Category Archives: General

Back to Stockholm – Back to the cruise conference(s)

Both last year and this year I had the privilege to participate in the International Vocational Education and Training (VET) conferences organised by Stockholm University in the beginning of May. These conferences have become already a tradition – the 2017 conference was already the sixth and this year it was already the seventh. The practical arrangements are also very special – the conference starts at noon in a the conference rooms of a cruise terminal. After the first sessions the whole conference boards on a ship and continues it work in the conference rooms of the ship. While we are working, the ship makes the trip through the Stockholm archipelago and finally stops at the port of Mariehamn (Maarianhamina) – on the Swedish-speaking island Åland (Ahvenenmaa) between Sweden and the Finnish mainland. In the morning the ship starts the journey back to Stockholm and the conference continues until the ship Continue reading

Taking further steps with the TACCLE4-CPD project – Part Two: Revisiting the legacy of the Learning Layers project

My latest blog I started a series of blog posts with which I want to take further steps with the ongoing EU-funded TACCLE4-CPD project. Already in December I had posted of our kick-off meeting and shared some links to videos that presented the work of earlier TACCLE projects (that equipped teachers with capability to use digital tools and to create online content for their teaching). Now, the current TACCLE project – the fourth one – is focusing on continuing professional development (CPD). The partners from different countries focus also on different educational sectors (general education, adult education, vocational education and training (VET)). Moreover, the partners bring into the project different background experiences in introducing digital tools and web resources as well as enabling the practitioners to reach e-maturity in their own context.

In my previous post I gave a nutshell description, how our institute (Institut Technik & Bildung, Continue reading

Article 4/2016 Piloting with other Learning Layers Tools in Bau-ABC – Learning Toolbox in good company

Pekka Kämäräinen and Sanna Reponen

This  article provides insights into a working visit, during which Learning Layers partners have presented two new tools – the AchSo app for video annotation and the SoAR app for real time video communication in work environments. The tools were presented by our colleagues from Aalto University (Finland). Alongside the pilot sessions our colleagues from the University of Innsbruck (UIBK) collected feedback on the use of the LTB in the pilot groups that piloted with this toolset since March. Project team members from ITB and Pontydysgu accompanied the activities and supported the sessions.

1. Bau-ABC apprentices work with AchSo

Earlier development of and piloting with AchSo in Finland

Originally the video annotation tool is based on prior work done in RWTH Aachen – and they gave the name ‘AchSo’ to illustrate the learning effect when using the tool. Later on the Finnish partner Aalto University (shortly: Aalto) has taken further the tool development. The Aalto team has piloted with the AchSo tool with a Finnish counterparts in the construction sector. In the Finnish pilot the users of AchSo have been trainees in full-time vocational schools that have an obligatory workplace learning period (Praktikum) in construction companies. Their vocational school teachers are responsible for the final assessment of the learning at workplace as well. By using annotated videos trainees could document their working and learning tasks and demonstrate their learning achievements.

Introduction of AchSo to apprentices and trainers in Bau-ABC

The introduction in Bau-ABC was started with the group of apprentices that were specialising in well-building (Brunnenbau) but were having one week’s course period in metalworking. Firstly Sanna Reponen (Aalto) gave the background information on AchSo and how it functions. In this context we also clarified the data protection, privacy and sharing-related issues when using such tools. Secondly the apprentices installed AchSo on their own devices or got spare devices from Aalto for the session. Thirdly the Bau-ABC trainers introduced the project task – cutting a metal plate to a measure, filing the edges and marking spots at given distances for further processing. This ‘project’ is a traditional elementary exercise with which apprentices and trainees are guided to pay attention to appropriate use of tools and to paying attention to quality requirements.

After the introduction the apprentices started working with the tasks and – once they had made some progress – shooting videos of each others’ work at different phases. Parallel to this, one of the trainers also shot some videos on the work of apprentices. It appeared that some apprentices shot only one video, whilst some others tried to cover all major phases of work with short video clips. At the end of the day the videos were shown as a gallery and some exemplary videos were played.

Immediate feedback on working with AchSo

On the whole the apprentices were positive about shooting videos – although it was an additional task and required cooperation. In general, their project tasks are individual and each one had to complete it on his own. In the discussion the apprentices emphasised that they paid more attention to different phases of work when selecting, which of them to be documented with videos. The trainer emphasised that videos shot by apprentices gave him a better overview on the work of apprentices (instead of just going around the workshop and monitoring them individually in the short time). Secondly, it was agreed that such a documentation of training in Bau-ABC workshops makes it easier to inform the vocational school teachers and the companies on tasks their learning gains in the training in Bau-ABC.


Screenshot 1 and 2: Apprentices in metalworking workshop presenting videos to trainer

Altogether, we had the impression that the introduction of AchSo in this group worked well. This impression was confirmed during the next day when a new group of apprentices started with AchSo. The first video by an apprentice was uploaded already during the introductory presentation.

2. Introducing Augmented Reality to construction vehicle drivers

The idea of Social Augmented Reality (SoAR)

The second tool – the Social Augmented Reality (SoAR) – has also been developed by the Aalto team to support real time video communication in working environments. This tool uses at the same time different functions of mobile devices: speech, video and tagging (drawing). When using SoAR in mobile phone calls, the counterparts can see each other and talk to each other (like using Skype), they can switch the screens that they are viewing and they can tag live videos by drawings. Finally, they can save the recordings on their devices.

The introduction of SoAR in Bau-ABC

On the third day of the working visit SoAR was introduced to apprentices specialising as construction vehicle drivers (Baugeräteführer) who had used AchSo on the day before Sanna Reponen presented the functionality of the tool at the outdoor training areas and the testing started immediately. Normally, the driving and operating of construction site vehicles (caterpillars with different additional features) is organised in groups – one is the driver, two others are supporting the lifting and adjusting operations while others are waiting for their turns. The supervising trainer is not all the time present. Now, the trainer got a mobile phone in which SoAR was uploaded and one of the apprentices got another one. In this way the trainer was able to rotate between different training areas and his office without losing contact with this group of trainees.

Baugeräteführer_ Training-areaBaugeräteführer_AchSo-video

Screenshot 3 and 4: Construction vehicle drivers using AchSo and SOAR in their training

During one of the first test calls there was a real problem case, when the cylinders of the caterpillar started making unusual noises – just when the trainer was out of sight. Thanks to the use of SoAR the apprentices could show him the case and from the noise he could conclude, where the problem might be. And he could give in real time advice, what measures to take to solve the problem (or at least to avoid any damage). After this ‘real’ case, several other apprentices made similar test calls and the trainer responded from different locations. Altogether, the communication worked well but the background noise from the engines of the vehicles was a major disturbance.

At the end of the day we had a feedback session with the apprentices. They gave very positive feedback on the test situation and were interested to learn more of the tools. In a similar way the trainer had made a very positive experience with his testing. Altogether – after all these sessions – we concluded that AchSo and SoAR are very positive complementary tools to be used within the Learning Toolbox toolset.

Learning Toolbox (LTB) Chronicle Vol. 3, 4/2016

LTB Videos vom Bau-ABC Team (2014) – Überblick

Die vom Bau-ABC Team hergestellten Videos informieren über die Aktivitäten im Learning Layers Projekt und die Planungen für die nächste Zeit.

LTB Video 1/2014 Multimediatraining von Learning Layers hat Wirkung

Das erste Video handelt von den Ergebnissen des Multimediatrainings und davon wie die Ausbilder ihre eigenen Blogs entwickelten.

LTB Video 2/2014 Lehrwerkmeister des Bau-ABC über die Learning Toolbox in der Erstausbildung

Das zweite Video zeigt die Einstellungen und Erwartungen der Ausbilder zu den Möglichkeiten, die Learning Toolbox in der Ausbildung einzusetzen.

LTB Video 3/2014 Anwendung der Learning Toolbox in Ausbildungsprojekten des Bau-ABCs

Das dritte Video zeigt, wie die Auszubildenden ihre Ausbildungsprojekte durchführen und wo und wie die Learning Toolbox dabei hilfreich sein kann.

LTB Video 4/2014 Learning Toolbox in verschiedenen Arbeitssituationen im Bausektor

Das vierte Video zeigt mögliche Anwendungen der Learning Toolbox bei unterschiedlichen Arbeitsaufgaben.

LTB Video 5/2014 Learning Toolbox als Wegweiser im Arbeits- und Gesundheitsschutz

Das fünfte Video zeigt Anwendungen für Gesundheit und Sicherheit am Arbeitsplatz.

LTB Video 6/2014 Anwendung der Learning Toolbox für Instruktionen am Arbeitsplatz

Das sechste Video handelt davon, wie die Toolbox dazu benutzt werden kann, das ‚wie macht man’s eigentlich’ unterschiedlicher Gewerke einzufangen.

LTB Video 7/2014 Anwendung der Learning Toolbox im Anschlagsmittellager

Das siebte Video zeigt, wie die Toolbox die Zusammenstellung der nötigen Werkzeuge unterstützt.


ZoP app (a LAYERS’s spinoff) will be launched during a Robotics Summer School (22-26th August, Finland) and next Bristol Cinefest (20-24th September, Bristol)

ZoP.Space is a spin out from UWE based on outcomes of the Learning Layers project.ZoP

The ZoP app allows professionals to participate with each other in groups sharing experiences in a video format.  By using the ZoP app users can record video clips, annotate points of interest at a specific time and location in a frame, share and discuss. In this way interesting findings and events at work, in a community project or during an event can become the focus of situated learning conversations.

Dr. Patricia Santos (UWE) is coordinating the two pilots where the ZoP app will be launched for the first time. First, the app will be used by participants of the ERL Emergency/TRADR Robotics Summer Schoolin Finland next week (22-26th August, Oulu). This event has been coordinated with one of the organizersMarta Palau (UWE).

ZoP-BigPicThe second pilot will be organized in Bristol, during the next edition of the Bristol International Festival of Cinematography – Cinefest – with the help of the producer of the festival Dr. Sarah Sparke (UWE).

Screenshot_2016-08-15-11-06-01These are very good opportunities to demonstrate UWE’s position in the field of Technology Enhanced Learning innovation.

Please contact us, John Cook (project manager of ZoP.Space) or Patricia Santos (Research Coordinator of ZoP.Space – if you want more details. You can also follow us on:

Informal Learning at work Report @Bristol

On the 20th of June 2016 the ‘Informal Learning at work – Making an impact on healthcare, creative industries and higher education’ event was hosted by UWE at the Armada House conference building in Bristol. The event was organized by the Learning Layers project ( ) with the main aim of discussing how to support informal learning in the workplace. And particularly, to show the work undertaken in the Learning layers project in this specific research field.
At 10 AM Patricia Santos did the welcome on behalf of UWE, participants were invited to make a short introduction of themselves. The audience was formed by: healthcare (NHS Health Education England, WESSEX Local Medical Committees LEaD), creative industries (Agylia, u-soap media, Bristol Film and TV Industries) and Education (Learning Partnership West and UWE).

Tobias Ley (Learning Layers scientific coordinator) did a brief introduction to the project: BristolTobias “In the Learning Layers Project, we develop technologies that support informal learning in the workplace… Learning Layers is a large-scale research project co-funded by the European Commission’s 7th Framework Programme. The consortium consists of 17 institutions from 7 different countries.” He also introduced the most common problems associated to informal learning situations in the workplace.

BristolTamsinGraham Attwell and Tamsin Treasure-Jones presented the knowledge exchange activities of the day. The Informal learning at work event was conceptualised as a knowledge exchange event, including short pitches and a hands on exhibition.  The ‘Tweetchat meet speed dating’ session was used as an icebreaker activity to discuss questions such as: How much do people take control of their own learning?

The ideas discussed during the tweetchat discussion were very useful to understand the reasons behind the tools developed in Learning Layers. At 11:15 AM the hands on exhibition started.  The aim of this exhibition was to show the work we have done and discuss with the participants whether the tools and applications we have developed might be useful in their work and learning context. We also wanted to hear from them about their needs and to exchange any ideas and tools they might have for supporting informal learning. Seven different tools derived from the research done in Learning layers were shown and discussed:

Our colleagues from Aalto University (Marjo Virnes and Jukka Purma – showed the AchSo app for video annotation and the SoAR app for real time video communication in work environments. The tools were designed with construction workers in mind.  Another tool that has been designed with Construction workers in mind is the Learning Tool Box (LTB) was explained by Graham Attwell and Gilbert Peffer ( LTB is a software platform that allows people from all walks of life to effortlessly build their own mobile learning apps and share them with other.

In the context of the Healthcare sector, Tamsin Treasure-Jones ( showed Bits and Pieces a tool designed to support learning processes such as collecting, remembering, sensemaking and documentation of experiences at work.  Confer, a tool for teams in the workplace,  was demonstrated by its developer Raymond Elferink ( and one of our partners in the Healthcare sector Dr. John Bibby.  Confer supports workgroups to review and reflect on their work and to keep their work focused and moving forward, both at their face to face meetings and in between them. Living Documents  an online tool to support collaborative knowledge development based on the metaphor of a living document, was shown by its main developer Martin Bachl (

Patricia Santos and John Cook ( introduces the ZoP app and website. The ZoP.Space is a digital space for social regeneration where the main aim is helping citizens participate with each other in groups (a Zone) calls for orchestrating social supports (via navigation and bridging aids) so that citizens can benefit from the ideas of others (Possibility). 

* If you want to receive more iBristol3nformation about these tools, or would like to use them in yo
ur workplace, please contact the corresponding person by using the emails listed above. Some tools have further details at the end of this report.

After lunch, attendees were invited to present their own work and reflections to the audience. We had a very diverse and interesting presentations from Agylia , U-Soap Media , Bristol Film and TV Industry, Wessex LMCs ELearning and UWE-CMIR.


Learning Layers tools – Further Contact Details:

Ach so!

Ach so! is an open source mobile application (Android, iOS) for video recording, annotating and sharing. It was designed for informal and highly contextual workplace learning in construction and healthcare where Ach so! particularly supports reflection, knowledge sharing and knowledge creation. With Ach so!, users record short videos, add textual annotations and share the annotated videos. Annotations are placed to points of interest on the screen and are displayed in the video timeline for quick navigation. Videos are shared in cloud with groups of co-workers and collaborators or publicly to Ach so! users. Ach so! service also consists of a browser-based video player for viewing and annotating videos on other platforms. Special features that make Ach so! unique compared with other applications are 1) an easy creation of annotated videos, 2) possibility to add annotations to videos of other authors, which increase interaction between workers, 3) a controlled sharing of annotated videos with selected groups of people, 4) a keyword-based search function that results in videos from an extensive repository of the Ach so! videos in cloud and plays only the selected points of videos according to search. Ach so! is freely available for android devices on the Google Play Store and for iOS devices on the App Store.

Social Augmented Reality app, SoAR

SoAR, Social Augmented Reality, is an open source application for asking and providing guidance in context-dependent work situations that enhances communication and peer-to-peer knowledge sharing and thus supporting informal learning at work. The main feature is the Vision Sharing that allows social interactions on top of a live video stream from one of the two users involved. A camera of a mobile device is streaming live video from one user to another, on top of which both users can draw directly on the selected video sharing screen. SoAR is freely available on the Google Play Store.

Ach So! and SoAR Contacts  

Marjo Virnes. PhD, Postdoctoral researcher at Aalto University, School of Arts, Design and Architecture. Department of Media, Learning environments research group. Email:, +358 50 5771791, Skype: mvirnes

Jukka Purma. MA, Researcher. Aalto University, School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Department of Media, Learning environments research group.  Email:


The generic ZoP app allows you set up a Digital Public Space using Android devices. Users can record video clips, annotate points of interest at a specific time and location in a frame, share and discuss. In this way interesting findings and events at work or in a community project can become the focus of situated conversations. The ZoP app allows users and groups to operate in what we call a Zone of Possibility or ZoP. Helping citizens participate with each other in groups (a Zone) calls for orchestrating social supports (via navigation and bridging aids) so that citizens can benefit from the ideas of others (Possibility). It is essentially a peer-to-peer tool that engages with a wide range of challenges from social regeneration, to work place problem solving, heritage and culture, smart cities and urban data. See:

ZoP.Space Contacts  

Patricia Santos. PhD, Postdoctoral researcher. UWE University, CMIR. Faculty of Arts, Creative Industries and Education. Email:

Prof. John Cook. Professor of Learning Innovation. UWE University, CMIR. Faculty of Arts, Creative Industries and Education. Email:

Related page about the event: Bristol event page

Pekka Kämäräinen from Learning Layers is recognised as an Honorary Member of VETNET

The Council of European Educational Research Association (EERA) has confirmed Pekka Kämäräinen (@pkamarainen) as an Honorary Member of its Network 2 (VETNET). Pekka is one of the researchers of the Learning Layers project from the Institut Technik und Bildung (ITB) of the University of Bremen. In this way this award is also an appreciation to the work of the LAYERS project team in the field of vocational education and training (VET) and in the construction pilot. We celebrate with Pekka this recognition and invite you to know more about his work here.

The Learning Layers Project – visiting Milan Expo and a successful third year review meeting

Looking back at the end of the third year of the Learning Layers project, we can report some very nice outcomes. First, the Learning Layers project was invited to participate with a stand in the Estonian pavilion at the World Expo in Milan. Thousands of people visited the exhibition and several follow-up contacts have been resulting from this exhibition.2015-09-24 19.36.00

At the end of the year, the annual project review took place in Luxembourg. The reviewers praised the scientific quality of the project and challenged us to use the last project year to realize the great potential we have created and to seek measurable impact. The Head of Unit paid us a visit during the review meeting underlining the great importance the Commission places on this project.

A large-scale evaluation study has now started in which our tools will be used in real-world working domains. Results will be available later this year, and will hopefully show how we have changed practices of learning at the workplace.

2015-09-24 14.55.042015-09-23 16.25.15

How to create a screen capture on your computer – using free software

  • First you have to install Jing from here:
  • The go through their tutorials “take your first capture” and “Interactive “Hands-on” Jing Tutorial: Windows”:
  • Once you have finished your screen capture (remember is a max of 5 minutes), you need to conver the SWF file into mp4 to upload it to youtube doing the following:
  • Then convert SWF files use the free online converter: , upload the swf file, then when is done converting save the mp4 file into your computer, then upload to your youtube channel
  • Edit on the youtube editor ( ) if you need to cut off parts or inlude other videos, add titles, etc. :
  • Now you should create a new content on the site and embed that video, include relevant tags so your open educational resource can be found by others. Then send pablo the link of the post and the place you think it should be listed on the OER index
    • If you can´t create the new post, send Pablo the link of the video, with the text you want to appear before or after the video, the tags and where you want the post to appear listed on the OER index

Anything to add or modify? please comment it or send an email to pablof at cimne dot upc dot edu


Layers @ AMEE 2016

AMEE 2016 

27-31 August 2016

Centre de Convencions Internacional de Barcelona (CCIB), Barcelona, Spain

Learning Layers is delighted to be back at AMEE 2016 which will take place this year between 27 – 31 August 2016, at the Centre de Convencions Internacional de Barcelona (CCIB), Barcelona, Spain.

On Monday 29 August 2016 we will be running a BarCamp on Informal Learning and Technology 13:30 – 17:30.  Our theme for this session will be informal learning and technology.  Together we will explore and share innovative approaches to using technology to support such learning.  Join us in sharing your knowledge/experiences at the BarCamp – we could even continue over dinner if desired!

Facilitators; Sebastian Dennerlein (Austria), Dr John Bibby (UK), Raymond Elferink (Netherlands), Micky Kerr (UK), Natalie Lafferty (UK), David Topps (Canada), Tamsin Treasure-Jones (UK).

We are now in the final year of the project. The Healthcare tools which we have been developing Bits & Pieces, Confer and Living Documents are all being field-tested in real healthcare work settings and training and support material is being developed in preparation for the pilots this year. Our Learning Layers @ AMEE video gives a very quick overview of the project. If you would like to get a sense of the current state of each tool then you can watch short screencasts of the tools in use here.

Throughout the conference we will again have an exhibition stand.  Last year we had many visitors who prompted some great discussions, insights and plans for further work.

Visitors will be able to find out more about the tools, the project and our dreams for the future. Watch demos, play with the tools and meet some of the Learning Layers team.

amee_layersamee group working