Learning Layers – How do we take our “lessons learned” with us to design activities? (Part 2)

In my previous post I mentioned that the Learning Layers (LL) projecte is heading from an active phase of fieldwork to the joint start of design activities. I also told how the LL teams of ITB and Pontydysgu had reviewed the user stories from North German construction sector and put them into wider contexts.  In this post I prefer to discuss, how the emerging design ideas would best meet the needs and interests of our partners in the construction sector. In this context I want to draw attention to the wider contexts that they have outlined for discussing eventual design ideas, web applications, software solutions or internet services. I see them as two strategic frameworks for pooling design ideas and linking them to their own developmental initiatives.

a)  “The learning exhibition”: Our partner organisations in the ecological construction work are expecting that their new building with an exhibition area be ready next year. For the inaugural event they are preparing a new kind of exhibition to promote general awareness, professional interest and design ideas in ecological construction work. They want to combine the possibilities of a real exhibition with physical artefacts (with possibilities to touch, sense and feel) and the potentials of web technologies. Moreover, they want to be able to address interested laymen, young apprentices, experiences craftsmen and architects as well as policy makers and other stakeholders. All this requires a differentiated approach, how to present advance information, real-time participation via web and follow-up possibilities.

Here it is worthwhile to note that the target groups are very heterogeneous and their readiness to make use of web-based information varies to a great extent. From this point of view the work with the exhibition may serve as an important preparatory step for wider use of specific web applications, services and community support.

b) The “e-laboratory” (open learning centre/ self-learning space): Our partners working for a major training centre that supports initial and continuing training in a wide range of ( industrial and craft) occupations in construction sector have also developed similar thoughts. Their concern is that some occupational fields are strongly supported regarding uses of ICT, mobile technologies and web, whilst others are lagging behind. If the training activities were complemented by an “e-laboratory” (including an open learning centre and a web space for self-learning) they could better stimulate the integration of uses of web and internet into the culture of learning and professional development across the range of industrial and craft occupations – including different levels of qualifications.

Here it is worthwhile that such a learning facility and a related web space (if well organised) could open new possibilities for self-organised learning, making transparent one’s own capabilities and sharing knowledge. Moreover, they could make it easier to explore the multitude of existing web resources and to make transparent professional forums for knowledge sharing knowledge developments. Here again, the idea needs to be taken up by the responsible organisations and communities to make it work.

I have mentioned these two frameworks for pooling the design ideas before going into the detailed ideas. What strikes me here is that our partners have wanted to draft their own contexts for presenting new solutions or informing of new ideas. Thus, when discussing specific design ideas, there is a frame of reference – how to fit it into a bigger picture, how to present it in a wider context. In this way the design ideas do not appear as one-to-one solutions to individual problems (although these need to be taken into account as well). But these represent a bigger agenda, into which the work with certain key ideas needs to be linked. Therefore – the ideas of an exhibition and e-laboratory need to be brought to a mature phase and the particular design ideas should have a role in it. Equally, this provides a possibility to develop patterns for presenting design work done by others and developmental work in the LL project itself.

To be continued …

Acknowledgements. This work is supported by the European Commission under the FP7 project LAYERS (no. 318209), http://www.learning-layers.eu.