This big state office (with 903 employees) located in a big city of Spain was Military–training group, involved in virtual learning environment courses. The 67 persons contacted were part of a group enrolled in the Virtual Learning Environment Program, so quite familiar with computers and learning technologies. From this group, only 11 were able to engage in the pilots (the dropout registered was one of the highest). Typically the employees had a degree and their age was between 41 and 60 years old.
These military participants developed a good increase on informal learning (IL) recognition during the pilots. The higher importance was given to “Reading” and the lower to “Trial and error” and “Online tutorials”. In general, comparing with other cases, they show higher level of agreement relatively to the need for IL activities in: “learn to perform particular tasks” and “developing a deeper knowledge”.
Even though the drop out was high, the learners who participated were in majority active users (69%) and 49% of their activity was completed in both platforms, an average of 4 informal learning activities (ILA’s) per user. The number of activities per day was the higher scored (8) as the number of competences per ILA (4). They had also recorded the highest percentage of collected activities made public, with 90% of published users’ competences and 80% of ILA’s associated competences. They have also showed a high number of users’ competences.
These participants showed the higher receptivity to the idea and they thought it promote important reflections about their learning’s. They thought TRAILER tool could bring benefits to manage competences in an institution. Personally they considered its most value was to give them an opportunity to visualize learning. Regarding the tool, they emphasized some issues as the weakest: activity type with limited choices, and competences definition are too complex. They considered the tool needed usability improvement and that the piloting phase was too short to test it more realistically.
The person who acted as employer, a Captain and military academy teacher, considered that the TRAILER tool could act as a facilitator in the selection process and identification of new skills.
This big state office (with 1063 employees) was located in a big city of Spain and the contacted department was specialized in informatics. From the 7 employees in that department, 4 were part of the piloting trial phase of TRAILER (the dropout registered was one of the highest). Typically the employees had a degree and their age was between 26 and 40 years old.
The employees showed the lowest score of prior recognition of informal learning (IL) and even though this recognition improved after the pilots, it was still one of the lowest. The activities they considered more important in developing IL were “Reading”, “Trial and error” and “Searching in the Internet”. In general, comparing with other cases, they show higher level of agreement relatively to the need for IL activities in: “learn to perform particular tasks”, “developing a deeper knowledge” and “amusing myself”.
During the first piloting phase – the learner perspective, the few employees who started, finished the piloting (showed a percentage of 100% of active users), but few competences were added per informal learning activities (ILA’s), in average only 1. But 82% of actions were completed on both platforms (an average of 10 ILA’s per user). However, the great majority of the collected activities were not made public.
This group of employees considered the tool’s usability was not very good, however they considered its usefulness high.
The person who acted as employer, the Director of the Web Environment Services, considered that the TRAILER tool could act as a facilitator in selection and identification of new skills processes; he also stated that participants had the opportunity to reflect on what they know and how they have learned it, which represents an unusual but necessary process.
This small technology-based company located in a big city of Portugal specialized in engineering has its core business in areas like space, energy, transports and health. From the 12 employees, 11 were part of the first piloting phase of TRAILER. Typically employees had a degree or a MSc and their age was between 26 and 40 years old.
This company CEO had already a clear understanding about informal learning (IL) and what it represents in their daily knowledge management. He and his employees already acknowledge IL’s importance and some develop IL activities regularly. So, the majority had a good prior recognition of IL, which was slightly improved after the pilots. The most important activities that could trigger IL were recorded as: “Reading”, “Trial and error” and “Searching in the Internet”. In general, comparing with other cases, they show the higher level of agreement relatively to the need for IL activities in: “learn to perform particular tasks” and “improve their professional status”.
During the first piloting – the learner perspective phase, they showed a good percentage of active users (80%), but few competences were added per informal learning activities (ILA’s), in fact, in average only 1 per person. Also only 52% of actions were completed on both platforms (an average of 3 ILA’s per user). Regarding the phase of sharing their IL activities and competences, their results were very low: none of the collected activities were made public and only 25% of users’ competences and 20% of ILA’s associated competences were published. This fact undermined the work that could have been accomplished in the second pilot – the employer perspective. Since he could only act upon the published competences, his work was reduced.
In spite of this constrain, the company CEO was able to understand that the main areas of work and interests of their employees were more or less common with the company line of work. He was able to validate some of his employees’ user competences and add some institutional competences to his original list of institutional competences.
His prior work and the work made in the pilots allowed him to reinforce the importance IL management plays nowadays in a company. He considered that even though the TRAILER tool has some usability problems that should be overcome, it presents an excellent way to aid knowledge management within the company, but as any other tool, it should have a control point somewhere in time (in order to clean some unclear or untrue entries). He believes that for employees it can also become useful namely in increasing their awareness of the importance of their individual and/or team’ work. The employees considered the tool needed usability improvement and that the piloting phase was too short to test it more realistically, however they also agreed it could be useful in a company after fully developed.
Maria C. Viegas, Maria A. Marques, Gustavo R. Alves, Valentina Zangrando, Nikolas Galanis, Francis Brouns, José Janssen, Elwira Waszkiewicz, Aleksandra Mykowska, Miguel A. Conde González, Alicia García Holgado and Francisco J. García Peñalvo
Informal Learning plays an important role in everyone’s life and yet we often are unaware of it. The need to keep track of the knowledge acquired through informal learning is increasing as its sources become increasingly diverse. This paper presents a study on a tool developed to help keeping track of learners’ informal learning, both within academic and professional contexts, This tool, developed within the European Commission funded TRAILER project, will further integrate the improvements suggested by users during the piloting phase. The two studied contexts were similar regarding the importance and perception of Informal Learning, but differed concerning tool usage. The overall idea of managing one’s informal learning was well accepted and welcomed, which validated the emerging need for a tool with this purpose.
Paper presented at TEEM 2013 International Conference on Technological Ecosystem for Enhancing Multiculturality
Salamanca (Spain), 14 – 16 November 2013
M.A. Marques, M.C. Viegas, G. Alves, V. Zangrando, N. Galanis, F. Brouns, E. Waszkiewicz and F. Garcia-Peñalvo
Informal Learning is present in everyone’s life but its awareness only recently has been reported. The need to keep track of the knowledge acquired this way is increasing as its sources diversity also increases. This work presents the pilots trials on the use of a tool developed to help keeping track of the learners’ informal learning, within a number of European higher education schools. This tool developed through the European Commission founded project TRAILER, is still under development, which will allow integrating the set of improving suggestions obtained from users during the piloting phase. The overall idea of managing one’s informal learning was well accepted and welcomed, which validated the emerging need for a tool with this purpose. In higher education schools, this tool also allows students to have a better insight on their academic curricula and the key competences they need to develop further.
Paper presented at ICBL 2013 International Conference on Interactive Computer aided Blended Learning
Florianópolis (Brazil), 6 – 8 November 2013
Clara Viegas, Maria Marques, Gustavo Alves, Nikolas Galanis, Francisco Garcia-Peñalvo
According to recent studies, informal learning accounts for more than 75% of our continuous learning through life. However, the awareness of this learning, its benefits and its potential is still not very clear. In engineering contexts, informal learning could play an invaluable role helping students or employees to engage with peers and also with more experience colleagues, exchanging ideas and discussing problems. This work presents an initial set of results of the piloting phase of a project (TRAILER) where an innovative service based on Information & Communication Technologies was developed in order to aid the collection and visibility of informal learning. This set of results concerns engineering contexts (academic and business), from the learners’ perspective. The major idea that emerged from these piloting trials was that it represented a good way of collecting, recording and sharing informal learning that otherwise could easily be forgotten. Several benefits were reported between the two communities such as being helpful in managing competences and human resources within an institution.
Paper presented at CISPEE 2013 1st International Conference of the Portuguese Society for Engineering Education
Porto (Portugal), 31 October – 1 November 2013
Francisco J. García Peñalvo, Valentina Zangrando, Alicia García Holgado, Miguel A. Conde González, Antón M. Seoane Pardo, Marc Alier, Nikolas Galanis, Jordi López, José Janssen, Francis Brouns, Anton Finders, Adriana Flores, Peter Sloep, Dai Griffiths, Mark Johnson, Elwira Waszkiewicz, Aleksandra Mykowska, Miroslav Minovic, Milos Milovanovic, Maria A. Marques, Maria C. Viegas, Gustavo R. Alves
People do not learn only in formal educational institutions, but also throughout their lives, from their experiences, conversations, observations of others, exploration of the Internet, meetings and conferences, and chance encounters etc. However this informal and nonformal learning can easily remain largely invisible, making it hard for peers and employers to recognize or act upon it. The TRAILER project aims to make this learning visible so that it can benefit both the individual and the organization. The proposed demonstration will show a software solution that (i) helps the learners to capture, organize and classify a wide range of ‘informal’ learning taking place in their lives, and (ii) assists the organization in recognizing this learning and use it to help managing human resources (benefiting both parts). This software tool has recently been used in two phases of pilot studies, which have run in four different European countries.
Paper presented at EC-TEL 2013 Eighth European Conference On Technology Enhanced Learning Scaling Up Learning For Sustained Impact
Paphos (Cyprus), 17 – 21 September 2013
See the video about the TRAILER from institutional perspective: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=nr6UL2-b3PE
M.A. Marques, M.C. Viegas, G. Alves, V. Zangrando, N. Galanis, J. Janssen, E. Waszkiewicz, M. Gonzalez and F. Garcia-Peñalvo
Informal Learning is present in everyone’s life but its awareness only recently has been reported. The need to keep track of the knowledge acquired this way is increasing as its sources diversity also increases. This work presents the pilots trials on the use of a tool developed to help keeping track of the learners’ informal learning, within a number of companies spread out in three countries. This tool developed through the European Commission funded project TRAILER, is still under development, which will allow integrating the set of improving suggestions obtained from users during the piloting phase. The overall idea of managing one’s informal learning was well accepted and welcomed, which validated the emerging need for a tool with this purpose.
Paper presented at EC-TEL 2013 Eighth European Conference On Technology Enhanced Learning Scaling Up Learning For Sustained Impact, Workshop on solutions that enhance informal learning recognition – WEILER
Paphos (Cyprus), 17 – 21 September 2013
adfa, p. 1, 2011.
© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011
The TRAILER e-portfolio formed the basis for a showcase tool for the personal learning environment that the Open Universiteit in the Netherlands offers to its learners. The showcase is required because learners are allowed to bring in a set of learning activities, formal and informal as part of their curriculum when they can present sufficient evidence for having achieved those learning activities. Modifications of the showcase addressed several usability aspects of the TRAILER e-portfolio, by removing most of the unnecessary complexity, and by improving usability. The showcase is tightly integrated into the personal learning environment obliviating the need for a separate ILC. Instead the showcase now presents the learner with a more varied scale of activities to choose from, ranging from formal courses, social activities, and informal activities learners partake in in the personal learning environment. In addition, learners can upload files or search for activities and resources outside of the personal learning environment. Moreover, learners can create and maintain the showcase from a single page, while the TRAILER e-portfolio consists of a combination of separate editors, each requiring a separate page. Major improvements have been made to the user interface: features are integrated better, page layout is improved, and drag and drop allows users to easily add and move objects around. Of course, the showcase contains a section with personal information from the profile created in the personal learning environment and learners can annotate activities and resources made available in the showcase. Learners can easily share the showcase with others. Export of the showcase to PDF files is improved greatly to create more visually attractive PDFs.
Figure 1. The improved showcase integrates all required features
Figure 2. The showcase as others can view it