Archive for the ‘trainers’ Category

Returning from Learning Layers Bristol meeting – Taking homework back to Bremen

June 23rd, 2016 by Pekka Kamarainen

In my previous blogs I reported on the preparations for the consortium meeting of  our EU-funded Learning Layers (LL) project that took place in Bristol during the last few days. Now I am on my way back and have some spare minutes to reflect on the baggage of homework that I am taking from the meeting back to office. In general we had a very productive meeting – so many ideas sparking up that it was good to have colleagues taking notes (on the spot and at the other end of online connection). Therefore I just make some short remarks, how our talks helped us to bring our work further: In particular I was happy to see that we are finding a way to present our results as a part of a common group picture – rather than as stand-alone results of different partners or work packages teams working on their own. Below some main points on this:

  1. Evaluation and documenting the impact: So far more attention has been given on the use of specific evaluation instruments (focus groups, complementary interviews, impact score cards, logdata on use of LL tools) and analysing data gathered with these instruments. Now we opened up this discussion to consider, how to use complementary evidence that is being gathered alongside the fieldwork in the sectoral pilots and in the co-design work. Here we worked with a set of transversal themes (such as digital transformation, adoption of innovation and changes in (informal) learning practices).  This has implications for the work of narrower ‘evaluation data’, complementary data and the impact scorecards.
  2. Presenting our R&D methodologies: We have already earlier agreed to report our results with a single deliverable – a website – and that one section should be dedicated to R&D methodologies. For this section some partners had prepared draft documents that shed light on different ‘local’, sectoral or technical aspects of our R&D work. In the light of these drafts we made clear progress in trying to open up certain contributions (such as co-design work) to be presented from the perspective of both pilot sectors – construction and healthcare. And we developed a better understanding how different activities carried out in the project can be presented as part of a coherent whole.
  3. Outlining ‘learning scenarios’: At different points of time our project had been working with different sets of ‘use cases’, ‘user stories’, ‘learning scenarios’ or ‘learning stories’. All these had been characterised by a preparatory and explorative phase of the project – presenting possibilities to work with the tools and learning arrangements that we were developing. Now it appeared that we are building learning scenarios that rely on ‘lead theories’ and on the way way have built upon them when developing tools and learning arrangements. Here we are drawing upon the transversal themes (mentioned in point 1. and on the more specific impact cards). This was reflected in a very specific set of ‘learning scenarios’ and tasks to draft them.
  4. Working further with the exploitation agendas: Here our colleagues Gilbert Peffer and Raymond Elferink presented a ‘generalised’ and at the same time well grounded model, how to adjust the prior partnership relations to new and renewed ones (with an exemplary start-up company for services in the centre). Alongside this example we also revisited the conclusions of the Aachen Integration Meeting on the co-management of the Open Source Software that has been developed in the context of the project. The most important point was that we found both models fully compatible with each other.

I guess this is enough for these spare minutes that I have had today. I am continuing my journey to Bremen (where I still have some meetings before I start my summer break).

More blogs to come …

Preparing for Learning Layers Bristol meeting – Part One: What are we achieving with our fieldwork?

June 17th, 2016 by Pekka Kamarainen

Next week our EU-funded Learning Layers (LL) project will have its consortium meeting in Bristol. In my recent blogs I have reported of several activities that have taken place in the Construction pilot of the LL project – in particular with the deployment of the Learning Toolbox (LTB). Parallel to this I have edited a series of articles (based on the blogs) for the Construction section of the LL website. And finally, I have looked back at the LL consortium meeting in Tallin (June 2015) and summarised the progress we have made in the LL Construction pilot in one year. In this blog I want to change the perspective with the question: “What are we achieving with our fieldwork?”

This question implies that we are still in the middle of an ongoing process – making progress but becoming aware of issues yet to be solved before the project comes to an end. Here I would like to draw attention to the following points:

  1. Learning Toolbox (LTB) is being used in the field: The kick-off event in March and the later working visits have paved the way for actual use of LTB in the training projects of pioneering Bau-ABC trainers. The apprentices and other trainers have given positive feedback on the usability of the tool. Yet, there are infrastructural problems that reduce the use of LTB on a wider basis. We have to work with our local colleagues to overcome such hurdles.
  2. Capability of using LTB is spreading via peer tutoring: New users are joining in the piloting having had short peer tutoring sessions with their fellow colleagues or with LL R&D partners.  The main thing is that the new users are creating their own stacks (adapted to the projects they are managing) and finding their own ways to involve apprentices as users. (This is happening both in Bau-ABC and in the Netzwerk Nachhaltiges Bauen (NNB), where the colleagues from Agentur are developing prototype stacks for their users.  Parallel to this they are developing specific stacks for the permanent exhibition ‘nachhaltig. bauen. erleben’.)
  3. Apprentices are coming into picture as LTB-users and co-designers: Bau-ABC trainers have always emphasised the need to engage apprentices as users and as co-designers (giving feedback and proposing new ideas). The latter aspect came most prominently into picture in the workshop with Spanish apprentices of the mobility scheme Mobipro-EU. It became clear that the LTB has a great potential in supporting apprentices that are having their apprentice training in a foreign country – struggling with language, learning, working and with their new local environment.
  4. Complementary tools have been brought into picture: The field visits for introducing AchSo and SoAR were succesful and the tools were well received. Yet, there are some technical issues about getting these tools smoothly used as add-on tools via LTB. The recent messages on working with these issues have been very promising.

I stop my list here. In general, we have been going through an introductory phase in which we have launched processes. Now we are clearly in a situation in which the use of the tools is spreading and the users are developing their own patterns of use. At the same time we need to see that we can provide appropriate support for broader circles of users. In this respect the publishing of the LTB Online Guide is a major achievement. We are looking forward to new workshops with new users in the construction sector.

More blogs to come …

 

Zimmererblog is going on strong – Learning Layers’ multimedia training bears fruit

June 12th, 2016 by Pekka Kamarainen

In my latest blogs I have given progress reports on the construction pilot of our EU-funded Learning Layers (LL) project, mostly focusing on the integrative toolset Learning Toolbox (LTB). In addition I have provided a review on the progress we have achieved since the project consortium meeting in Tallinn one year ago. In this blog I will have a look at the main results of the earlier Multimedia Training Workshops (that the LL project organised for the full-time trainers (Lehrwerkmeister) of the construction sector training centre Bau-ABC in 2013-2014) – the trainers’ blogs. Here I will firstly focus on the most outstanding example, the Zimmererblog (Carpenters’ blog) of Bau-ABC trainer Markus Pape.

Zimmererblog – origins, development and impact

In the first Multimedia Training Workshops of the LL project in the years 2013-2014 the LL partners from Pontydysgu and ITB providedtraining for a group of voluntary Bau-ABC trainers. At that time we started by getting an overview of the general web tools and by making use of them. In this context the participating trainers created their own WordPress blogs. In the course of the training they developed their own pattern of working with blogs. Instead of keeping a diary or writing columns on different topics the trainers have transformed their blogs into their own ‘open educational resources’. In this process the trainer Markus Pape has been the pioneer and his Zimmererblog has become the most comprehensive one.

Looking at the structure – after the startpage – the main areas of the blog are the collections of project descriptions (worksheets) for each year of apprentice training. Then, the blog provides links to literature and other websites as well as an additional area for special techniques. Yet, the special trademark of this blog is that the pictures in the worksheets, in the special area and in the slideshow have been edited to make the site more attractive.

Looking at the impact, it is worthwhile to note that the Zimmererblog has from the very beginning on gained a wide popularity beyond the primary users – trainers and apprentices in Bau-ABC. The statistics reveal that it has been viewed from all over the world – although it is only available in German. Recently it has reached the milestone of 45.000 hits (the exact number being currently 45.103) and the interest is not dropping at all. In this respect the expression ‘open educational resource’ is justified.

Trainers’ blogs in the neighboring trades have also taken their place

Parallel to the Zimmererblog the trainers in some other trades (who had also attended the Multimedia Training Workshops) started to create similar blogs for their trades (or groups of trades). As a result there are three other blogs with similar structure in Bau-ABC:

  • The ‘Maurerblog’ (“Mauerwerksbau im Bau-ABC Rostrup. Backsteine und Mehr”) provides a similar set of learning resources for bricklayer apprentices and additional resources for skilled workers. Currently this site has reached 6.604 hits.
  • The ‘Tiefbaublog’ (“Tiefbau Bau-ABC Rostrup. Mach Dich schlau im Tiefbau”) provides a similar set of resources for three neighbouring trades – road-builders (Strassenbauer), pipeline-builders (Rohrleitungsbauer) and sewage-builders (Kanalbauer). In a similar way it provides additional info sheets and links to external resorces. Currently this site has reached 2.893 hits.
  • The ‘Brunnenbaublog’ (Brunnenbauer und Spezialtiefbauer) provides similar sets of resources for the neighbouring trades of well-builders (Brunnebauer) and for the tunnel-builders (Spezialtiefbauer). In addition, the blog provides further links to progression routes to higher education/qualifications (Duales Studium, Weiterbildung). In addition, the blog provides further sections for special themes, tables and instructions for health and safety. For this site we have not got the current statistics.

Here it is worthwhile to note that these blogs have been developed mainly for internal use in Bau-ABC. From that perspective they have been used rather well although their external impact has remained rather limited compared with the Zimmererblog and its impressive outreach.

– – –

Altogether the trainers’ blogs have already taken their place before the Learning Toolbox has been introduced. Now it is interesting to see, how these tools and instruments can best complement each other. Already in the ‘Theme Room” training workshops the trainers started developing thoughts in this respect. I am looking forward to the next steps.

More blogs to come …

 

Looking back – One year from the Learning Layers meeting in Tallinn

June 12th, 2016 by Pekka Kamarainen

My latest posts on our EU-funded Learning Layers (LL) project have focused on the recent progress with introducing the integrative toolset Learning Toolbox (LTB) to new users in construction sector. Quite suddenly I happened to look at my blog archives and spotted the entries that I had written one year ago. It struck me that at that time we were just having our LL consortium meeting in Tallinn. It is interesting to look, what kind of issues we were discussing at that time as tasks for the near future. And it is even more interesting to see, what all we have been able to implement in practice. Below I will list some of the main points for the construction pilot of the LL project:

1.  Multimedia Training concept based on “Theme Rooms”

During preparatory meeting of the construction pilot team the Bau-ABC colleagues presented first time the idea of “Theme Rooms” (see my blog of the 25th of June 2015). In their internal discussions the Bau-ABC trainers had proposed a new format for organising Multimedia Training in consecutive workshops (with ‘virtual rooms’ as support areas). We all got enthusiastic about this idea. Yet, it took some time to put it into practice.

However, in November 2015 we ( = Bau-ABC with support from ITB, Pontydysgu and TLU) managed to implement the first cycle of Theme Room workshops. It involved all Bau-ABC training staff (and the training staff of parallel training centre ABZ Mellendorf) during all Friday afternoons of the November month. As we experienced it, the training campaigned provided important support for the piloting with the Learning Toolbox (LTB) and other LL tools.

2. Making use of Learning Toolbox in Bau-ABC trainers’ projects

In the session on construction pilots we (ITB and Bau-ABC) presented firstly examples of Bau-ABC trainers’ projects that could be supported with LTB. Then, the technical developers presented the functions of the LTB to be expected in the forthcoming beta release. At that time these presentations were two different things. Here again, we needed some time to get ourselves worked in and to organise proper instruction for Bau-ABC trainers.

Looking at the current situation, we have noticed that since the preparation of the kick-off event of LTB pilot (preparation in February 2016, the event itself in March 2016) we have noticed rapid progress. The piloting trainers have soon learned their own ways of creating and linking stacks to organise parallel or consecutive learning activities. Furthermore, they have been able pass their know-how to each other and to learn from each others’ products.

3. Spreading Learning Toolbox to other contexts and new users

For the Tallinn meeting we (ITB, Bau-ABC and Agentur) had prepared posters with which we visualised the exploitation landscapes in which we will be working with spin-off projects for which we expected funding decisions in a short while. Now, looking at the present situation we can give the following update:

  • The project DigiProB (digital support for continuing vocational training – construction site managers) has started recently. The stakeholder interviews give points of orientation for introducing LTB and complementary tools in the next phase.
  • The regional implementation of the transnational mobility scheme Mobipro-EU is bringing to Germany the second cohort of apprentices from Spain (to be trained in construction companies during the next 3-3,5 years). Some apprentices of the first cohort have participated in an LTB-workshop and support the shaping of specific stacks to support the new group of apprentices (50 persons arriving in July 2016).
  • The projects NaBus and DieDa (with focus on ecological construction work) have started and are looking forward to introduce LTB in their training programmes (scheduled for Autumn 2016). Here they can use as points of reference the stacks prepared for the ‘Learning exhibition’ in Verden and the prototype stacks for presenting LTB to member companies of the Netzwerk Nachhaltiges Bauen (NNB).
  • The project HAKS (promoting the theme energy-efficiency in vocational education and training) has started and is looking forward to introduce LTB in the next phase of its training activities (also in Autumn 2016).

4. Making use of AchSo and SoAR in the training of Bau-ABC

In Tallinn meeting the team of Aalto University presented two tools. With the video annotation tool AchSo they had already proceeded to field pilots in Finnish construction sector. With the Social Augmented Reality (SoAR) tool they were still in the initial steps. With AchSo they had only provided Android versions and there issues regarding the integration with LTB. Therefore, our impression was that some time will be needed before they can be introduced to the German pilot sites.

Now we have just experienced a three-day event during which the Aalto colleagues have introduced AchSo to two groups of apprentices (and their trainers) and SoAR to the latter group. All events proved to be successful and the apprentices and trainers are looking forward to next steps. For a wider deployment of AchSo the Aalto colleagues are working with the export function of AchSo to be able to use the tool with ordinary videos. (This step is most welcomed by the above mentioned spin-off projects.)

– – –

I think this is enough to show what kind of progress we have made with the LL construction pilot since the Tallinn consortium meeting one year ago. We know that we still have work to do, but can clearly build on our achievements.

More blogs to come …

 

Learning Toolbox in Action – New project for Brunnenbauer apprentices in Rohrleitungsbau

June 10th, 2016 by Pekka Kamarainen

In my recent blog on our EU-funded Learning Layers (LL) project I described, how two colleagues from the training centre started building stacks in the Learning Toolbox (LTB) to make use of the toolset in their special areas. Thomas Weerts prepared a prototype stack “Arbeitssicherheit im Bauwirtschaft” (Health and Safety in Construction). Melanie Campbell prepared a prototype stack “Mobi Pro EU” for a transnational mobility scheme that in bringing groups of Spanish apprentices to get apprentice training in construction companies in Germany. (We will get back to both themes in a short while. This blog reports on a similar stack-building session with another Bau-ABC colleague, but with more rapid steps to implementation in practice.

Linking the trade Rohrleitungsbau into piloting with Learning Toolbox (LTB)

The aim of my working session with the Bau-ABC trainer Stefan Wiedenstried was to look, how to link the trades for which he is responsible (Strassenbau – road-building and Rohrleitungsbau – pipeline building) with the LTB.

However, we immediately noticed that the group that was practicing with road-building (Strassenbau) was the initial pilot group of the well-builders (Brunnenbauer) with whom trainer Lothar Schoka had started the LTB pilot in his area. Also, the same group had been the test group to whom Sanna Reponen from Aalto University had presented the LL tool AchSo when they were having training in metalworking (see my blog 24th of May 2016). Also, the same group had been interviewed by our colleagues from Innsbruck University (UIBK) on their use of LTB (See my blog 25th of May 2016). It just happened to be the case that this same group was scheduled for next week to be trained by Stefan in the trade of pipeline building (Rohrleitungsbau).

This gave Stefan a clue, how to start. He looked at the stack that was prepared for the kick-off project in which the apprentices first time used LTB in their own trade (Projektordner Schoka). Then he looked, how the mini-projects of metalworking were presented in another stack (Projektordner Wiechmann). And based on these examples he started to develop his own stack (Projektorder Wiedenstried) in a similar format as the previous ones.

The project  “Waagerechter-Verbau” takes shape as an LTB stack

The title of the scheduled project is “1-03-04 Waagerechter-Verbau nach Din4124, Einbau e”. The task is to prepare the grounds for laying pipelines for drinking water in exactly horizontal position according to the DIN norm DIN4124.

After the welcoming message Stefan created a collection tile that contains the project description and a set of photos that illustrate the task. He then tested the functioning of the chat function with Lothar Schoka, who also linked this stack to the ‘parent stack’ of this group of well-builders.

After all these preparatory measures Stefan announced the stack on the Facebook-page of his trade “Tiefbau im Bau-ABC Rostrup”, see below:

Screenshot 2016-06-10 11.15.07

So, now we are looking forward to the group of Brunnenbauer apprentices bringing Learning Toolbox in action in yet another neighbouring trade – in Rohrleitungsbau (pipeline-building). We hope all the best and are keen on hearing more of their work.

More blogs to come …

 

 

New stacks for new users of the Learning Toolbox – Two cases in Bau-ABC

June 3rd, 2016 by Pekka Kamarainen

In my latest blogs I have reported on the pilot activities of our EU-funded Learning Layers (LL) project in the intermediate training centre for construction sector Bau-ABC. Therefore, I have focused on the intermediate part of apprentice training (between learning in the companies and in vocational schools) carried out in the training halls and outdoor training areas of Bau-ABC. In this post I focus on efforts to open up the use of the integrative toolset Learning Toolbox (LTB) for other users. This was the aim of our teamwork in Bau-ABC this morning. Below I report on the creation of new stacks for LTB that take explicitly into account wider range of users than the current groups of apprentices.

Stack to promote awareness on Health and Safety in construction sector

Already in February  we had our first talks with the Health and Safety specialist (Sicherheitsfachkraft) of Bau-ABC, Thomas Weerts, on the prospect of using LTB for thus special area (see my blog of the 22nd of February). Already at that time we gathered several ideas, how to make essential reference materials and practical tools accessible for users with the help of the functionality of LTB. Now we had found time to put these ideas into practice.

Firstly, we considered it important that this stack should not be exclusively for trainers and apprentices in Bau-ABC. Therefore, we named it as ‘Health and Safety in construction sector’ (Arbeitssicherheit in construction sector).  Thus, it should also be relevant for  in-company trainers (betriebliche Ausbilder) and shop stewards for health and safety (Sicherheitsbeauftragten).

Secondly, the first collection of materials provides links to web-based reference materials of Berufsgenossenschaften (public trade-specific bodies for hazard prevention and social insurance in industry and crafts & trades). In addition, this collection provides links to their mobile apps and to compendia that are available as CD-ROMs in companies and training centres.

Thirdly, another collection provides links to tools with which individual users assess health and safety risks in the context of work tasks (Gefährdungsbeurteilung). In apprentice training this is a mandatory task and it is supported by special worksheets provided by the respective Berufsgenossenschaften. (In the near future these will probably be transformed into mobile apps – which could then pave wider use for such tools beyond the initial training.)

The points above can be summarised quickly. Yet, it requires a special effort to decide, what kind or resources can be made available with different tiles and how to support the work of users with such resources. At the moment we stopped after having produced the welcome message and two collection tiles with the above mentioned resources. Thomas had made a good start and was prepared to continue with the next steps that would bring more interactivity into picture. Here, the prior work with trade-specific stacks (e.g. for carpenters, bricklayers and well-builders) could give some clues, how to integrate special tools and apps to this theme.

Stack to support learning and social integration of apprentices from foreign countries

Parallel to the work with the above mentioned stack Melanie Campbell was preparing a stack for a European mobility scheme. Bau-ABC is coordinating for the North-German construction industries and craft trades the Mobi Pro EU project that promotes mobility of trainees and apprentices from South-European countries – mainly from Spain – to get trained in German companies within the dual system. The first cohort of apprentices has already spent over a year and a new one is coming in a short while. As the experience has shown, the newcomers face many open questions and challenges – not only in their working and learning processes but even more regarding their socio-cultural integration and well-being. Here, the functionality of LTB could provide an easier access to information – but also communication channels between the apprentices and their peers of earlier cohorts.

With these thoughts coming up in our discussion Melanie started to give shape to the stack of the Mobi Pro EU project. After the welcoming message she started to prepare placeholder tiles for different kinds of information resources (general, domain-specific and local) to be accessed and for communication channels to be provided (different groups and chat channels). At the moment the format is still in the process of making, but it provides a possibility for involving different parties in further steps of the design process.

– – –

I end my report here – at the point when we ended our joint session. Both Melanie and Thomas will work further with these stacks and involve other colleagues as well. I am looking forward to the next steps.

More blogs to come …

 

Piloting with AchSo and getting feedback on Learning Toolbox – Part Three: Introducing Augmented Reality to construction vehicle drivers

May 26th, 2016 by Pekka Kamarainen

In my two latest blogs on the EU-funded Learning Layers (LL) project I started a series of reports on a field visits in the construction sector – and in particular in the training centre Bau-ABC. Our visitors from Aalto University (Finland) have introduced their tools and our colleagues from the University of Innsbruck (UIBK) gathered feedback on our pilot with the Learning Toolbox (LTB). In my first post I reported on the introduction of video annotation tool AchSo. In my second post I  reported on the feedback that apprentices have given after using the LTB. In this third post I will report on the introduction of Social Augmented Reality (SoAR) – also a tool developed by the colleagues in Aalto University.

The idea of Social Augmented Reality (SoAR)

For lay people (like myself) the most likely encounters with Augmented Reality have been the commercial applications that have provided some kind of pop-up information windows or visuals that enrich web-based information. In such applications there is a basic layer of information that is complemented with an additional one – to the benefit of the consumer-viewer. As a contrast, the idea of the Social Augmented Reality (SoAR) is to provided enriched communication with all channels of mobile devices: speech, video and tagging (drawing). When using SoAR in mobile phone calls, the counterparts can see each other and talk to each other (like using Skype), they can switch the screens that they are viewing and they can tag live videos by drawings. Whilst this idea had been presented in some consortium meetings of the LL project, we had first put the emphasis on introducing the integrative toolset Learning Toolbox (in March) and then the video annotation tool AchSo (on the two first days of this field visit). On the third day of the field visit we had the chance to introduce SoAR to a group of apprentices specialising as construction vehicle drivers (Baugeräteführer).

The introduction of SoAR in Bau-ABC

Since the visitors from Aalto and UIBK had spent the second day of visit introducing the AchSo video annotation tool for a group of construction vehicle drivers (Baugeräteführer), the step to introducing AchSo (see my first blog of this series) was a smooth transition from one tool to another. Sanna Reponen presented the functionality of the tool at the outdoor training areas and the testing started immediately. Normally, the driving and operating of construction site vehicles (caterpillars with different additional features) is organised in groups – one is the driver, two others are supporting the lifting and adjusting operations while others are waiting for their turns. The supervising trainer is not all the time present – since the training is based on the culture of self-organised learning (apprentices are expected to grow into independent task preparation, planning and implementation).

Now, in the beginning, the trainer got a mobile phone in which SoAR was uploaded and one of the apprentices got another one. In this way the trainer was able to rotate between different training areas and his office without losing contact with this group of trainees. During one of the first test calls there was a real problem case, when the cylinders of the caterpillar started making unusual noises – just when the trainer was out of sight. Thanks to the use of SoAR the apprentices could show him the case and from the noise he could conclude, where the problem might be. And he could give in real time advice, what measures to take to solve the problem (or at least to avoid any damage). After this ‘real’ case, several other apprentices made similar test calls and the trainer responded from different locations. Altogether, the communication worked well but the background noise from the engines of the vehicles was a major disturbance. (However, the trainers have already tested earmuffs that can filter the background noise and these can be used with SoAR as well.)

At the end of the day we had a feedback session with the apprentices. They gave very positive feedback on the test situation and were looking forward to further development of the tool. In a similar way the trainer had made a very positive experience with his testing. Altogether, we concluded that SoAR is a very positive add-on to the Learning Layers tools.

– – –

I think that this is enough of this field visit. We made immediate arrangements to push forward the work with Learning Toolbox in some further trades and in the area of health and safety (Arbeitssicherheit und Gesundheitsschutz). We also made preliminary arrangements for a similar field visit (for introduction of AchSo and SoAR combined with further evaluative measures). So, there is more work to be done before and after the summer break.

More blogs to come …

Piloting with AchSo and getting feedback on Learning Toolbox – Part Two: Apprentices’ views on using the Learning Toolbox

May 25th, 2016 by Pekka Kamarainen

In my latest blog on the EU-funded Learning Layers (LL) project I started a series of reports on our latest field visits in the construction sector – and in particular in the training centre Bau-ABC. We are now having visitors from Aalto University (Finland)to introduce the tools AchSo and SoAR. In addition, our colleagues from the University of Innsbruck (UIBK) are getting feedback on the use of Learning Toolbox (LTB). In my first post I reported on the introduction of AchSo and how it was received. In my second post I will report on the feedback that apprentices have given using the LTB. Here I just want to give some impressions on the procedure and on the discussions in the groups that I observed. I leave it to the UIBK colleagues to give more detailed account.

The pioneering groups and their learning paths with Learning Toolbox

As I reported in my earlier blogs on the kick-off event of the pilots with Learning Toolbox (LTB) – see my posts of the 3rd of April and of the 6th of April – we started with two trades: carpenters (Zimmerer) and well-builders (Brunnenbauer). With the group of carpenters their trainer Markus Pape had designed a joint project with the trainer of bricklayers (Maurer), Kevin Kuck. This project was about traditional building techniques with wooden frameworks for brick walls (Holzrahmenbau, Fachwerkhäuser). Accordingly, the trainers developed a parent stack that covered the information resources and pointed to specific stacks for the two trades involved in the project and for accessing further knowledge resources. Considering the schedule of the group, they were at the moment having a school period in the nearby vocational school. Afterwards they will continue this project with the bricklayers. During our visit the UIBK colleagues arranged a group discussion with the apprentices at the school.

Concerning the group of well-builders, they started with a project in their own trade. Their trainer Lothar Schoka used the stacks to give them access to selected supplementary materials that are relevant for their project work. In the next phase the group proceeded to neighbouring trades (like machine and metal techniques or pipeline building) in which they get the foundation level training. At the moment they were having a period in Bau-ABC with metal technique. Thus, also the feedback on the use of LTB could be implemented alongside their work with the elementary exercises. Below I will give insights into feedback collected from discussions with this group.

Apprentices’ views on uses of LTB in training centre and in real work situations

The UIBK colleagues put on the board small posters that presented statements picked up from the kick-off event in March. Each statement expressed expectations on benefits of using the LTB. Now each participant had the chance to give votes, which of these expectations had come true – and which he would see as the most important (first, second, third). Here I could see in two groups, how the votes concentrated on a few statements. We were somewhat surprised that the apprentices found LTB easy to use – once the initial difficulties had been overcome. Also, given the relatively limited amount of stacks (and the structure of stacks for their domain) they found it easy to search the information they needed. Also, the chat function was praised as a functioning hotline for passing quick messages to trainers (although this was dependent on the online presence of individual trainers). Furthermore, the LTB was seen as a good tool to have an overview on the learning contents and on keeping the contents available (as priority contents) when needed.

After several positive remarks on the use of LTB as such, the apprentices in all groups made the point that they see the major benefits in using LTB in the intermediate training arrangements in Bau-ABC – which is primarily a learning environment. In the companies there are less people around, questions and answers are passed more directly, there is less chance to do searches and there is more time pressure. Furthermore, there is less tolerance for mistakes or discussing them on the web (privacy and data protection aspects). Partly these reservations are related to generation issues – younger construction site managers are more positive than older.

Then the UIBK colleagues asked, whether the apprentices would prefer to carry out their projects entirely with paper-based documentation or with LTB (if the latter option would be available). In this context the apprentices in all groups voted almost unanimously for the LTB option.

Finally, the UIBK colleagues asked about their expectations on using AchSo. Here they also emphasised the use in Bau-ABC. They drew attention to the possibility to focus on very small but important details or on points in which most mistakes are being made. They also referred to different potential in manual work as well as in complex activities with heavy machinery. They also pointed to the possibility to use video to facilitate the learning processes of those, who do not speak German as their mother tongue. In some groups there were discussions on the use of AchSo in instruction videos (prepared by trainers) and documentation of learning (prepared by apprentices). Altogether, the apprentices saw quite a number of possibilities. Yet, there was a tension between the fact that they have to complete their projects individually, whilst the use of videos requires cooperation with their peers.

– – –

I think this is enough at the moment. The UIBK colleagues will work more thoroughly through the material. But as a first impression this feedback already shows that the work with LL tools is received well and that both trainers and apprentices are making progress. In my next post I will report on the presentation of the SoAR tool (SocialAugmented Reality) by the Aalto colleagues in a further session in Bau-ABC.

More blogs to come …

 

 

 

 

Piloting with AchSo and getting feedback on Learning Toolbox – Part One: Bau-ABC apprentices work with AchSo

May 24th, 2016 by Pekka Kamarainen

In my recent blogs on the EU-funded Learning Layers (LL) project I have mostly focused on our pilot activities in the construction sector – and in particular on the introduction of the toolset Learning Toolbox (LTB) in the training centre Bau-ABC. This week we are again having field events in Bau-ABC but the main emphasis is given on the introduction of the complementary tools AchSo and SoAR that are presented by our colleagues from Aalto University (Finland). Alongside these activities our colleagues from the University of Innsbruck (UIBK) have been organising focus group meetings to get feedback on the use of LTB in the pilot groups that started with this toolset in March. In this first post I will focus on the introduction of AchSo and how it was received by Bau-ABC trainers (Lehrwerkmeister) and apprentices (Azubis).

Development of and piloting with AchSo in Finland

Whilst the Learning Toolbox (LTB) has been developed in the context of the co-design process in construction sector – and Bau-ABC as the main pilot environment to support the process – the development of AchSo has mainly been promoted in Finland. The LL partner Aalto University (later on referred to as Aalto) has taken further the video annotation tool that was so far developed by RWTH Aachen. With the name “AchSo” the developers want to highlight the usability of a video annotation tool in the context of (informal) learning at workplace. This is achieved by the functionality for shooting short videos, for visual tagging of details and for adding short written comments.

As has I have reported earlier on my blog and on an article on the LL website, the Aalto team has piloted with the AchSo tool with a Finnish construction company, regional vocational school centres and with the Finnish Construction Workers’ Trade Union (see my blog of the 27th of March 2015 and the article of the 7th of July 2015 on the Learning Layers website). In the Finnish construction pilot the users of AchSo were trainees in full-time vocational schools that were completing their workplace learning period (Praktikum) in construction companies or apprentices that had switched from full-time education to apprentice contract. In both cases the vocational school teachers were responsible for the final assessment of the learning of trainees and apprentices. By using annotated videos the trainees and apprentices could document their working and learning tasks and demonstrate their learning gains.

Introduction of AchSo to apprentices and trainers in Bau-ABC

Now that we – the had got the pilot activities with the LTB started and some progress had been made, it was an appropriate time to introduce the AchSo tool and explore, how it could be integrated into the ongoing piloting with the LTB. For this purpose two colleagues from Aalto – Sanna Reponen and Matti Jokitulppo – came for a three-day event to introduce AchSo to different groups of apprentices. During the first day they presented AchSo to a group of well-builders (Brunnenbauer) who had already used LTB when being trained in their own trade. Now they were receiving training in the neighbouring trade of machine- and metal techniques. In this context the Bau-ABC colleagues chose to add the work with video annotation as an additional feature to the apprentices’ projects.

We started together with the group of apprentices when they were beginning their first mini-projects (duration one day) with metalworking. Firstly Sanna Reponen  gave the background information on AchSo and how to use it. In this context we also clarified the data protection, privacy and sharing-related issues when using such tools. Secondly the apprentices installed AchSo on their own devices or got spare devices from Aalto for the session. Thirdly the Bau-ABC trainers introduced the project task – cutting a metal plate to a measure, filing the edges and marking spots at given distances for further processing. This ‘project’ is a traditional elementary exercise with which apprentices and trainees are guided to pay attention to appropriate use of tools and to paying attention to quality requirements. After the introduction the apprentices started working with the tasks and – once they had made some progress – shooting videos of each others’ work at different phases. Parallel to this, one of the trainers also shot some videos on the work of apprentices.

It appeared that some apprentices shot only one video, whilst some others tried to cover all major phases of work with short video clips. One of the videos showed deliberately inappropriate use of tools. Others tried to portray good practice. At the end of the day the videos were shown as a gallery and some exemplary videos were played. In particular the videos with comments were shown. After this viewing we had a discussion on the benefits of the tool, on possible improvements that apprentices would wish and on the prospects for using it in the training at Bau-ABC and in the companies (with which the apprentices have their apprenticeship contracts).

Immediate feedback on working with AchSo

On the whole the apprentices were positive about shooting videos – although it was an additional task and required cooperation, whilst the project task was individual and each one had to complete it on his own. In the discussion the apprentices emphasised that they paid more attention to different phases of work when selecting, which of them to be documented with videos. The trainer emphasised that videos shot by apprentices gave him a better overview on the work of apprentices (instead of just going around the workshop and monitoring them individually in the short time). Secondly, it was agreed that such a documentation of training that takes place in Bau-ABC workshops makes it easier to inform the vocational school teachers of the the tasks that have been carried out in the training centre. At the moment the apprentices agreed that it was easier to start using the new tool with such elementary exercises. Yet, they saw more potential and more challenges in integrating the use of annotated videos into the more complex projects in well-building (Brunnenbau).

We also discussed some hurdles and limitations for using AchSo in real work situations (these were very similar to the issues that came up with feedback on LTB, so I will take these up in my next post). However, the trainer of the well-builders, Lothar Schoka, expressed his interest to get from his apprentices annotated videos from construction sites of their companies. These could highlight specific working tasks that could be observed on joint visits of the whole group or discussed more thoroughly in training sessions in Bau-ABC.

– – –

Altogether, we had the impression that the introduction of AchSo in this group worked well. However, we became aware of some technical issues that need to be observed when proceeding from such initial introduction to wider use of the tool. Yet, it appears that the use of AchSo as a complementary tool to LTB is not a problem to the trainers or to the apprentices. In my next post I will report on the feedback that we got in the sessions organised by the UIBK colleagues alongside the work with AchSo.

More blogs to come …

Learning Layers in dialogue with DigiProB project – Part Three: Talks on the usability of Learning Layers tools

May 12th, 2016 by Pekka Kamarainen

In my two previous posts I have blogged on a new phase of our EU-funded Learning Layers (LL) project. In the Construction pilot we have started cooperation with a spin-off project. The German-funded DigiProB project focuses on the training of  certified construction site managers (Geprüfte Polier) – see more on this training and on the background of the project in my two previous posts. In this post I will have a look at the discussions between the technical partners of both projects on the usability of the Learning Layers tools in the new context. But firstly, I need to recapitulate, what kind of change of perspective is taking place in the transition from the LL project to the spin-off project.

Changing the perspective from apprentice training to continuing vocational training (CVT)

So far the pilot activities of LL project in the training centre Bau-ABC have focused on initial vocational education and training (VET).  Thus, the LL project has worked with apprentices and full-time trainers who are present in intermediate training centres (in workshops and on outdoor training areas). In such contexts and the processes instruction, tutoring and peer learning rely on the presence of a learning community.

The change of perspective to the CVT programme for certified construction site managers (Geprüfte Polier) brings into picture a completely different learning environment. The participants are former craftsmen who are in the process of transition to managerial positions. The training programme is based on a 2-month period of courses and a subsequent period of self-organised learning alongside working. In the latter phase the participants are expected to complete integrative learning tasks and to prepare a project report that demonstrate the acquisition of required coordination and management competences.

In the light of the discussions in the preparatory phase (see my first post in this series) and taking into account the messages coming through in the initial interviews (see my second post) it is possible to raise the following questions concerning the introduction of digital media, web support and mobile devices into such a training programme:

1. What can be the role of social learning platform(s) as support for integrative pedagogic approach and as support for self-organised and/or collaborative learning practices?

2. What can be the role of digital learning materials provided by guest trainers/lecturers in supporting the work with integrative learning tasks and project reports?

3. What can be the role of digital documents in facilitating the self-organised learning processes and presenting the results of project work?

4. What can be the role of mobile devices and mobile app frameworks in facilitating learning in the context of work and in sharing knowledge and experience with peer learners?

Sharing knowledge between technical partners of LL and DigiProB projects

The above presented questions were implicitly in my mind in the light of our experiences in the LL project and taking into account the shift to the new project. However, in the preparatory meeting of both projects we first explored, what kinds of tools the LL project has developed and in which contexts they have been piloted. In this discussion most attention was given on the Learning Toolbox (LTB) the integrative toolset with which Bau-ABC is making experiences in several trades. In addition, we took up in particular ‘Bits and Pieces’ (Erfahrungssammler), ‘Living documents’ and ‘Confer tool’ (for collaborative knowledge processing) as different individual tools that can be linked to each other.

Altogether, we concluded that many of the LL tools address some aspects of the R&D agenda that needs to be developed in the new project. In this respect this meeting between the two project needs to be followed up in the near future.

More blogs to come …

 

 

  • Search Pontydysgu.org

    News Bites

    Teachers and overtime

    According to the TES teachers in the UK “are more likely to work unpaid overtime than staff in any other industry, with some working almost 13 extra hours per week, according to research.

    A study of official figures from the Trades Union Congress (TUC) found that 61.4 per cent of primary school teachers worked unpaid overtime in 2014, equating to 12.9 additional hours a week.

    Among secondary teachers, 57.5 per cent worked unpaid overtime, with an average of 12.5 extra hours.

    Across all education staff, including teachers, teaching assistants, playground staff, cleaners and caretakers, 37.6 per cent worked unpaid overtime – a figure higher than that for any other sector.”


    The future of English Further Education

    The UK Parliament Public Accounts Committee has warned  the declining financial health of many FE colleges has “potentially serious consequences for learners and local economies”.

    It finds funding and oversight bodies have been slow to address emerging financial and educational risks, with current oversight arrangements leading to confusion over who should intervene and when.

    The Report says the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills and the Skills Funding Agency “are not doing enough to help colleges address risks at an early stage”.


    Skills in Europe

    Cedefop is launching a new SKILLS PANORAMA website, online on 1 December at 11.00 (CET).

    Skills Panorama, they say,  turns labour market data and information into useful, accurate and timely intelligence that helps policy-makers decide on skills and jobs in Europe.

    The new website will provide with a more comprehensive and user-friendly central access point for information and intelligence on skill needs in occupations and sectors across Europe. You can register for the launch at Register now at http://skillspanorama.cedefop.europa.eu/launch/.


    Talking about ‘European’ MOOCs

    The European EMMA project is launching a  webinar series. The first is on Tuesday 17 November 2015 from 14:00 – 15:00 CET.

    They say: “In this first webinar we will explore new trends in European MOOCs. Rosanna de Rosa, from UNINA, will present the philosophy and challenges behind the EMMA EU project and MOOC platform developed with the idea of accommodating diversity through multilingualism. Darco Jansen, from EADTU (European Association of Distance Teaching Universities), will talk about Europe’s response to MOOC opportunities. His presentation will highlight the main difference with the U.S. and discuss the consequences for didactical and pedagogical approaches regarding the different contexts.


    Other Pontydysgu Spaces

    • Pontydysgu on the Web

      pbwiki
      Our Wikispace for teaching and learning
      Sounds of the Bazaar Radio LIVE
      Join our Sounds of the Bazaar Facebook goup. Just click on the logo above.

      We will be at Online Educa Berlin 2015. See the info above. The stream URL to play in your application is Stream URL or go to our new stream webpage here SoB Stream Page.

  • Twitter

  • Sounds of the Bazaar AudioBoo

  • Recent Posts

  • Archives

  • Meta

  • Upcoming Events

      There are no events.
  • Categories