Tag Archives: informal learning

Article 1/2016 Insights into “Theme Room” training campaign in Bau-ABC Rostrup

Pekka Kämäräinen

One of the highlights in the Construction pilot of the Learning Layers (LL) project in 2015 was the training campaign based on the “Theme Room” approach in the training centre Bau-ABC Rostrup. Originally the idea of such a campaign was initiated by the traininers (Lehrwerkmeister) of Bau-ABC in their internal discussions. They wanted to have a flexible training model that would link to each other regular presence workshops and self-organised learning with peer tutoring and online support. This was brought together in the concept of “Theme Rooms” (Themenräume).

1. The “Theme Room” approach takes shape and is implemented

The key idea of the Theme Room concept was to agree on a set of key themes that would be covered by parallel (or successive) workshops. The continuation of learning should also be supported by online learning spaces and peer tutors. The participants will work their way through the set of Theme Rooms in an agreed time frame (to be adjusted to the tempo of the participants). With the help of online learning spaces and peer tutoring the participants should be supported to make their way through the learning tasks in the Theme Rooms.


Screenshot 1 and 2: Grouping into Theme Rooms and Overview on learning materials

In the preparation the following set of themes was considered for the Theme Room training:

  1. Use of social media as support for learning
  2. Preparation of digital learning materials
  3. Intellectual property rights, licensing and sharing information
  4. Use of Learning Toolbox (LTB) as an integrative toolset.

In the detailed planning we chose to start with fewer themes and to organise two workshops for each of the two selected key themes. We agreed to start with the themes ‘Social media’ and ‘Digital learning materials’. The theme ‘Intellectual property rights’ was then introduced by a short  contributions from a special tutor (Dirk Stieglitz) who visited the groups one after another. Finally, we agreed to postpone the introduction of the Learning Toolbox (LTB) to a later phase of the Theme Room training.

With these content-related preparations we then started the training campaign that involved the whole training staff of Bau-ABC (in Rostrup) and the parallel centre ABZ (in Mellendorf). For each parallel group (altogether 5) we appointed one peer tutor from Bau-ABC staff (Lothar Schoka, Kevin Kuck, Markus Pape, Stefan Wiedenstried, Melanie Campbell) and a co-tutor from the ITB team (Pekka Kämäräinen, Joanna Burchert, Lars Heinemann, Werner Müller, Ludger Deitmer). In addition, Dirk Stieglitz served as a special tutor and Jaanika Hirv (Tallinn University) was supporting the overall implementation of the training.

2. Interim assessment after the first Theme Room workshops

Insights into the thematic workshops and into the learning experiences will be given in another article (see Peer learning and use of digital media in Theme Room workshops). Therefore I will make a shortcut to the interim assessment that took place after the cycle of four workshops in a joint wrap-up meeting in Bau-ABC. Below I have picked up some  points from the discussion:

a) The learning experiences in the groups

The participants from Bau-ABC started with comments on their special learning experiences and with positive feedback on the learning climate in the groups.  Here, it was worthwhile to note that several positive comments came from participants who indicated themselves as beginners. Also Director Emken (in the role of a participant) emphasised the importance that everyone had a chance to participate as a peer learner (and to learn more in one’s own pace). In this respect there was no pressure to try to know more (and to show more) than one was able.

ScrShot_Wrap-UpScrShot Blog-Debate

Screenshots 3 and 4: Reporting on learning by two groups with their GoConqr mindmaps

b) Feedback on practical arrangements

Concerning the practicalities, there were several comments. Firstly, the timing of the sessions on Friday afternoon was not considered quite ideal  for such learning new things.  Yet, we could agree that the groups had always overcome the fatigue and got inspired during the sessions. We got a clear signal that it was worthwhile to have two workshops for the same theme and a to maintain continuity across the themes. In a similar way the trainers appreciated the continuation of work with the same tutors in their groups.

c) Organisational implications

Director Emken referred to the need for Bau-ABC to position itself as users of digital media, web tools and mobile technologies in training. In this respect Emken emphasised that Bau-ABC is in the position of learner and has to make progress, but it is clearly moving on step by step. Here, Emken reminded that Bau-ABC needs to keep its industrial counterparts with it on the journey. From this perspective it was clear to him and to the participants that there is a commitment to continue with the Theme Room program and to make the best of it.

Altogether, the comments were positive and expressed willingness to work further with such training. We as Learning Layers partners were pleased to conclude the event by looking forward to good continuation. The Theme Room training had made its case and provided a good basis for the next steps.

Learning Toolbox (LTB) Chronicle Vol. 3, 1/2016

Learning Toolbox Chronik (Deutsche Version), Jahrgang 2, 2015 – Überblick

Sammlung von Artikeln über Pilotaktivitäten des 3. Jahres des Learning Layers Projekts

Pekka Kämäräinen

Im Jahr 2015 erlebten die Learning Layers-Partner im Bausektor einige Höhepunkte und erreichten einige Meilensteine. Diese werden in den folgenden Artikeln und Berichten dargestellt.

Artikel 1/2015 Die Lernende Ausstellung “nachhaltig.bauen.erleben” wurde in Verden eröffnet (25.4.2015)

Im April 2015 hatte der Praxispartner Agentur einen besonderen Höhepunkt, als das Eröffnungsfest der gemeinsamen Ausstellungs- und Bürogebäude der Organisationen für nachhaltiges Bauen (Agentur, NNB und NZNB) stattfand. In diesem Zusammenhang wurde auch die vom Learning Layers-Projekt unterstützte Ausstellungnachhaltig. bauen. erlebeneröffnet.

Artikel 2/2015 Weiterbildungstag über Learning Layers Tools im Bau-ABC Rostrup (11.5.2015)

Im Mai 2015 veranstaltete der Praxispartner Bau-ABC Rostrup seine jährlichen Weiterbildungstage für ihr Aus- und Weiterbildungspersonal. In diesem Zusammenhang wurde ein Team aus ITB und Pontydysgu eingeladen, um Workshops zu organisieren. Diese Workshops hatten als Thema die Anwendung der Learning Layers Tools, insbesondere der Learning Toolbox. Die Teilnehmer waren Lehrwerkmeister und Weiterbildungskoordinatoren des Bau-ABCs.

Artikel 3/2015 Das Learning Layers Projekt trifft Finnische Ansprechpartner für die Entwicklung der Lehrlingausbildung (Espoo 4.6.2015)

Im Juni 2015 organisierten ITB und Aalto ein Meeting mit finnischen Ansprechpartnern, die die Lehrlingausbildung in Finnland fördern. Dieses Meeting hatte einen Informationsaustausch über die Learning Layers Pilotaktivitäten im Bausektor (in Finnland und Deutschland) und aktuellen finnischen Vorhaben zur Entwicklung der Lehrlingsausbildung zum Thema.

Artikel 4/2015 Learning Layers präsentiert Learning Toolbox Beta Version: Werkstattsgespräche in Bau-ABC und Workshop in der Internationalen Berufsbildungskonferenz (Rostrup/Bremen 2.9.-3.9.2015)

Im September 2015 veröffentlichte das Entwicklerteam der Learning Toolbox die öffentliche Betaversion. Dieses Ereignis wurde zuerst mit Werkstattgesprächen und Tests im Bau-ABC (unter Beteiligung von ITB und Pontydysgu) angekündigt. Unmittelbar danach wurde ein Workshop innerhalb der Internationalen Bremer Berufsbildungskonferenz durchgeführt



Learning Toolbox (LTB) Chronicle Vol. 2, 2015 – Overview

Construction Pilot articles of the Learning Layers project (Year 3)

Pekka Kämäräinen

The Learning Toolbox Chronicle is a collection of articles on the work of the Construction pilot of the Learning Layers project. The co-design process that was initiated in 2013 by the project partners from the training centre Bau-ABC Rostrup has led to the development of the integrative toolset Learning Toolbox (LTB) to support online learning and knowledge sharing.

The articles of Vol. 2, 2015 report on activities of the third year of the Learning Layers project Construction pilot that paved the way for the piloting with the Learning Toolbox in the fourth year of the project.

Article 1/2015 The Learning exhibition “nachhaltig.bauen.erleben” opened in Verden (25.4.2015)

In April 2015 the application partner Agentur experienced a highlight when the joint exhibition and office building of the organisations for ecological construction work (Agentur, NNB and NZNB) was inaugurated. In this context the Learning Exhibition “nachhaltig.bauen.erleben(sustainable.construction work. lived experience) was opened.

Article 2/2015 Training Day on Learning Layers tools in Bau-ABC Rostrup (11.5.2015)

In May 2015 the application partner Bau-ABC organised its annual Training Days for training its own staff. In this context the research partners ITB and Pontydysgu were invited to organise workshops to explore the use of Learning Layers tools – in particular of the Learning Toolbox – with Bau-ABC trainers and continuing vocational training coordinators.

Article 3/2015 Learning Layers meets Finnish promoters of apprentice training (Espoo 4.6.2015)

In June 2015 the research partners ITB and Aalto organised a meeting with Finnish promoters of apprentice training to share information on the Learning Layers pilots in construction sector (in Finland and Germany) and to discuss the developments in Finnish apprentice training.

Article 4/2015 Learning Layers presents the Learning Toolbox Beta version in the International VET conference and on a field visit to Bau-ABC (Rostrup/Bremen 2.9.-3.9.2015)

In September 2015 the developers of the Learning Toolbox launched the public Beta version via Google Playstore. This was was combined to a field visit to Bau-ABC (with ITB and Pontydysgu) and to a workshop in Bremen International Vocational Education and Training conference. 

Article 5/2015 Learning Layers in dialogue with other projects at ECER 2015 (Budapest 9.9.2015)

In September 2015 the research partners ITB and Pontydysgu participated in the European Conference on Educational Research (ECER 2015) in Budapest. Here the Learning Layers project was presented in an ITB-led symposium that brought the project into dialogue with two other projects working with digital media and web resources as support for learning.

Article 6/2015 Learning Layers meets Singapore Workforce Development Agency (Bremen 16.9.2015)

In September 2015 the research partners ITB and Pontydysgu received a 14-person delegation from Singapore Workforce Development Agency, led by the Chief Executive and Chief Research Officer. The working meeting with the delegation focused on the development of Learning Layers tools and their use to support learning in workplace contexts. The visitors informed of their new innovation program iN.LEARN 2020.

Article 5/2015 Learning Layers in dialogue with other projects at ECER 2015 (Budapest 9.9.2015)

Pekka Kämäräinen

The Learning Layers partners ITB and Pontydysgu have promoted the work of Learning Layers in the European Conference on Educational Research (ECER) from the beginning of the project. In the ECER 2014 (in Porto) ITB and Pontydysgu had a joint symposium on the relations between participative design and accompanying research. For the ECER 2015 ITB and Pontydysgu prepared a symposium to present the work of three parallel projects on developing and using digital media and web resources in order to promote learning at the workplace and in work organisations. The symposium was based on the inputs of each project (with brief discussion after the presentation). Then there was a joint discussion supported by an invited discussant.

The first presentation by Falk Howe and Werner Müller focused on the ITB project Kompetenzwerkst@tt (‘Competence workshop’) that started as a curriculum development project to promote holistic approaches to occupational fields of activity (Handlungsfelder) and characteristic Working and Learning Tasks (Lern- und Arbeitsaufgaben) in vocational learning. In this presentation the main thrust was given on the role of e-portfolios as part of Kompetenzwerks@tt approach. The presenters showed, how the e-portfolios are used in retrospective sense (documenting already acquired learning gains) and in prospective sense (for shaping learning scenarios).


Screenshot 1 and 2: Working with the Kompetenzwerkstatt e-portfolio for apprentices

The second presentation by Pekka Kämäräinen, Ludger Deitmer and Werner Müller focused on the Learning Layers with insights into the co-design processes and into the Learning Toolbox as an integrative toolset to support learning in the context of work. Then, the presentation shifted the emphasis from apprentice training (the current pilot context) to continuing vocational training (CVT). The presentation outlined a new project initiative to support the training of general construction site managers (Geprüfte Polier) with digital media and web tools. Finally the presentation discussed some barriers to and challenges for such project work in construction sector but also on emerging changes.


Screenshot 3 and 4: Mapping the R&D context of the DigiProB project in continuing vocational training for construction professionals

The third presentation by Graham Attwell dealt with the Employ-ID project that focuses on the changes in the public employment services (PES) in Europe (with major pilots initiated in the UK). The background of the project is in the changing role of PES organisations due to changes in working life and occupations. Now these services are required to produce data of changing labour markets and analyse the employment prospects of different target groups. Based on these results they are required to propose employment promotion measures and initiatives for self-employment. One of the contributions of the Employ-ID project was to organise an adapted MOOC (using a social network platform based on MOOC technology) to stimulate community-based online learning of dispersed PES services.

In the joint discussion the participants drew attention to the complementary relations between the projects. In particular they emphasised the relevance of the e-portfolio of the Kompetenzwerkst@tt for the further work with the Learning Toolbox. Also, the discussion emphasised the relevance of lessons from the pilot MOOCs for forthcoming pilots in the field of vocational education and workplace training.

Learning Toolbox (LTB) Chronicle Vol. 2, 5/2015

Artikel 4/2015 Learning Layers präsentiert Learning Toolbox Beta Version: Werkstattsgespräche in Bau-ABC und Workshop in der Internationalen Berufsbildungskonferenz (Rostrup/Bremen 2.9.-3.9.2015)

Pekka Kämäräinen

Anfang September 2015 hat ITB eine internationale Berufsbildungskonferenz in Bremen veranstaltet. Die Learning Layers Teams von ITB und Pontydysgu haben in der Konferenz ein Workshop organisiert, um das Learning Layers project zu präsentieren. Insbesondere war die Absicht, das ‘mobile Werkzeugkasten’ Learning Toolbox und anschließende Trainingskonzepte zur Diskussion zu bringen sowie eine Gelegenheit für’Hands-on-testing’ von Learning Toolbox anzubieten. Das Entwicklerteam von Learning Toolbox hatte gerade im Vorfeld der Konferenz eine Beta Version Veröffentlicht. In diesem Zusammanhang besuchten ITB, Pontydysgu und RayCom (von Entwicklerteam) zuerst Bau-ABC Rostrup, um Feedback mit Werkstattgespräche und Testing am Ort zu kriegen.

In Bau-ABC haben die Entwickler die Funktionalität der Beta Version von Learning Toolbox demonstriert und dann praktische Anwendungsmöglichkeiten in drei Gewerke (Zimmerer, Brunnenbauer, Rohrleitungsbauer) identifiziert. Die Lehrwerkmeister von Bau-ABC haben exemplarische Lern-und Arbeitsaufgaben identifiziert, die man mit Hilfe von Learning Toolbox besser durchführen kann. In diesem Zusammenhang konnte man mit Hilfe von Stacks (Stapeln), Tiles (Kacheln) und vernetzte Web-Services (z.B. Slideshare) den Anwender Zugriff zu relevanten Lerninhalte sowie Bedienungsanleitungen der Baugeräte ermöglichen.


In der Konferenz haben die ITB Mitarbeiter zuerst einen Überblick über Learning Layers Projekt und über das Entwicklungsprozess des Learning Toolbox gegeben. Danach hat RayCom eine Online Demonstration über Learning Toolbox Beta präsentiert – mit Bezug auf die Beispiele und Lösungsansätze, die man mit den Lehrwerkmeistern gerade entdeckt und entwickelt hatte.

Nach den Präsentationen wurde das Publikum in zwei Arbeitsgruppen geteilt. In einer Gruppe haben die Teilnehmer mit der Testing von Learning Toolbox fortgesetzt. In der zweiten Gruppe haben die Teilnehmer zwei Trainingskonzepte diskutiert, die nach der Online-Demonstration von ITB un Pontydysgu präsentiert wurden (‘Themenräume’ und Offene Online-Kursen).


Nach dem Besuch in Bau-ABC haben ITB, Pontydysgu und RayCom echte Anwendungsfälle zur Diskussion gestellt. Aufgrund der Hintergrundanalysen, Online-Demonstration und Darstellungen der Trainingskonzepte könnten die Teilnehmer echte Feedback über Learning Toolbox und über die Entwicklung der Trainingskonzepte geben.

Learning Toolbox (LTB) Chronik, Jahrgang 2, 4/2015

LTB Videos from Verden: Use of Learning Toolbox (LTB) for managing construction site (2016)

Below we present two LTB-videos that were recorded in the workshop on uses of the Learning Toolbox (LTB) that was organised for representatives of craft trades companies (in construction sector) in September 2016 in Institut Technik & Bildung (ITB).

The videos are based on the presentation of architect Thomas Isselhard, application partner of the Learning Layers project, representing the network for ecological construction work (Netzwerk Nachhaltiges Bauen, NNB). He gave a presentation on the use of LTB as support for coordination of the work at a construction site in Verden (North Germany).

LTB-Video 1 (Verden): Thomas Isselhard on the use of LTB as an architect

In the first video Thomas discusses the staring points for using LTB to share basic information, update revised construction plans and to avoid communication gaps between different parties involved with the construction work.

LTB-Video 2 (Verden): Thomas Isselhard on using LTB together with contractors and craftsmen

In the second video Thomas and other participants discuss, how craft trade companies can start using LTB with simple content tiles (based on the standard processes and filing systems) and get other users accustomed to work with LTB.  The craftsmen are inducted to use LTB when they get their instructors for their tasks. Here we learn of the benefits of real-time knowledge sharing as well as reporting on progress on the site.

LTB Videos aus Verden: Anwendung von Learning Toolbox (LTB) in der Koordination von Bauprozessen (2016)

Unten präsentieren wir zwei LTB-Videos die in einer Workshop über die Anwendung des Learning Toolbox (LTB) in September 2016 in Institut Technik & Bildung (ITB) organisiert wurde. Die Teilnehmer waren Vertreter von Baufirmen bzw. Handwerksbetrieben im Bausektor in der Stadt Bremen oder in der Bremen-region.

Die Videos  basieren auf die Präsentation von Architekt Thomas Isselhard, Praxispartner des Learning Layers Projekts (als Gründungsmitglied des Netzwerks Nachhaltiges Bauen, NNB). Er hat ein Fallbeispiel über die Anwendung des LTB als unterstützung für die Koordination der Bauprozessen auf einer Baustelle in Verden dargestellt.

LTB-Video 1 (Verden): Thomas Isselhard über die Anwendung des LTB als Architekt

Im ersten Video diskutiert Thomas die Ausgangspunkte für die Anwendung des LTB für die Bereitstellung der Grundinformation, Aktualisierung der Bauplänen sowie Überbrückung der Informationslücken zwischen den Beteiligten auf die Baustelle.

LTB-Video 2 (Verden): Thomas Isselhard on using LTB together with contractors and craftsmen

Im zweiten Video diskutieren Thomas und andere Teilnehmer, wie die Betriebe mit dem LTB arbeiten können. Thomas betont, dass man mit wenigen einfachen Kacheln anfangen kann, um die Grundinformation (gemäss Standardprozeduren und betrieblichen Gewohnheiten) zu organisieren. Die Einführung mit neuen Anwendern (Fachkräfte) im selben Zusammenhang stattfinden kann, wenn man die Daten für Arbeitsaufgaben bereitstellt.  Mit konkreten Beispielen zeigt er, wie die Handwerker oder Unternehmer Zeit dadurch sparen, wenn sie jederzeit aktuelle Pläne und Dokumente mittels LTB finden.

What is Learning Layers project about?

Despite the recognized importance of informal learning at the workplace, most technological solutions are targeted towards a learning model based on the ideas of direct formal instruction. In contrast to formal instruction that is organized along curricula, workplace learning takes place through work processes, is multi episodic, is often informal, is problem based and takes place on a just in time basis and often involves the passing on of skills and knowledge from skilled workers. While this learning from individual experience is highly effective and intrinsically motivating for the individual, it does not scale very well: if individual experiences are not further taken up in systematic organizational learning practices, learning remains costly, fragmented and unsystematic.

In the project, we aim for building technology and the capacity to employ it. We especially aim for empowering regional clusters to deploy our technologies, solutions and services for widespread adoption for learning at work. As a long-term outcome, we want to empower regions to create a talented workforce with the skills and competencies needed for smart specialisation, innovation, and growth.

This should be enabled by a new workplace learning pedagogy and technology that allows scaling informal learning, and a technical infrastructure that can be flexibly deployed in a variety of different scenarios while ensuring scalability, privacy and security. It also requires a large co-creation effort that involves a large number of stakeholders, which leads us from open research, to open development and innovation.

The Learning Layers project has therefore set out to achieve the following challenging objective:

  • to scale-up informal learning technologies in SME clusters to create meaningful learning opportunities and thereby.
  • to improve sustained competitiveness of individuals, SMEs and the cluster as a whole.

The project tackles scaling on a number of levels:

  • First, and to ensure technological means are in line with current practices, we are extending our knowledge on informal learning practices especially with a focus on SMEs in more traditional sectors, their work and learning in physical workplaces and across organisational boundaries.
  • Second, the project aims to deliver a set of interaction technologies that unlocks peer production in networked SME settings and scaffolds individuals for meaningful learning. The approach is visualized in Figure 1.


Figure 1: Concept for Scaling Informal Learning Technologies in SME Clusters

SMEs participate in co creating and sharing learning resources and opportunities. At the same time, their interactions with these needs to be scaffolded to help individuals meaningfully learn from those opportunities. Driven by the main types of informal learning interactions (people, digital and physical artefacts), we particularly focus on the following three types of interaction technologies that will mediate informal learning:

    • Technologies to scaffold interpersonal help seeking in a networked enterprise context
    • Technologies to create, remix and share dynamic, up-to-date and high quality learning content in a cost-effective way within and across organisational boundaries
    • Technologies that capture and mediate meaningful informal learning interactions in work processes and practices in physical contexts using physical artefacts

These interaction technologies will draw upon social semantic technologies for capturing and supporting the negotiation of meaning that arises from within informal organisational and cross-organisational learning processes.

To sustain our efforts, we will deliver a service-based open-source technology platform that empowers key stakeholders to build upon our solutions and allows for delivering novel ways of cloud-based informal workplace learning support. We will also develop a business training model that demonstrates how technologies and methodologies can be adopted rapidly and effectively by SME networks and engage key stakeholders and potential commercial adopters to ensure integration with their future business models

We will finally demonstrate the usefulness and scaling of the technologies and methodologies in the context of two representative and large-scale regional clusters in two highly dynamic and competitive sectors in the healthcare and the building & construction domains multiple users.

Connecting the designers and the users – Stories about healthcare workplace learning – sharing

This video is an example of how Layers is using technology to share initial reports from the fieldwork with the developers and researchers in the design teams. Leeds is undertaking explorative studies with 3 GP practices in the UK, spending time with their staff to understand how they currently learn at work. These videos were made to share early stories and observations from the fieldwork with the Layers developers/researchers to help them to get a richer feel for the healthcare working and learning context. Pseudonyms have been used in these stories; none of the GP practice staff or GP practice names referred to are real. In many cases the stories do not refer to one individual’s story, but to a pattern that the researchers have observed in several situations. This particular story focuses on individual learning then being shared with colleagues.

Connecting the designers and the users – Stories about healthcare workplace learning – help seeking

This video is an example of how Layers is using technology to share initial reports from the fieldwork with the developers and researchers in the design teams. Leeds is undertaking explorative studies with 3 GP practices in the UK, spending time with their staff to understand how they currently learn at work. These videos were made to share early stories and observations from the fieldwork with the Layers developers/researchers to help them to get a richer feel for the healthcare working and learning context. Pseudonyms have been used in these stories; none of the GP practice staff or GP practice names referred to are real. In many cases the stories do not refer to one individual’s story, but to a pattern that the researchers have observed in several situations. This particular story focuses on help seeking beyond your own practice/organisation.