Archive for the ‘workinglearning’ Category

Learning Layers – Review meeting gave a push to Year 3

December 12th, 2014 by Pekka Kamarainen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More blogs to come in 2015 …

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

December 5th, 2014 by Pekka Kamarainen

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

 Talks with apprentices

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

Ahmed made the following remarks:

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

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

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

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

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

 Talks with trainers

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

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

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

More blogs to come …

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

December 5th, 2014 by Pekka Kamarainen

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

Layers meets the Norwegian cluster Tretorget

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

Cluster talks – insights and lessons

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

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

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

More blogs to come …

Dissemination of the LL fieldwork and R&D activities in construction sector

December 1st, 2014 by Pekka Kamarainen

Reecently I have written short news updates to the Learning & Working Newsletter on the Learning Layers (LL) project. I have firstly sent a short news article on the update of the LL websites for user engagement (both EN and DE language versions). Secondly I have sent a short summary on our contributions to educational research conferences. Since they give a quick snapshot what we have done recently and links to further sources, I will share this information also via this blog.

Updates on the fieldwork of the EU-project Learning Layers

The EU-funded research & development project “Learning Layers” supports the development of learning at workplace with mobile technologies, digital media and web tools. The project has recently updated its websites with articles and videos on the fieldwork in the pilot region for construction sector (North Germany). The articles describe the development of the new design idea “the Learning Toolbox” and the outreach activities in different events, e.g. the Brunnenbauertage and NordBau trade fairs and in different workshops with apprentices, trainers and companies.

The videos from the training centre Bau-ABC give a picture of trainers’ and apprentices’ involvement in the project and their views how to use the Learning Toolbox. The English versions of the articles and videos with English introductions are available here http://learning-layers.eu/construction.

The German versions of the articles and videos with German introductions are available on the restructured German website of the LL project http://learning-layers.eu/german/aktivitaten.

Learning Layers work presented in ECER’14 Porto and in the WERA focal meeting Edinburgh

The EU-funded research & development project “Learning Layers” (LL) has presented its interim results in recent educational conferences.

In the European Conference on Educational Research (ECER 2014) the LL project organised two major sessions:

  • the Research Workshop “Interactive Innovation Research in VET and Working Life: Lessons from Dutch and European Projects” and
  • the Symposium “Construction 2.0: Concepts, Challenges and Chances for Research & Development Dialogue”.

The contributions to the research workshop will be published in a joint article of Joanna Burchert (ITB), Aimée Hoeve (HAN) and Pekka Kämäräinen (ITB) by the International Journal for Research in Vocational Education and Training (IJRVET).

Following papers of the symposium will soon be available available in the ECER VETNET proceedings of the year 2014:

  • The Role of Accompanying Research and Participative Design in the Learning Layers Project” by Pekka Kämäräinen, Ludger Deitmer and Lars Heinemann (ITB) and
  • Work Process Knowledge meets Mobile Learning – Insights into Design Process of the Learning Toolbox” by Pekka Kämäräinen, Joanna Burchert (ITB) and Graham Attwell (Pontydysgu).

In the WERA Focal Meeting 2014 of the networks of the World Educational Research Association the following research paper was presented by the LL project: “Scaffolding Competence Development through Mobile Technologies“ by Ludger Deitmer and Lars Heinemann (ITB).

More blogs to come …

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

November 7th, 2014 by Pekka Kamarainen

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

Reaching out to stakeholders in Germany and in Europe

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

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

From project work to sustainability scenarios

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

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

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

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

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

More blogs to come …

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

November 7th, 2014 by Pekka Kamarainen

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

Shift of emphasis from Year 1 to Year 2

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

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

Steps forward in co-design activities

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

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

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

More blogs to come …

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

October 17th, 2014 by Pekka Kamarainen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More blogs to come …

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

October 16th, 2014 by Pekka Kamarainen

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

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

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

1. The Multimedia Training has impact

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More blogs to come …

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

October 15th, 2014 by Pekka Kamarainen

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

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

First video: LL Multimedia Training and Impact

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

 Second video: LTB Development and Implementation

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

 Third video: LTB for Apprentices’ Project

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

Fourth video: LTB for construction work 

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

Fifth video: LTB for Health and Safety

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

Sixth video: LTB for instruction at workplace 

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

Seventh video: LTB for storage of tools

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

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

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

More blogs to come …

Thoughts on the Day of German Unity – Part 2: My memories of my visits 1989-1990

October 3rd, 2014 by Pekka Kamarainen

In my previous blog I started writing out  memories on the process that led to Germanunification in the years 1989-1990. This is my contribution – as a Finnish expatriat working in Germany – to the celebration of the national holiday – the Day of German Unity. But, as I mentioned in my previous blog, these events have a more personal meaning than news from foreign countries. It so happened that during the turbulent October-November days 1989 I was on a a five weeks’ study visit in Germany. And in the beginning of October 1990 I was again in Germany as a participant of a conference that was organised during the days of the unification. In the previous blog I have tried to reconstruct the chain of main events. Now I try to refresh my memories on how I observed the events when travelling round Germany in 1989 or witnessing the day of unification in the middle of a German conference.

1. Memories of the period October-November 1989

I had planned a five weeks’ tour starting from North Germany (Bremen, Hamburg), then continuing via Kassel and Göttingen to the Ruhr area (Dortmund, Düsseldorf), then having a stop in Bonn, making quick  visits to Karlsruhe and Frankfurt, then spending a Week in München (Munich if you insist) and then spending the last week in Berlin. My aim was to get to know the main research institutes in the field of vocational education and training (VET), industrial sociology (social shaping of work and technology) and educational policy research (with emphasis on VET). From this perspective the trip was successful – I got a lot of fresh insights and made several good contacts. In particular, my long-term cooperation with Institut Technik & Bildung (ITB) started from that visit. But in this blog I do not wish to go to those aspects of my study visit. Instead, I try to reconstruct how I experiences the turbulent times in the German-German history while travelling in Germany when great changes were on the way to happen.

During the first weeks in North Germany the most striking news were the arrival of the masses of refugees that were evacuated from the embassies where they had been camping. It was striking, how great their expectations were on their personal future, now that they had managed to escape and start a new life. However, they had to adjust themselves to rather inconvenient temporary accommodation before they could get settled. Also, getting used to market economy with consumer goods richly available – but with market prices – was not easy for all. People told stories of young men who had just got their first jobs and immediately tried to order top class BMWs.

During the next weeks’ travels from Kassel to the Ruhr area and to Bonn the news focused more on the mass demonstrations in different cities of the German Democratic Republic (DDR). Also, we started to get insights into the difficulties caused to the DDR economy and society by the mass exodus of people to the west. Key functionaries and key professionals had left their posts and fled away – the organisations were struggling to cope with less people available. In particular in the healthcare sector this started to be a problem. At the same time the ones who continued with protests became more determined.

During the visits from Bonn to Karlsruhe and Frankfurt I heard the first news on changes in the leadership of DDR. The top man in the leadership, president and party leader Erich Honecker had stepped down. Yet, it was not clear, whether this would be just a minor face lift with some of the oldest representatives of the ancien regime stepping aside, whilst younger technocrats would try to save the regime.

During the week in München the uncertainty of the future course was still there. There were new waves of refugees via embassies. The demonstrations were continued with growing number of participants. And some other key persons in the leadership of DDR stepped down. Yet -what was to be expected. My host organisation, the sociological research institute ISF had planned a comparative project on industrial relations and working conditions in several countries and they had invited a promising young researcher from DDR to join in the consortium. She was also invited to give a speech on this topic in an event of the Civic Academy of München. Her speech was received well and the discussion started exploring other issues of public interest. When asked directly of her opinion on the recent events, the speaker shocked her audience by stating that she will not return to DDR. She had no confidence that the things would turn better.

During the week in Berlin I got the chance to understand what it means to live in a divided city and in an insular city that has been surrounded by walls. Indeed, the Berlin wall was there and you had to climb to the terraces on the western side to see the Brandenburg gate and the sites in the East. The protests kept going on and the West-Berliners were getting sure that the regime in the East is losing control. A taxi-driver’s comment was symptomatic: “They have mismanaged their economy and the political leaders have no control. If they get a chance for free election, they will vote for unification.” At that time many key persons in the protest movement were still hoping to find an alternative course for their DDR – not to push through a unification with the superpower in the west.

Few days after my return to Finland the ancien regime lost the control irreversibly, the wall was opened, the offices of the secret service were abandoned and the demonstrators caught the last agents that were trying to delete documents. And the big wheels started rolling towards the unification.

 2. Memories of the conference trip to Magdeburg in October 1990

Almost one year later I had a chance to visit Germany again. I had a chance to participate in the German umbrella conference on pedagogics of vocational education and training (Hochschultage Berufliche Bildung). Originally this conference was supposed to take place in a West-German university. However, the designed host organisation had to give up the plan. Therefore, the national organising committee made an arrangement with the University of Technology in Magdeburg to organise a West-German conference in DDR. This was understood as a a friendly gesture to support the gradual coming together between the two German states after the wall had been opened.

However, real life was much faster than anyone had anticipated. The process of gradual coming together turned into rapid unification. To the great surprise of the organisers they had to cope with the decision that the final day of the conference would be the day of unification – and a new national holiday for the unified republic. The organisers decided that they will celebrate unification by continuing the conference as had been planned.

When I arrived in Magdeburg I realised that the conference was heavily overshadowed by the forthcoming unification. The mode of unification was to join the DDR area as new federal states into the Federal Republic of Germany (BRD). In this way the Federal legislation will come into force in the new states. This caused a lot of anxieties among the people who had to cope witt legal and organisational rearrangements. These discussions overshadowed many of the sessions. The East-German participants tried to highlight what they felt was appropriate in their system of VET. The West-German participants tried to show solidarity and understanding. They also were pleading for flexibility and creativity in the the process of systemic transitions in the field of VET.

Due to the timing of the conference it got some attention from top-level policy-makers. The last Minister of Education and the last Secretary of State of DDR were attended the conference and completed their missions in these positions. The Federal Minister of Education of BRD had promised to attend during the opening panel discussion. He arrived – just in time – and gave a speech with which he indicated, who is the new master in the house and whose rules count from now on. Then, contrary to his promise, he apologised that he had to leave at once because of an important appointment in his West-German home town. So, he missed the speeches of the Minister and Secretary of State of DDR (who gave their last speeches in these positions).

On the way back from the conference I and the other Finnish delegate experienced a complete traffic chaos in Berlin. We were supposed to have plenty of time from the railway station Berlin Schöneweide to the airport Berlin Tegel. But the streets were full of people who wanted to get to the City centre to witness the special session of the parliament in the Reichstag building and/or the nearby events. Also, when we finally got to the airport, the plane was kept waiting because the Members of Parliament kept coming on charter planes to attend the session. Finally, we got a permission to fly away (but we missed our connecting flight and got an extra dinner in Hamburg, courtesy to flight company). In the meantime the prominents had their celebrations in Berlin. The picture that was taken on that evening was symptomatic – we see the Mayor of West Berlin, Mr Momper, the old Chancellor Willy Brandt, the Foreign Minister Genscher, the Chancellor Kohl, his wife Ms Kohl, the Federal president Mr v. Weiszäcker waiving their hands – and just fitting to the picture the last Prime Minister of DDR, Mr de Maizière. The new era had been started.

I guess this is enough with these memories. I have had to witness important events from close vicinity. Little of this could be understood immediately on the spot. The big picture could only be reconstructed afterwards. It is time to end these stories now that the Day of German Unity is turning into evening.

The story of the day is told. More blogs to come on working issues …

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