the training activities that have been piloted with the staff of Bau ABC (and are to be supported by online learning).

1c) The Development Project “” is developing a platform for professional networking platform for construction sector. This platform will also provide the basis for online learning in the context of the above mentioned training activities.

2) The Development Project “Reflect app” (that was initially developed with support of an affiliated students’ project) is being developed further by the LL project. The audio-based app that helps the users to record their learning experiences and learning gains (and convert them into documents) will be piloted both in healthcare and in construction sector.

3) The flashmeetings of Design Teams have to some extent given way for more comprehensive design forums of the two sectors healthcare and construction sector.

As we are talking of recent changes in dynamic processes, it is not yet the time to conclude, to what extent the Development Projects have shaped the daily work of the LL project. Yet, we can already see that the picture of the LL project is getting more networked and more colourful.

More posts to come …





Breaking the silence – catching up with the Year 2 activities in Learning Layers

March 22nd, 2014 by Pekka Kamarainen

Last year I managed to blog almost regularly on our progress with the Learning Layers (LL) project. To my own disappointment I have to admit that I have not been able to continue that tradition this year. Now – before the end of March – it is high time to break the silence and to catch up with the activities of the LL project.

Before I go to the ongoing activities (in my next blog posts) I need to make some explanatory remarks.

Firstly, this has not been a quiet period in the LL project. On the contrary, we have had a lot of activities. Even more, we have had to struggle with deadlines to be met with different kinds of contributions. That has pushed the good habit of blogging out of the way.

Secondly, we have done quite a lot of internal development work inside the project. For that we have also needed internal discussions to reach common conclusions. That has also delayed blogging of the results.

Thirdly, we are reaching an integrative phase in which we need to get several initiatives and prototypes linked to each other. This also requires its own time and privacy. Therefore, there has been no case to rush to blogging.

Fourthly, we are entering also a phase that is characterised by joint self-reflection regarding our theoretical foundations, methodological commitments and on their implications for our fieldwork. Here, we also need space and time for mutual adjustment. This has also delayed blogging (although blogs can facilitate dialogue and mutual awareness).

In addition to the points above there have been practical issues that need not be discussed here in detail. After having said all this, I have come to the conclusion that I should not give up the good habit of blogging on our progress. So, in the coming posts I will try to catch up and pave the way for ongoing reporting.

More posts to come …

The Erasmus Plus programme, innovation and policy in Europe

December 19th, 2013 by Graham Attwell

We sometimes forget the role of politicians and policy makers as major stakeholders in education and training. Yet decisions, particularly at the level of structures, qualifications and funding have a major say in how education and training is provided in different regions and countries.

Despite the limitations on their power in the filed of education and training, in the last two decades the European Commission has come to play a major role through their sponsorship of various funding programmes. Probably the most important has been the Lifelong Learning Programme (LLP), sponsored by the DG Education and Culture. The LLP, which ended earlier this year has funded a series of sub programmes for projects and exchanges for higher education, vocational education and training , schools and adult education, with a transversal programme around policy, language learning and the use of technology for learning. And although sometimes seemingly over bureaucratic, in general the programme has worked well.

The major thrust of the LLP, as the name suggests, has been to promote innovation and social inclusion for lifelong learning. At the same time exchange programmes like Erasmus and language projects and the development of a European educational credit programme have promoted mobility and discourse between institutions, teachers and learners.

Now the EU has adopted a new programme, called Erasmus Plus. Although claiming to be a continuation and further development to the previous programmes, Erasmus Plus is very different. Apart from lip service, at first glance (of the over 200 page guidelines) there appears little focus on lifelong learning. With limited exceptions, innovation and the exchange of best practice also no longer appear to be a priority for Europe. Instead the major focus is on individual exchanges visits between institutions and institutions and companies. It is not difficult to guess why. The European Union is panicking at the level of youth unemployment and the potential instability this may cause. And to ameliorate the impact of youth unemployment they are diverting resources into producing temporary education and training opportunities. Spending on education and training is not a bad answer to the economic crisis. Indeed it is noticeable that whilst the UK and many other European countries have been cutting back on education spending and provision, Germany has been increasing the number of university places as a reaction to the crisis. However I cannot help thinking that the new Erasmus Plus programme is a short term answer and that moving away from proper funding of innovation and the development of new practices and pedagogies of teaching and learning represents a retrograde move. Of course, the LLP and successor programmes were only ever supposed to be additional and transnational programmes, on top of national and regional initiatives and funding. But the reality has been that in the face to such severe cutbacks in expenditure of educational research and development they have become an important source of funding for educational innovation in many European States.

It is possible that I am not properly understanding the new programme. I hope so. But at least on first reading, it seems to be a reaction to many different and countering lobby groups, with concessions made to the strongest of the lobbies. The only hope is that as it is put into action, some coherence and sense may emerge.


  • Search

    Sounds of the Bazaar LIVE from the Online EDUCA Berlin 2013

    We will broadcast from Berlin on the 5th and the 6th of December. Both times it will start at 11.00 CET and will go on for about 40 minutes.

    Go here to listen to the radio stream: SoB Online EDUCA 2013 LIVE Radio.

    The podcast of the first show on the 5th is here: SoB Online EDUCA 2013 Podcast 5th Dec.

    Here is the second show as a podcast: SoB Online EDUCA 2013 Podcast 6th Dec.

    News Bites

    Open online STEM conference

    The Global 2013 STEMx Education Conference claims to be the world’s first massively open online conference for educators focusing on Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, and more. The conference is being held over the course of three days, September 19-21, 2013, and is free to attend!
    STEMxCon is a highly inclusive event designed to engage students and educators around the globe and we encourage primary, secondary, and tertiary (K-16) educators around the world to share and learn about innovative approaches to STEMx learning and teaching.

    To find out about different sessions and to login to events go to

    Open Badges

    A new nationwide Open Badges initiative has been launched by DigitalMe in the UK. Badge the UK has been developed to help organisations and businesses recognise young people’s skills and achievements online.

    Supported by the Nominet Trust, the Badge the UK initiative is designed to support young people in successfully making the transition between schools and employment using Mozilla Open Badges as a new way to capture and share skills across the web.

    At the recent launch event at Mozilla’s London HQ Lord Knight emphasised the “disruptive potential” of Open Badges within the current Education system. At a time of record levels of skills shortages and unemployment amongst young people all speakers stressed need for a new way to encourage and recognise learning which lead to further training and ultimately employment opportunities. Badge the UK is designed to help organisations and businesses see the value in using Mozilla Open Badges as a new way to recognise skills and achievement and and connect them to real world training and employment opportunities.

    You can find more information on the DigitalMe web site.

    Twitter feed

    Apologies for the broken Twitter feeds on this page. It seems Twitter have once more changed their APi, breaking our WordPress plug-in. It isn’t the first time and we will have to find another work around. Super tech, Dirk is on the case and we hope normal service will be resumed soon.

    MOOCs and beyond

    A special issue of the online journal eLearning Papers has been released entitled MOOCs and beyond. Editors Yishay Mor and Tapio Koshkinen say the issue brings together in-depth research and examples from the field to generate debate within this emerging research area.

    They continue: “Many of us seem to believe that MOOCs are finally delivering some of the technology-enabled change in education that we have been waiting nearly two decades for.

    This issue aims to shed light on the way MOOCs affect education institutions and learners. Which teaching and learning strategies can be used to improve the MOOC learning experience? How do MOOCs fit into today’s pedagogical landscape; and could they provide a viable model for developing countries?

    We must also look closely at their potential impact on education structures. With the expansion of xMOOC platforms connected to different university networks—like Coursera, Udacity, edX, or the newly launched European Futurelearn—a central question is: what is their role in the education system and especially in higher education?”

    Other Pontydysgu Spaces

  • Twitter

  • Sounds of the Bazaar AudioBoo

  • Recent Posts

  • Archives

  • Meta

  • Upcoming Events

      There are no events.
  • Categories