Category Archives: learningtechnologies

Working further with the Learning Toolbox (LTB) – Part One: Notes on meetings with application partners

This week I have had a chance to participate in some working meetings that have discussed further work with the “Learning Toolbox – LTB”. As readers of this blog have learned during the last few years, the LTB was the main result of the Construction pilot of our EU-funded project “Learning Layers LL” (2012 – 2016). In the project researchers, technical partners and application partners in North Germany were involved in the co-design of the LTB and in the pilot testing of this integrative toolset in apprentice training and in the coordination of construction work. LTB was built as an integrative toolset that linked together mobile apps, resource tiles and communication tiles. As such it has facilitated project-based learning of construction sector apprentices in the training centre Bau-ABC Rostrup. In a similar way it has facilitated the cooperation and coordination work of construction site manager in a special project of Continue reading

Article 1/2016 Insights into “Theme Room” training campaign in Bau-ABC Rostrup

Pekka Kämäräinen

One of the highlights in the Construction pilot of the Learning Layers (LL) project in 2015 was the training campaign based on the “Theme Room” approach in the training centre Bau-ABC Rostrup. Originally the idea of such a campaign was initiated by the traininers (Lehrwerkmeister) of Bau-ABC in their internal discussions. They wanted to have a flexible training model that would link to each other regular presence workshops and self-organised learning with peer tutoring and online support. This was brought together in the concept of “Theme Rooms” (Themenräume).

1. The “Theme Room” approach takes shape and is implemented

The key idea of the Theme Room concept was to agree on a set of key themes that would be covered by parallel (or successive) workshops. The continuation of learning should also be supported by online learning spaces and peer tutors. The participants will work their way through the set of Theme Rooms in an agreed time frame (to be adjusted to the tempo of the participants). With the help of online learning spaces and peer tutoring the participants should be supported to make their way through the learning tasks in the Theme Rooms.

ScrShot_ThRm-StartScrShot_Materials

Screenshot 1 and 2: Grouping into Theme Rooms and Overview on learning materials

In the preparation the following set of themes was considered for the Theme Room training:

  1. Use of social media as support for learning
  2. Preparation of digital learning materials
  3. Intellectual property rights, licensing and sharing information
  4. Use of Learning Toolbox (LTB) as an integrative toolset.

In the detailed planning we chose to start with fewer themes and to organise two workshops for each of the two selected key themes. We agreed to start with the themes ‘Social media’ and ‘Digital learning materials’. The theme ‘Intellectual property rights’ was then introduced by a short  contributions from a special tutor (Dirk Stieglitz) who visited the groups one after another. Finally, we agreed to postpone the introduction of the Learning Toolbox (LTB) to a later phase of the Theme Room training.

With these content-related preparations we then started the training campaign that involved the whole training staff of Bau-ABC (in Rostrup) and the parallel centre ABZ (in Mellendorf). For each parallel group (altogether 5) we appointed one peer tutor from Bau-ABC staff (Lothar Schoka, Kevin Kuck, Markus Pape, Stefan Wiedenstried, Melanie Campbell) and a co-tutor from the ITB team (Pekka Kämäräinen, Joanna Burchert, Lars Heinemann, Werner Müller, Ludger Deitmer). In addition, Dirk Stieglitz served as a special tutor and Jaanika Hirv (Tallinn University) was supporting the overall implementation of the training.

2. Interim assessment after the first Theme Room workshops

Insights into the thematic workshops and into the learning experiences will be given in another article (see Peer learning and use of digital media in Theme Room workshops). Therefore I will make a shortcut to the interim assessment that took place after the cycle of four workshops in a joint wrap-up meeting in Bau-ABC. Below I have picked up some  points from the discussion:

a) The learning experiences in the groups

The participants from Bau-ABC started with comments on their special learning experiences and with positive feedback on the learning climate in the groups.  Here, it was worthwhile to note that several positive comments came from participants who indicated themselves as beginners. Also Director Emken (in the role of a participant) emphasised the importance that everyone had a chance to participate as a peer learner (and to learn more in one’s own pace). In this respect there was no pressure to try to know more (and to show more) than one was able.

ScrShot_Wrap-UpScrShot Blog-Debate

Screenshots 3 and 4: Reporting on learning by two groups with their GoConqr mindmaps

b) Feedback on practical arrangements

Concerning the practicalities, there were several comments. Firstly, the timing of the sessions on Friday afternoon was not considered quite ideal  for such learning new things.  Yet, we could agree that the groups had always overcome the fatigue and got inspired during the sessions. We got a clear signal that it was worthwhile to have two workshops for the same theme and a to maintain continuity across the themes. In a similar way the trainers appreciated the continuation of work with the same tutors in their groups.

c) Organisational implications

Director Emken referred to the need for Bau-ABC to position itself as users of digital media, web tools and mobile technologies in training. In this respect Emken emphasised that Bau-ABC is in the position of learner and has to make progress, but it is clearly moving on step by step. Here, Emken reminded that Bau-ABC needs to keep its industrial counterparts with it on the journey. From this perspective it was clear to him and to the participants that there is a commitment to continue with the Theme Room program and to make the best of it.

Altogether, the comments were positive and expressed willingness to work further with such training. We as Learning Layers partners were pleased to conclude the event by looking forward to good continuation. The Theme Room training had made its case and provided a good basis for the next steps.

Learning Toolbox (LTB) Chronicle Vol. 3, 1/2016

Wrapping up the Learning Layers experience – Part Two: Celebrating research & development dialogue with practitioners

With my latest blog I started a series of posts to wrap up the experiences of our EU-funded Learning Layers (LL) project. As I mentioned,we are in the phase of  concluding our project. For us this is not just a matter of presenting our results with individual reports or demonstrating the achievements with individual tools. An essential part of this phase is to reflect on our experiences on the whole – what have we learned and achieved together. I started my reflections with the theme ‘digital transformation’ and how we have experienced it as lived practice and as research challenge. In this second post I try to describe, how this has characterised our work as researcher partners in research & development dialogue with our application partners in the Construction pilot of the LL project.

The process dynamics: Research & Development dialogue with multiple activities and many iterations

Shortly before Continue reading

Article 1/2015 The Learning exhibition “nachhaltig.bauen.erleben” opened in Verden (25.4.2015)

Pekka Kämäräinen and Joanna Burchert

The application partner organisation Agentur and the affiliated organisations Netzwerk Nachhaltiges Bauen (NNB) and Norddeutsches Zentrum für Nachhaltiges Bauen (NZNB) joined in the Learning Layers during the time when the new exhibition centre and office building of the NZNB was under construction. During the Application Partner Day (APD) visit (Y1) the colleagues from these organisations outlined plans, how to incorporate digital media and web tools into the concept of a “Learning exhibition”. In the Y1 Design Conference (Helsinki) these plans were integrated into the design idea Captus: Capturing of knowledge and experiences with the help of digital media and web tools. Now, in April 2015 the inaugural ceremony of the building took place and the Learning Exhibition “nachhaltig. bauen. erleben” (sustainable. construction work. lived experience) was opened.

LL-Exhibition_1

The opening ceremony gave an overview on different activities that are promoted by the host organisations. The subsequent inaugural presentations and demonstrations in the exhibition area gave insights into materials, construction techniques and equipment for ecological construction work. In the presentations the hosts informed visitors of the role of digital media (as support for further learning) and demonstrated the in-built applications of Augmented Reality in particular exhibition areas. In these presentations the hosts made transparent that the use of digital media and web applications had been taken up due to the participation in Learning Layers project.

LL-Exhibition_2

The Learning Layers team from ITB and Pontydysgu had a small information stand that provided background information on the project and on parallel co-design processes. In addition to this the team members made interviews with the hosts and visitors. In these talks the team explored possibilities for further introduction of Learning Layers tools.

LL-Exhibition_3

In the discussions with the hosts we concluded that the opening of the exhibition provided the basis for application partner Agentur and the affiliated network NNB to follow more closely the pilot implementation of Learning Layers system solution (Layers Box) and the deployment of Learning Toolbox in Bau-ABC.

Learning Toolbox (LTB) Chronicle Vol. 2, 1/2015

Thoughts on “Digital divide 4.0” – Part Four: How to bridge the gap between formal and informal learning?

With my three latest posts I have presented reflections on “Digital Divide 4.0” (regarding the concept, see the first post). These reflections have been inspired by recent experiences with fieldwork for our ongoing EU-funded Learning Layers (LL) project and in particular with its key product the Learning Toolbox (LTB). In my second post I discussed, how this concept reflects the initial difficulties of our project work in the construction sector training centre Bau-ABC.

In this post I shift the emphasis to another part of the German vocational education and training (VET) system – to vocational schools. This is partly triggered by a recent working meeting with a vocational school teacher, who wondered, why their school was not included into our project.  Indeed, for us in ITB and in the training centre Bau-ABC it is a key issue, how to bridge gaps between formal and informal learning when developing Continue reading

Thoughts on “Digital divide 4.0” – Part Two: Observations on the uses of Learning Toolbox in Bau-ABC

With my latest post I started a series of reflections on the concept “Digital Divide 4.0” (see my previous post ). These reflections have been inspired by recent experiences with fieldwork for our ongoing EU-funded Learning Layers (LL) project and in particular with its key product the Learning Toolbox (LTB).  In particular these thoughts have been triggered by our LTB workshops (covered in my earlier posts) and our working visit to the construction sector training centre Bau-ABC. With this blog I try to give insights into our observations on ‘digital divide 4.0’ in the beginning phase of the LL project and into the role of our project work in overcoming such divides. Here I would like to emphasist the role of participative design processes, capacity-building measures and the user-driven deployment of LTB in the training activities of Bau-ABC.

Findings on the use of digital tools Continue reading

Thoughts on “Digital divide 4.0” – Part One: How to overcome such divides?

With this post I will start a series of reflections on the concept “Digital Divide 4.0” (to be explained below). These reflections have been inspired by recent experiences with fieldwork for our ongoing EU-funded Learning Layers (LL) project and in particular with its key product the Learning Toolbox (LTB).  These thoughts have been triggered by our workshops last week (see my previous posts) and our working visit to the construction sector training centre Bau-ABC (to be covered in my next posts). All of a sudden I started thinking, what kind of ‘digital divide(s)’ we are encountering.  And in addition to this, I got struck by the question: In what ways can the Learning Toolbox help us to overcome such divides?

The different meanings of  ‘digital divide’

As I see it, debates on the topic ‘digital divide’ have come and gone in several waves. In the more Continue reading

Learning Toolbox (LTB) Online Guide published!

Today is a great day for our EU-funded Learning Layers (LL) project. As most of the readers of this blog will know, the key product of our project’s pilot activities in the construction sector is the  integrative toolset Learning Toolbox (LTB). In my recent blogs I have mostly reported on our pilot activities with LTB in the North-German construction sector training centre Bau-ABC Rostrup.

This afternoon the LTB developer team sent out the message that the new LTB Online Guide has been published here: http://ltb.io. I take the opportunity to provide some screenshots on this masterpiece.

Startpage

This is where you start with the LTB Online Guide:

Screenshot 2016-06-16 17.59.58

Stacks, Screens and Tiles

This picture gives you an overview of screens that belong to the same stack (and contain tiles).

Screenshot 2016-06-16 18.00.45

Stack editing

This picture shows a stack in the edit mode.

Screenshot 2016-06-16 18.01.43

I think this is enough for a ‘sneak preview’. I Continue reading

Learning Layers in dialogue with DigiProB project – Part One: Preparations for the new project

Our EU-funded Learning Layers (LL) project has recently entered an interesting new phase. In the Construction pilot the Learning Layers project has a chance to work together and share experiences with a spin-off project. Recently, the German-funded DigiProB has also started its work in the German construction sector. Two LL partner organisations – the training centre Bau-ABC and the research institute ITB – play a major role in the new project that can be called as a spin-off from the LL project. Whilst the LL project is focusing on workplace learning from the perspective of skilled workers and apprentices, the DigiProB project shifts the emphasis on training of  construction site managers. With this series of blogs I try to give a picture of the conceptual preparation for the new project (part one), on the lessons to be learned with initial interviews (part two) and on the prospects for using LL Continue reading

Learning Layers in dialogue with DigiProB project – Part One: Preparations for the new project

Our EU-funded Learning Layers (LL) project has recently entered an interesting new phase. In the Construction pilot the Learning Layers project has a chance to work together and share experiences with a spin-off project. Recently, the German-funded DigiProB has also started its work in the German construction sector. Two LL partner organisations – the training centre Bau-ABC and the research institute ITB – play a major role in the new project that can be called as a spin-off from the LL project. Whilst the LL project is focusing on workplace learning from the perspective of skilled workers and apprentices, the DigiProB project shifts the emphasis on training of  construction site managers. With this series of blogs I try to give a picture of the conceptual preparation for the new project (part one), on the lessons to be learned with initial interviews (part two) and on the prospects for using LL Continue reading