Learning Layers’ takes an integrative view on technologies for scaling informal workplace learning

We have integrated the theoretical discourse around technology use for learning at the workplace and created an integrated model of Scaling the Support for Informal Learning. This integrates discourses around help seeking and guidance, collective knowledge emergence and maturing, and on task performance, reflection and sensemaking. The model points particularly at the intersection of these.


To validate our initial view on how to scale informal learning interactions at the workplace with innovative technology and to build a common conceptual basis, the initial prototypes have been developed in a rapid and highly participatory design-process. The prototypes were used to test some of the assumptions the project had about the domains and the real needs of users. In the further years, the prototypes and design ideas will now enter a more systematic and software development process to ensure scalability, uptake and sustainability.
The prototype for interpersonal help seeking and scaffolding in the healthcare domain was produced that extends trusted personal learning networks to shared professional learning networks. How trust emerges in these networks is a good example for how collective knowledge that develops in the network has an impact on the individual interaction when seeking support.


Interacting with and maturing of digital material is one important means for scaling learning, and hence it was identified as an important element in both pilot sectors of the Learning Layers project. Using the Knowledge Maturing model as a general framework, a design idea emerged around the use of Living Documents, which would combine more formal documents or guidelines (e.g. used in formal trainings) with less formal discussions that revolve around these. This would both enhance the local adoption of the formal guidelines and also contribute to the maturing of less formal knowledge. Knowledge Maturing Indicators would better visualize this process.


How to support people in meaning making when they interact with physical artefacts was explored by using video capturing and annotation. Meaning making occurs during work where moments of doubt surface into awareness. Often there is no time to attend to the need at that moment. A first prototype was produced to capture these moments where experience tells that something interesting is on the way and to allow learners to add annotations to a video by pointing and adding genre-based keywords (such as “problem” or “trick of the trade”).


Finally, a prototype for a sensemaking interface was also produced that helps learners collect learning experiences they had during their working time and later make sense of those learning experiences when they reflect about them by visualizing them in different ways and putting them into different types of collections. This was particularly motivated by the difficult time constraints under which both sectors are working on the one hand, and the need to document such learning and share it with others, on the other hand.


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