Learning Layers is developing cutting-edge technology for workplace learning

The project is developing several innovative software products that will enable scaling informal learning at the workplace. Amongst the ones developed or adapted in the first year were the following tools and apps: REFLECT (a mobile app for voice-enabled scaffolded reflection on the go), SpirOnto (a tablet-based that exploits semantic linkage to promote informal learning from patient documentation), and SeViAnno (a semantic video annotation tool that was extended for collaborative annotation). All these tools have proven to fit tightly with existing practices in the two sectors (such as recording media on the construction site or verbal reflection on the go in the healthcare domain). Some of these projects have already been picked up by spin out activities.


Image example of an “application scenario” for supporting discussion and search tasks with recommendations based on AAN data (LL Design Team ‘Pandora’)

There are also several large-scale server-oriented development projects that will contribute to a better integration of the developed tools, both on a technological level as well as on a semantic level. All these developments have been turned into open source projects and the project will make a significant effort in the upcoming years to sustain an open source community around these projects.

Using an Artifact Actor Network consisting of users, resources and relations between those entities, the project develops the Social Semantic Server, a service-based framework that exposes several novel services to enable meaningful workplace learning. These include guidance services (e.g. recommendations and semantic search), aggregation services (e.g. tracking and modeling user traces) and Meaning Making services (e.g. capturing discussions around content). The Social Semantic Server combines light-weight domain modeling with social tagging and thereby captures and supports meaning making at the workplace. The server will provide the backend for the design ideas and provide the technological basis for tracing informal learning and knowledge maturing activities, and for recommendations and visualizations. The recommendation services have earned the project appearance at top tier international conferences.

Further server-side developments include the i5Cloud,  a hybrid cloud for mobile and multimedia services that provides basic infrastructure services for cloud computing which include user management, a virtual machine environment as well as cloud storage. Following a hybrid cloud computing strategy based on the OpenStack platform, the i5Cloud will enable the project to deploy its solutions in different scenarios of in-house or cloud based storage and ensures technological scalability. This also includes solutions for security and privacy. Also a Lightweight Application Server enables deployment for multiple communities, hosting a variety webservices and access control for these services.

The first year Small-scale Layers Architecture for fast Deployment was established and checked against use cases and requirements from co-design activities. It integrates the above components on three layers: a cloud infrastructure layer, an application services layer and the service access layer making these services available through APIs.

All projects will eventually be showcased in the Layers Open Developers Library, and code will be published under Open Source Licenses.

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