WP7 – Implementation in Regional SME Clusters

The overall objective of WP7 is to facilitate and support the process of the widespread adoption of learning solutions in Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and to research and develop sustainable business models which can be transferred to SMEs in different sectors and clusters.
The adoption will take place in two large-scale regional clusters of SMEs – the health care cluster in north England and the building and construction cluster in north Germany. The approach to piloting through clusters has been chosen as clusters represent an entire regional value chain of industry or services, allow for researching networking effects and allow easy scaling. A rationale for choosing the particular regional clusters for piloting is given in 1.3.1.
WP7 will engage project developers and end-users into a dialogue that will enable cooperative and iterative research and development in line with the project’s co-design strategy. WP7 will facilitate the adoption of technology solutions within SMEs, engage SMEs themselves as well as the extended networks within the clusters, including professional and trades associations, vendors and training organisations and will examine the match of technology solutions to needs within SMEs and the usability of the applications. A major objective for the workpackage will be the production of best practice guidelines to guide and support the project’s ongoing technical development and deployment within the clusters, and also to support the development of transferability and sustainability (the business model) for other clusters and sectors.
The Learning Layers project aims to research and develop sustainable models and solutions for learning within SMEs, especially those without established traditions in the adoption of technology based learning solutions.
Specifically the work package will look at different training and learning processes and business models in the clusters and how technology artefacts and applications can be used within these processes. It will also examine wider issues such as needs for qualification and accreditation. WP7 will research and develop different business models for all stakeholders, including developers as well as SMEs and training organisations. The business models should provide sustainability for the artefacts and processes after the end of the project. The business models are also seen as critical to the transfer of the project models, products and outcomes to other clusters and sectors.

Specific objectives of the work package:

  • O7.1 To produce guidelines and advice for the implementation of technology for learning and teaching practice in SMEs The project is aiming to research the adoption of technology based learning solutions in two large-scale regional clusters of SMEs. Technology is not intended to replace existing training, but to enhance and further develop learning processes and knowledge sharing and development within and between SMEs. For this to succeed, there is a requirement for ongoing close collaboration with SMEs and SME organisations ensuring that technology solutions are closely aligned to SME needs and the needs of business clusters. In view of the diverse nature of the clusters, the workpackage will seek to research and develop generalisable guidelines for implementation of Learning Layers tools and products in differing contexts and differing clusters.
  • O7.2 To facilitate and support the widespread deployment and upscaling of technology based learning solutions in SMEs.  The learning solutions and applications developed by the projects will be deployed in two large-scale regional clusters. The objective is to integrate the technology solutions within the learning and training and business practice of those clusters and networks and to evaluate the effectiveness and usability of the solutions as well as their sustainability and the potential for transfer to other regional clusters and sectors.
  • O7.3 To research and explore sustainable business models for supporting the use of technology enhanced learning in SMEs and ensure implementation of a software infrastructure that can track and effectively present data on usage of digital content. A key focus for WP7 is to use large-scale pilots in regional clusters to test solutions promoting and enabling cross-organisational learning in an organisational and economically sustainable way, in the project lifetime and beyond. A model of actors in a networked learning environment, their roles and individual business models will be developed as the basis for a sustainable business model for cross organisational learning in SMEs to ensure that the software solutions support roles, business models and solutions that will survive beyond the project period and that the models and learning solutions can be transferred to other clusters and sectors.

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