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Learning Layers after the Aachen Integration meeting – Part 1: Overview and conclusions

April 10th, 2014 by Pekka Kamarainen

Some busy weeks have passed since the Learning Layers (LL) project had its Integration Meeting in Aachen at the end of March. Before the Easter break it may be useful to look back what we achieved and what issues we raised for follow-up.

This post will sum up what I considered as progress in promoting integration across the Learning Layers project. There will also be some critical issues to be taken into account in the follow-up. In the next posts I will discuss the Theory Camp event and how to build upon it in the next phase.

Here some remarks on our progress with promoting integration in the project:

a) Promoting technical integration: Altogether the technical integration sessions raised awareness of the offerings of the partners responsible for the infrastructure. For other partners, the decisions on Layers Adapter (single login to LL apps/tools and joint data-mining on the use of them) are also of interest.

b) Technical support for Development Projects: The meeting increased mutual awareness between the Layers Developers’ Task Force (LDTF) and Development Projects and made transparent what kind of support can be given when up-to-date information is available. In particular the Learning Toolbox was redefined as an integration project that makes use of different LL tools that can be integrated at different stages of the project (some sooner, some later). This opened new possibilities for earlier demonstrations.

c) Work with sustainability scenarios: So far the sustainability scenarios have been developed somewhat separately from each other. Thus, the reporting on them was not unified. Now, after the Aachen experience, it is possible to plan a session that gives attention to the whole range of scenarios and works through the SWOT-analyses.

d) Cooperation across sectoral Development Projects: The Aachen workshop brought the DPs together to look at possibilities for mutually complementing pilots and demos (involving also external actors). This is vital for the development of Captus, AchSo!, Learning Toolbox, Reflect and the exhibition tools. This can be supported by the BauBildung.net and by coordinated development of customised training models for Bau ABC, NNB/Agentur and craft trade companies.

e) Cooperation with empirical studies: The Aachen workshop was a clear step forward in the discussions, how to get parallel interviews and stakeholder talks better coordinated. In particular there was an effort to develop new ways to utilise of prior knowledge, earlier interviews and documents encounters in the interpretation of interview data (on networks and their role in promoting learning). However, these discussions left open issues on, how to analyse changing practices in networks or the potential of networks to promote innovations in working and learning.

f) Work with the Theory Camp approach: The Aachen Theory Camp became a larger and more popular event than expected. Moreover, participants raised needs for further Theory Camp activities from the perspective of interventions, identifying (real) instances of change in sectoral practices and valuing the (conceptual) impact on theory and practice as merits of the research partners. This needs to be taken into account in the planning of the next project consortium meeting in Bremen.

g) Co-design and evaluation issues: The above mentioned discussion (on interventions, identified changes and impact on theory and practice) is essentially linked to the goal-setting for participative design work and to the related evaluation concept. So far the discussion on the evaluation approach has been somewhat disconnected from the design teams and/ or development projects. The Theory Camp discussion gave impulses to discuss the approach taking into account the empowerment of users (Mindlines, Gestaltungsorientierung).

More posts to come …

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