This article focuses on the development of the co-design process with the application partner organisation Bau-ABC during the years 2013 and early 2014. It gives a picture on the evolution of the design idea from the original “Sharing Turbine” agenda to the new framework “Learning Toolbox”.
Sharing Turbine: Digital support for learning processes based on the White Folder
In the Helsinki Design Conference in March 2013, the project consortium agreed to work with the design idea “Sharing Turbine”. The aim was to provide digital support for workplace learning processes that were organised and documented with the help of the so called White Folder. Initially the White Folder had been designed as a learners’ instrument consisting of worksheets with which they prepare, plan, report and assess their projects in the training centre. Since the documentation was paper-based, the White Folder became a bulky document that was difficult to use at workplace.
In the local design work – after a series of initial co-design workshops – it became clear that the digitisation had to be started with some selected trades that could serve as pilot areas for rapid prototyping. In this context the working and learning projects in trade – the pipeline builders (Rohrleitungsbau) were explored more closely. The design process made efforts link multimedia, Web 2.0 tools and mobile Apps to support these projects.
Co-design workshops: Conversations, storyboards, design meetings, multimedia training
After the Design conference, the ITB and Pontydysgu teams organised different kinds of co-design workshops in Bau-ABC. These workshops involved apprentices (in their sessions) as well as full-time trainers (Lehrwerkmeister) and project managers (in joint sessions.
- The first workshops were Conversational workshops that had the aim to map design-relevant issues. They drew attention to general problems and mismatches in the training and hints to possible solutions.
- In the next phase apprentices and trainers participated in separate sessions of Storyboard workshops. They prepared posters that visualised their characteristic working days (both in the training centre and in companies). These workshops helped to specify critical issues, gaps of communication, needs for knowledge sharing and points of intervention.
- In the transition from the initial phase to more specific pilots areas the sessions with the trainers became more directly design meetings that discussed specific tasks and solutions.
- Parallel to this transition we agreed to organise a series of Multimedia training workshops to Bau-ABC trainers. The aim was to raise awareness of general web tools, apps and of specific uses of multimedia in education and training.
Learning toolbox: Revision of the initial design idea towards a flexible toolbox
In a relatively short while, the digitising all the contents of the White Folder appeared to require too much effort. Also, we had to ask if it was useful to try to digitise everything. This led to a revision of the design idea and the working approach in January 2014.
The introduction of the new framework “Learning Toolbox” shifted the emphasis from digitised documents to a new front end framework that will coordinate access to web resources and digital contents when using mobile devices. The aim is to develop a digitally enhanced resource environment around the White Folder. One big advantage of this approach is that it is more flexible for incorporating digital materials for different tasks over a period of time, rather than being pressured to complete all the materials for any given task. Furthermore, this approach should offer more flexibility in terms of linking informal and formal learning and learning in the training centres, in the vocational schools and in the workplace. It gives people the chance to record, share and discuss picture, video, audio or, text from things they are doing in the workplace or in the training centre. Using a powerful search engine we can search a vast quantity of blogs, wiki’s and, social media websites such as baubildung.net to give contextual answers to their problems. The Learning Toolbox will have an responsive tiled design which is easy to use on a mobile with gloves so it is possible to use Learning toolbox as well on the computer as on the move. Each tile is in itself an independent application allowing flexible implementations for different situations and adapted to different user groups.
From toolbox for training to flexible toolboxes for different users in construction sector
Whilst the idea of the Learning toolbox emerged from the work with the apprentices’ White Folder projects, the possibilities for customisation were designed to enable other uses (e.g. in optimisation of work processes and work-related knowledge sharing). Thus, the toolbox is being developed as an integrative framework to be enriched with QR-tags and other means to access web resources. This phase brought into picture new challenges for the hitherto practiced workshops as well as new kinds of workshops for new target groups. This became apparent in the outreach activities that were started shortly after the wireframes of the Learning Toolbox had been presented in a design meeting with Bau-ABC trainers.
Learning Toolbox (LTB) Chronicle Vol. 1, 2/2014