This article gives a picture of the demonstration and promotion of the idea of Learning Toolbox in the major construction sector trade fair “Brunnenbauertage” hosted by Bau-ABC Rostrup.
Brunnenbauertage as a major stakeholder engagement event
In May 2014 the Learning Layers project was actively present at the German construction sector event “Brunnenbauertage” (the annual conference of well-builders) hosted by Bau-ABC on their premises in Rostrup. As a professional event of well-builders and borehole builders (Brunnenbauer), the conference part of the Brunnenbauertage event has a long history. Bau-ABC has started to organise a professional exhibition every third year. Whilst the start had been modest (only five exhibition stalls in the beginning), also this part has gained importance and now there were over 100 exhibitors with stalls and larger demonstration areas. According to Bau-ABC, there were over 650 participants (including the exhibitors).
During the event, the following activities were running parallel to each other:
- The conference sessions and workshops on specific topics on construction techniques were running in separate conference rooms.
- The exhibition stalls were accommodated in an a huge exhibition tent that also provided the space for foyer presentations. The Learning Layers project had a stand and gave a presentation of the project and on the Learning Toolbox for an audience of ca. 300 participants.
- In several workshop halls and in the surrounding outdoor areas there were dedicated demonstration areas with scheduled demonstrations of drilling techniques and machinery.
More information on the event is available on the website http://www.brunnenbauertage.de.
Conversations with interested companies
Altogether, the three days were characterised by many demonstrations on the Learning Layers information stall as well in conversations with seven companies and two Universities of Applied Sciences (Fachhochschulen).
Below I give a nutshell summary of the conversations:
a) Talks with companies interested in using web and multimedia in their initial training:
Some entrepreneurs emphasised the role of digital media, Web 2.0 tools and the use of video material. They referred to their experiences with younger apprentices that are reluctant to read texts but are more eager to learn with the help of new media. At the same time they pointed out that it is not possible for individual companies to tackle such issues on their own. Instead, there is a need for shared services that are available for several companies.
b) Talks with companies linked to each other by joint training interfaces with Bau-ABC: Some of the companies contacted during the stakeholder interviews reported of their intensive training cooperation with Bau ABC. In many cases such cooperation arrangements were based on cooperation between different companies (competitors on the markets) that had agreed to develop joint training interfaces with Bau-ABC. In this way Bau-ABC has gained a neutral position and the suppliers have been able to join forces with common training issues and by optimising the participation of their staff. By relying on such cooperation arrangements, it is possible to link the use of Learning Toolbox to multiple training contexts for various target groups.
c) Companies with interest in company-specific (networked) knowledge sharing: Some of the companies were very strongly involved in international markets. They had become aware that they were lacking tools that enable real-time knowledge sharing between their marketing specialists and production units. Also, they were concerned of the fact that their manuals and working documents are growing oversized and not accessible by the operators. Yet, in such companies there are major concerns of data protection. Also, they are concerned of the limited usability of small screens for their purposes.
Conversations on cooperation between companies and training providers
We have already taken into account the “hub” role of Bau-ABC in promoting innovations in the initial vocational education and training. Yet, the participation in the Brunnenbauertage opened wider prospects for the exploitation activities and sustainability scenarios:
a) The role of Bau-ABC as an “innovation hub” for both initial VET and CVT systems: So far, the LL project has mainly been building upon the “innovation hub” role of Bau-ABC in the initial VET as an intermediate training centre. Given the number of mandatory certificates, and the limited time for presence training, there is a specific demand for well-thought e-learning support for self-organised learning. In this context Bau-ABC can cooperate with other CVT actors and with interested companies and branch organisations.
b) The role University of Applied Science programmes with Dual Studies options: The two Universities of Applied Sciences (Ostfalia and TFH Bochum) informed us of their interface areas between vocational and academic learning in the context of Dual Studies (or lengthy workplace learning placements). In this context the UAS-departments are in the process of establishing and consolidating their models and their e-learning initiatives have been separate from each other. Via cooperation with Bau ABC and by using tools like the Learning Toolbox they may have better chances for developing such study options.
Altogether, the participation in Brunnenbauertage opened several cooperation prospects for developing and implementing the Learning Toolbox (and other LL tools as integrated parts of the Learning Toolbox).
Learning Toolbox (LTB) Chronicle Vol. 1, 3/2014