Why it is worthy to use TRAILER?- service functionalities and components

The TRAILER software is an innovative ICT-based service working in two (complementary) environments: learners and employers (in a professional context) or teachers (in an academic context). It allows learners to identify evidences of informal learning and link them with competences under development.

Learners are able to decide what they would like to share with their employer/teacher. Employers and teachers can use this information in order to support knowledge management, curricula management and finding the best person suited for a certain task. Another advantage is that it makes rediscovering competences within the company/team possible.

The first stage task for learner when working within the TRAILER service is to identify, collect the evidences of Informal Learning Activity (ILA). The next stage is taking the learner to another component of the toolset which is called Portfolio where learner need to describe, tag and associate the evidence with the required competences. The learner can choose the competences from the general list which has already defined by the institution or create own competency in order to match better to the kind of chosen informal learning activity ( if the competency is not already provided in the competency catalogue).

The second essential function of the TRAILER ICT based service is the “peer recommender” option which gives the tool the collaborative and social scope. Peer recommender option is promoting social learning by enables learners to find and select the people with similar competences to the ones defined by the learner. This feature is most useful to find people with whom the learner can somehow collaborate with. This can be used for creating teams dedicated to project-based work. Additionally, by using the TRAILER tool, the learner can benefit from organizing and registering informal learning in a way he sees as most convenient.

Showcase manager is the component which is useful for learners and can be helpful from an institutional point of view as well. This option enables the learner to organize the informal learning experiences/evidences/ competences in the showcase form by creating the online individual informal learning portfolio – ePortfolio.

Using the TRAILER toolset within the institution and company will facilitate with a range of decision making. Inbuilt in institutional environment the Decision Support System with search option make possible to look for the learners/employees with concrete required competences is supporting the decision making process within the company in the knowledge and HR management context. The system allows institution to have better, wider and up to date insight about the competences that learners/employees posses ( support the knowledge management processes), facilitate the internal and external recruitment processes as well as the promotion possibilities of the employees, support the decision making processes within the institutions about the training gaps and demands, give better insight about employees skills to be able to make sustained decisions on embracing a new challenge or project/ have a view of the company/institution/team know-how.

Read more about project: www.trailerproject.eu
Download the demo version of the TRAILER software: HERE
See the tutorial video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=I-QSpdjKjAk

TRAILER software as ePortfolio tool for managing the competences

TRAILER toolset creates a communication channels between informal learning activity and institutional environments, which the learner will use to make the informal learning visible to the organization (employer or university) in order to enter into a dialogue about the competences developed through these informal learning processes. TRAILER as the ePortfolio tool is supporting the processes of identifying and validating the informal learning experiences. This is done by facilitating the identification of its outcomes by the learner on the one hand and then its recognition by the institution on the other. All he process can be done due to the following components: ILC (Informal Learning Collector), Portfolio Component, Showcase Manager, Peer Recommender, DSS (Decision Support System)

Generally speaking the TRAILER toolset is a set of ICT tools dedicated to the learner as well as the institutional environment. TRAILER as the ePortfolio tool is characterized by the following features:

  • ILC- Informal Learning Collector where learner can identify, collect, categorize and describe informal learning evidences
  • Portfolio Component where learners can recognize, organize, categorize and keep track of informal learning evidences, activities and associate them with the competences, build own informal learning ePortfolio in the Showcase Manager section, publish to allow institutions to collect the data about this concrete competency, look for the learners with the same informal learning experience profile in peer recommender component.
  • Institutional Environment with Decision Support System collecting the data about all learners/employees informal learning profile and construct the different kind of presentation of available data which can be supportive in the decision making process in the company especially in the frame of human recourses and knowledge management.

Read more about project: www.trailerproject.eu
Download the demo version of the TRAILER software: HERE
See the video about the TRAILER from institutional perspective: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=nr6UL2-b3PE

Implications of Identity Negotiation Research for the Design of the TRAILER e-Portfolio

This paper focuses on the question how to design an e-portfolio so that it optimally enables learners to gain credit (either literally or figuratively speaking) for competences attained through informal learning starting from the premise that this process can be considered an identity negotiation process. It provides a review of research findings in the area of identity negotiation and online identities in light of the implications they hold for the design of an e-portfolio that is meant to facilitate identity negotiation.

A pre-print is also available from OUNL repository http://hdl.handle.net/1820/4597

Janssen, J., Berlanga, A. J., & Sloep, P. B. (2012). Implications of Identity Negotiation Research for the Design of the TRAILER e-Portfolio. In Proceedings of the ePortfolio and Identity Conference (ePIC) 2012 (pp. 78-82). July, 9-11, 2012, London, UK.

Using the TRAILER tool for Managing Informal Learning in academic and professional contexts: the learner perspective

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

A tool to aid institutions recognize their employees competences acquired by informal learning

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