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

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