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The Learn@Work Socrates-Minerva Research Project 2005–2007

What did it do and what happened with it since?

Author - Murphy, A., O’Rourke, K.C., Rooney, P.


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The Learn@Work model of ‘scaffolding’ induction through ICTs

The project partners sought to develop a common ‘resource’ for testing with pilot partners with at least a total of 80 worker-learners. Developing such a resource as a solid product proved problematic. The approach agreed was to use the Aalborg collaborative e-learning design (CoED) tool (Binjens and Vanbuel 2007: 45) to develop a shared framework for the design process – a philosophy of values and orientation – underpinned by existing good e-learning pedagogical principles. Three issues were to be central in the design: understanding of the learning process in induction; understanding of the specific domain for induction; understanding of technology and the role it plays in both design and in the learning process. The pedagogic design process involved an exercise in individual ranking of up to 15 values and concepts in relation to the desired model for the project, followed by two further exercises of reduction until consensus emerged. The eventual ‘value statement’ (p.46) for the Learn@Work pedagogic materials included a requirement to consider the following eight aspects: lifelong learning, workplace learning, motivation/self-motivation, student centredness, blended approaches to learning pedagogies, collaborative professional development, and opportunities for individual, and applied learning.

The next stage in the design process was to apply the pedagogic values to the specific context and domains at two levels. The first level was to determine the timeline, goals, ways of working, materials and activities to be used in the induction pilot cases. The next stage was to illustrate how ICTs were to be used in each element of the ‘storyline’ of level one, and to include such elements as surroundings, equipment, activities, resources, tools and so on from the perspective of the worker-learners. A series of summary poster screens were used both to clarify the range of similarities and differences among the intended pilots and for future use as design tools, with a simplified version as illustrated in Table 1.

Selecting the pilot partners

A set of common questions were agreed to inform selection of two pilot partners in each country where the materials developed by each of the five partners would be tested, perhaps with different materials for each partner. The questions were broadly as follows:

  • What sectors of workers were most likely to benefit from the particular materials developed?
  • What levels of competence needed to be considered?
  • What access to computers would be required?
  • Would broadband width matter?
  • How would the package encourage a culture of on-line pedagogies?
  • Would the package make a direct link between work and academia?

The pilot partners for each of the partners were as listed in Table 2.

The range of contexts, activities and usage of ICTs evident in Table 2 gives some indication of the complexity of the project and indeed of its adaptability to the real contexts of each pilot environment.

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