Archive for the ‘Innovation’ Category

Learning Layers – Review meeting gave a push to Year 3

December 12th, 2014 by Pekka Kamarainen

This week we had the Year 2 Review Meeting of the Learning Layers (LL) project in Luxembourg. As usual in the European Union FP7 projects, we had our preparation days and then presented our work for the reviewers.

Whilst the Y1 review presented one work package after another, we had this time a more integrative approach. Our presentations had been structured as contributions to three integrative themes:

a) Theoretical integration (or theoretical approaches working together);

b) Integration via sustainability scenarios (covering the pilot sectors Healthcare and Construction and the complementary work with Managed Clusters);

c) Technical integration (which covered integrative work via architectures, tools, services, development processes and the role of Social Semantic Server).

From the ITB perspective we were happy to present a report that drew attention to the empowerment of our application partners via joint development of Learning Toolbox, joint multimedia training and joint outreach activities. We were even more happy to show that our partners in Bau-ABC Rostrup are taking the ideas further with their own initiatives. Concerning the tools, we were happy to see the most recent progress with the Learning Toolbox. Also, we were happy to use the videos from Bau-ABC and to show the trainers blogs that are now accessible via the platform baubildung.net. If we were asked to show that something is moving in our field of application, we could show a lot.

On the whole the reviewers were happy to observe a lot of progress and the project working better together. Also, the questions that they had raised last year had been responded in an appropriate way. Yet, they had some concerns regarding project coherence. Partly this was raised at the level of theories and concepts. Partly this was raised at the level of tools and software solutions. The consortium was challenged to prepare a critical path analysis in order to highlight its core activities. Parallel to this the project was challenged consider, what is the relevance of the activities that are not included into the core activities. In this way the project was got an extra push for the the year 3 activities.

At the moment we are digesting the messages that we delivered and the feedback we got. For me personally this is the end of the working year 2014. I wish all a happy Christmas time and a good slide to the New Year .

More blogs to come in 2015 …

Layers and cluster visitors: What did we learn in Bau-ABC today (Part 2)

December 5th, 2014 by Pekka Kamarainen

In my latest post I firstly told, why the fieldwork of the Learning Layers (LL) project has had less visibility in the recent weeks. Our reporting duties and some backstage work with the tools have filled the agendas. Therefore, a new round of pilot workshops had to postponed to the beginning of next year. In this respect we were happy to make a field visit to Bau-ABC with our visitors from the Norwegian cluster organisation Tretorget. In my first post on our visit I gave a brief report on our cluster talks with the visitors. In this post I will report on our talks with apprentices and trainers in Bau-ABC.

 Talks with apprentices

Since our Norwegian visitors represented a cluster in wood industry, our primary target was the workshop and the training area of carpenters. When approaching the area, I recognised some of the apprentices as ones who had participated in June in the Demo Camp event in Bau-ABC. They also recognised us and greeted us as old acquaintances – and wanted to know, how the project is going on. Therefore, I started talking with apprentice Ahmed (born in Germany but with family roots in Libanon and Syria). In particular I was interested to find out, how he and his fellow apprentices perceived the blog of their trainer Markus Pape, the Zimmererblog. (See also my previous posts on the trainers’ blogs and on the video presenting the blogs.)

Ahmed made the following remarks:

1) The very fact that their trainer has made all instruction materials for apprentices’ projects available via his blog is very much appreciated. The apprentices feel that they get access to relevant contents via their own media (smartphones, tablets or laptops).

2) The way that the blog has structured the materials of different years of training gives a better overview and the apprentices can relate different contents to phases of training.

3) The fact that they have such a learning resource from the training centre makes it easier to tackle with the learning contents provided by the vocational school. (In general apprentices have been less motivated in school-based learning.)

4) The problem with this web-based learning resource is that it can only be used when you have access to Internet. This is already a problem in several training areas of Bau-ABC and even more at the workplaces.

In the light of the above Ahmed and his fellow apprentices were looking forward to further progress with developing web-based learning resources. In particular they are eager to start piloting with the Learning Toolbox in their projects.

 Talks with trainers

During our visit at the carpenters’ workshop our talks with the trainer, Mr Bruns, focused on their domain. In our next station, at the well-builders, we had a quick talk with the trainer Lothar Schoka. He told us of the recent progress with the Facebook group of the well-builders (using photos and short videos). Inspired by the success of this group they are also developing their own blog (which has not yet become public but is in the pipeline).

At the end of the visit I managed to meet trainer Markus Pape and talk with him of the next phase of developing the blogs. We had reached an agreement to migrate the first pilot blogs to the BauBildung.net platform to promote synergy and mutual support. Also, via this move we want to enable feeding metadata from the blogs to Social Semantic Server and back to Learning Toolbox. This perspective is inspiring and we are looking forward to it.

Finally, I need to mention the transition that has taken place in multimedia training. Whilst we have so far been running these events as LL project workshops organised by Pontydysgu and ITB, the Bau-ABC colleagues have now continued this with their own peer tutoring and peer training activities. In this context they are now discussing the use of different web resources, the importance of Creative Commons and of Open Educational Resources. To us, the R&D partners, this is a step from the project activities towards sustaining the learning gains and new practices. And for our cooperation this gives a challenge to proceed further with the piloting and outreach activities.

More blogs to come …

Layers and cluster visitors: What did we learn in Bau-ABC today (Part 1)

December 5th, 2014 by Pekka Kamarainen

During the last few weeks quite a lot of effort in the Learning Layers (LL) project have been put to reporting and drawing conclusions from the Y2 activities. Also, a lot of effort has been put to the technical development of the tools. This might give a false impression that our fieldwork in the construction sector pilots has gone to standstill. We wouldn’t accept this interpretation. Yet, since we have not been able to organise major events, it is difficult to give a picture, what is going on  in the field. (For several practical reasons we had to postpone a new round of field workshops to the beginning of the year 2015.) From this point of view we were happy to receive visitors from the Norwegian Tretorget cluster organisation and to make a joint field visit to Bau-ABC with them. Below, in the first post I presents some observations from the cluster exchange session of our visit.

Layers meets the Norwegian cluster Tretorget

In September some partners of the Learning Layers had participated in the European Clusters’ Matchmaking Conference in Berlin. There they had organised a seminar on the project and participated in bilateral matchmaking talks with interested cluster organisations. The contact with the Norwegian cluster organisation Tretorget was made in this event. Tretorget is a regional cluster in the area of Lillehammer and it promotes innovations in wood industry and in using wood in building and construction work. As a follow-up to the Berlin conference they were making visits to other cluster regions, including the North German pilot region of Learning Layers. The major event during their stay was our working visit to Bau-ABC, during which we had talks with Melanie Campbell and visited some of the training workshops, in particular the carpenters’ workshop and the well-builders training area.

Cluster talks – insights and lessons

Much of our talks was exchange of information on each others’ organisational frameworks, regional environments and of the main activities. Although we had to spend much time to explain our different action contexts (and boundary conditions), we found quite a lot of points for mutual learning. Furthermore, we noticed that this discussion drew both parties’ attention to some issues that we or they had not considered very thoroughly before.

For us – the LL partners – it was helpful to discuss the evolution of the Tretorget cluster organisation as an iterative process with several setbacks and reorientations. Now, we could see that it has reached a stable phase – both as a cluster organisation based on wide membership and as a sustained consultancy service. For us it became clear that there is no ‘one perfect way’ to become a mature cluster or to scale up innovations. Instead, their success was very much dependent on circumstantial factors like timing, setting the right priorities for networking and pursuing the goals despite obstacles. For the visitors it was interesting to see, how consequently Bau-ABC emphasises the training of skilled workers – both in the initial training for labour market and in the continuing training for advanced professional positions. Here, the visitors made the point that their members and clients had mainly focused on higher education and continuing professional development of HE graduates.

We agreed to continue exchanges and look for opportunities to develop cooperation. At the moment it would be premature to anticipate possible next steps. Yet – the talks were inspiring and emphasised the relevance of linking clusters from third regions to exchanges with the LL pilot regions.

More blogs to come …

Summer of Innovation, business models and culture

November 28th, 2014 by Graham Attwell

On Wednesday I attended the JISC Summer of innovation event at Reading University. This was a showcase for projects undertaken in summer 2014. Jisc is running an elevator system, selecting some 20 student projects a year who each get £5000 in funding. The format of the competition, says Jisc, “allows students to get full credit for their ideas, and have an ongoing role into their development. As well as showcasing the results of this work the event was designed to seek partners to work with to develop the ideas further.

Each of the project made a short pitch to those attending. And there was ample time to go around the presentation stands for demos and talks with developers. The projects were on the whole very impressive. It almost seems unfair to pick anyone out, but since I was on the lookout for projects I might want to work with further, then my pick of the bunch has to be evaloop. Evaloop developed by Shanghavi and Thiemo Fetzer, both postgraduates at LSE, have developed a mobile app which provides teachers or trainers with an easy way to collect feedback from students. According to the LSE web site “Amar and Thiemo have ten years of teaching experience between them which helped them to identify the difficulty of getting timely feedback in a cost effective way and to create ‘evaloop’.”

As a whole, the products looked pretty cool and you could see at least some of the picking up traction. Talking to the students, though, I was less convinced about the sustainability and business plans. Most had formed companies and were putting forward subscription models. All assured me that their services scaled technically and they probably do. But when I asked them how their company scaled socially they looked at me blankly. I asked a number whether they expected to be selling the same subscriptions to the same applications in two or three years time. This seemed reasonable since I was talking to a bunch of young, ambitious, clever entrepreneurs – or would be entrepreneurs. They admitted they had not thought about that. And although many were seeking to sell subscription services to universities, they did not really seem to know who might have the power to sign up to such a package.

Only Evaloop seem to have considered the Open Source Model. And I guess that is part of the present culture of software development. Apps are not released as open source, instead the business approach is to provide paid for services or at best a premium model. I think that is a shame, since, working with a wider community, many of these projects could make a real difference and get significant take up. However, I suppose another way to look at it is that if say only two projects go on to develop as viable products or services and sustainable enterprises, that has to be seen as a success, especially given the very limited pump priming funding from Jisc. I’ve signed up with five or six of the projects to get future updates, in addition to planning a trial of evaloop. And I will keep readers here in the loop on any updates. In the meantime check out the projects on the Jisc Summer of Innovation website.

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 …

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 ...

 

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