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.
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.