Archive for the ‘learningtechnologies’ Category

What do we learn from debates on VLEs, PLEs and MOOCs for workplace learning?

February 24th, 2015 by Pekka Kamarainen

Currently our EU-funded Learning Layers (LL) project is preparing itself for the Design Conference of the Year 2, which will take place in March in Espoo (next to Helsinki) in Finland. We will be discussing issues of Co-Design, Evaluation and Exploitation. Surely, our work with the Learning Toolbox will be high on the agenda. But, as the name of the event says, we should consider, what is important regarding design, transfer of innovations and scaling up of innovations.

From this perspective I have looked over the fence and explored, what our colleague Graham Attwell has been writing recently on the debates on Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs), Personal Learning Environments (PLEs), and Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs) on his blog Wales-Wide-Web. Of course, his blog articles are available on this same Pontydysgu site. But sometimes it is worthwhile to highlight some points that we may pass too quickly when reading his flow of posts. Here some of the highlights that I have picked as lessons from the debates:

1. Graham’s comment on the optimistic prediction on the impact of mobile technologies on workplace learning (July 6th 2014)

Prediction (formulated by Graham): “the workplace becomes part of the Personal Learning Environment and conversely the PLE becomes part of the work process. At the same time, such an approach can bring together both formal and informal learning.”

Comment (by Graham): “It hasn’t happened yet and it is worth thinking about why. One reason maybe that only recently has seen the spread of sufficiently powerful mobile devices and applications. Another is the suspicion of employers about the uses of such devices in the workplace. Most importantly may be the failure to develop pedagogic approaches for mobile learning.”

2. Graham’s comments on trends and fashions in Educational Technology (June 15th /April 29th 2014)

What is floating, what is sustaining: ” Ideas and trends emerge, peak and die away as attention moves to the latest new thing. At the time of writing MOOCs dominate the discourse. Yet the developments around Personal Learning Environments (PLEs) have not gone away.  It could be argued that the development and adoption of PLEs is not so much driven the educational technology (…) but by the way people (…)  are using technology for learning in their everyday lives.”

Managerism/Consumerism/Prosumerism: “Even when Learning Management Systems were in their prime, there was evidence of serious issues in their use. Teachers tended to use such environments as an extended file storage system; forums and discussion spaces were frequently under populated. In other words such systems were used for managing learning, rather than for learning itself.  Learners expropriated and adapted consumer and productivity applications for their learning.”

Contrast between VLEs/PLEs: “At a development level, there is little point in trying to develop a new PLE to replace the VLE. Instead we need to provide flexible tools which can enhance existing technologies and learning provision, be it formal courses and curricula or informal learning in the workplace or in the community. It can be argued that whilst most educational technology development has focused on supporting learners already engaged in educational programmes and institutions, the major potential of technology and particularly of Personal Learning Environments is for the majority of people not enrolled on formal educational programmes.”

Open learning/Open Educational Resources/ MOOCs: “Such changes are reflected in the growing movement towards open learning, be it in the form of MOOCs or in the increasing availability of Open Educational Resources. The popularity of MOOCs has revealed a vast pent up demand for learning and at least in the form of the c-MOOCs has speeded the adoption of PLEs. MOOCs are in their infancy and we can expect the rapid emergence of other forms of open learning or open education in the next few years.”

MOOCs – only hype?: “MOOCs are now set on the downside of the hype cycle and it is not difficult to find critics – or even those predicting their immanent end. I can’t see much sign of them going away = if anything there seems to be more and more MOOCs appearing – although that may be just a result of better discoverability. However there does seem to be huge variation in design, duration and above all quality although we do not really have any agreed criteria for measuring quality.”

So what: “Despite the issues of design and quality, the sheer numbers of learners signing up for MOOCs deserves some reflection. I interpret it as a vast pent up demand for opportunities for learning. (…) MOOCs have enabled a massive expansion in the scope of subjects on offer as Open Education. So, even though I sympathise with the critics, particularly as to the quality of pedagogy, I think we should see MOOCs in that light. MOOCs are one iteration in the use of technology to greatly expand Open Education and to make that education available to everyone.”

OK, here I have picked some thoughts that Graham has brought forward in the course of debates and as candidates for ‘lessons from the debates’. However, these are still at the level of educational debates. What we in the Learning Layers are looking for, is something to put into practice and something that sustains in the hard test of practice. I think Graham has something more to say in this respect – I will continue my reading.

More blogs to come …

Radio Days continue

February 23rd, 2015 by Graham Attwell

The European funding for the RadioActive project may have ended but the activity continues. Just to remind you – and according tot he blurb – “RadioActive101 is a highly innovative educational intervention that is being implemented across Europe. It uses primarily internet radio and also social media to promote inclusion, informal learning, employability and active citizenship in an original and exciting way!” RadioActive was financed between 2012 and 2104 by the European Commission through the Lifelong Learning Program  The project is led by the University of East London in the UK, with partners from Wales, Germany, Portugal, Malta and Romania.

RadioActive was awarded in Portugal by FCT, the national funding agency for science, technology and innovation. The prize acknowledges the good results of RadioActive and supports the expansion of the project in Portugal during 2015.  In Portugal, the project is implemented by CIMJ – Research Centre for Media and Journalism. The Portuguese team, coordinated by Maria José Brites, is composed by Sílvio Correia Santos, Ana Jorge, Daniel Catalão, Catarina Navio and António Granado. This award will support the expansion of the project in Portugal in cooperation with the governmental program Escolhas during 2015.

And for International Radio Day on 13 February of this year,  the German RadioActive partner, the University of Koblenz, were interviewed by the local newspaper here in their region called Rheinzeitung. The interview took a closer look on the Radioactive-Project and – thats where, says Andreas Auwaerter “I am proud of the Deichstadtradio RadioMakingPeople. We’ve had an 1.5 hour interview with the vice-editorial leading person. This is IMHPO very long and in deph. What I kept in mind from this interview: “I am a bit of jealous, because you had the chance to dig into your topics without all that all day business”. That’s so seldom that we’ve got that opportunity. Based on that business pressure I can understand her. ”

Not to be left behind, the University of East London broadcast a programme on Mental Health and Young People: Experiences and Perspectives. The show explored what different groups of young people in the UK think about mental health, discussing their experiences and giving their perspectives on perceived differences in help and support for mental health issues at school and college.

Inspiring talks on Learning Toolbox and Dual Studies in Ostfalia

February 15th, 2015 by Pekka Kamarainen

Last Thursday Ludger Deitmer and I visited the Ostfalia University of Applied Sciences in the context of the Learning Layers (LL) project. For us this was a follow-up of the talks we had had during the Brunnenbauertage conference last year and a planning meeting for the forthcoming pilot activities. The representatives of Ostfalia had already at that time expressed their interest to learn more of the Learning Toolbox. Now that we had promising progress reports from the Alpüha Beta Camp in Aachen, it was high time to take further steps.

Our host organisation, the Ostfalia University of Applied Sciences is a merged university colleges with four campuses in the Easten part of the federal state Lower Saxony (near the former border of the two German states). Our hosts from the faculty “Bau-Wasser-Boden”, professor Elfriede Ott (Geo-engineering) and Albrecht Meißner  (Informatics, dean of the faculty) are working in the campus of Suderburg, the most rural campus of the four. As we experienced it in our talks, this university college cannot profile itself with the attractions of urban city life – therefore, it has to profile itself with a strong emphasis on practice-based learning, collaboration with enterprises and creative pedagogy.

Our hosts firstly informed us of their study programs for construction engineers with different areas of specialisation (in particular building the grounds, water supply solutions and tunneling). Here, as well as in other areas of specialisation, Ostfalia was actively developing the model of Dual Stdudies (combination of Higher Education degree with apprentice training that delivered initial vocational qualification). And, due to the regulations of the training in construction sector, the workplace training included several presence periods in the intermediate training centre Bau-ABC. As we understood it, the cooperation between Ostfalia and Bau-ABC had already reached a relatively mature phase – they had learned to combine their strengths and developed a culture of mutual exchanges.

Concerning their pedagogic interests, our hosts told us of their experiences with stimulating collaborative group and self-organised learning. In this context they also noted the need to overcome some resistance and anxieties. Moreover, they informed us of their experiments with gamification – facilitating learning in geo-engineering by playing cards that make transparent the basic facts and the necessary measures – essentials on which you need to have an overview. Finally, they informed of their university-wide pedagogic support services and pilots with pedagogic counseling (Lerncoaching).

From the LL perspective the Ostfalia study programs – in particular the dual studies provide an interesting field for piloting with the Learning Toolbox. As we discussed it, the students are challenged to get awareness of the limits of desk engineering and to take into account the practical reality of construction work on the grounds. Our hosts could give us several examples of possible mismatches and how they are detected when the engineering students get insights into the work processes of skilled workers. From this perspective they were interested in becoming involved in the pilot testing of the Learning Toolbox. Furthermore, given the fact that their students gather experiences in multiple learning venues – college, training centre, enterprise – they were interested in getting the students reflect on their learning experiences and making the connections between theory and practice. This issue was also discussed in the context of a separate funding programme “Erfahrbares Lernen” that seeks to bring new innovation-oriented and experiential insights into studies in higher education.

Altogether, we covered a lot of topics and reached an agreement to continue our cooperation in the next phase when the recent results of the developers are prepared for field workshops. We are looking forward to the next steps.

More blogs to come …

 

Alpha Beta Camp and internal dissemination for Learning Layers

February 10th, 2015 by Pekka Kamarainen

In my previous posts I have reported on the Year 2 review of the Learning Layers (LL) project and on the Critical Path Analysis (CPA)  that the project has carried out as a follow-up. This has been an internal exercise to set priorities and to concentrate on key activities. However, this (and the work with related project proposals) has tied us to backstage work. Now we are hoping to take further steps in our fieldwork and in stakeholder engagement. For the moment I can at best pass some short messages on current events.

1. The Alpha Beta Camp in Aachen (9.2. – 11.2.2015)

One of the aims of the project (and also a special recommendation of the reviewers) has been to overcome patchwork-like development of separate tools and apps for different users. Now, after some minor integrative efforts, the LL project is organising an Alpha Beta Camp (ABC) in RWTH Aachen. The time has become ripe for the designers and developers working in different teams to come together to a joint sprint session. For us who have been working with the construction sector – and in particular with the Learning Toolbox (LTB) this is an important milestone. As I see it, the colleagues who are working together in Aachen are trying to geththe LL tools (prototypes) and infrastructures work together at a new level. And as I see it, both pilot sectors – construction and health care – are represented by competent messengers of users. So, we can expect something to build upon in our forthcoming field activities.

2. Internal dissemination for the LL project in ITB

Last week I had a pleasant experience when visiting a meeting of one of the thematic research groups (Forschungsgruppe “Lernen in Arbeit” – FoG LiA). These thematic groups have been launched for sharing knowledge and insights across the departments of our institute. Whilst it is easy to agree that such work is useful, it is often hard to find time for such meetings in the middle of busy times in project work. Now I felt happy to present the Learning Layers to some of my colleagues with whom I had rarely had a chance to have in-depth discussions.

The FoG had developed a set of questions concerning the context of work and research approach of projects to be presented. Instead of responding to these with one ppt-presentation I arranged a guided tour across several earlier presentations:

  •  We looked at the construction sector presentation for Year 2 review to get an overview on the project (and on the work in the construction sector pilot).
  • We looked our presentation for the ECER’14 on accompanying research (Begleitforschung) in this pilot to get a picture of our multiple roles and on the evolution of the participative design process.
  • We looked at our presentations on “Work process knowledge” and “Workplace learning” for the Theory Camp session in Aachen (March 2014) to get an impression how we have brought ITB ideas on vocational education and training (VET) and on social shaping (Gestaltung) into European discussion.
  • Finally, we looked at Werner Müller’s ppt presentation on the Learning Toolbox (for craft trade company and for intermediate training centre) to get an idea, how the LL tools are supposed to support vocational and workplace-based learning.

After this guided tour and with the help of several smart questions, the colleagues wrote ‘answer cards’ responding to ‘question cards’ and assembled on overview on the LL project on pin-board.

To me, it was interesting to notice, how quickly the colleagues got an impression of a complex project, of our ( = the German partners’ roles), on the key ideas we have put forward and on the developmental steps we are taking. For me this was a clear evidence that there is a lot of shared understanding and intellectual commonality in ITB.

So, these were my interim messages. I am looking forward to the reports from Aachen and to next steps.

More blogs to come …

Back at work – facing the challenges of the new year 2015

January 22nd, 2015 by Pekka Kamarainen

So, after a lengthy holiday break I am back at work. As usual, when being one of the last ones to return from the holidays, you get overwhelmed by things that are on the move and you have to jump into running trains. With the EU-funded Learning Layers (LL) project we are doing the homework that we got from the Year 2 review meeting – preparing a Critical path Analysis. Partly within this process and partly alongside it we are finalising our plans for the year 2015.

The Critical Path Analysis was recommended by the reviewers to clarify our priorities (what is taken on board in the critical paths) and to specify our approach to less critical activities (sandboxing them as reserve activities). In many respects this has pointed out to be useful since this is not merely a routine updating of the work plan. Instead, the analysis has pushed us to become more aware of the key activities for the whole project and to find synergies between them. Due to this task we are getting clearer about the synergies at the level of software development, technology packages, linked services and framework tools etc.

While we are working with this task we are preparing proposals for conferences and plans for field activities. Furthermore, it is one of the key features of the LL project that we are looking for opportunities for transfer projects and opportunities to exploit the results alongside the project work. So, this all keeps us busy at the moment.

More blogs to come …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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