Archive for the ‘events’ Category
This week, we have organized another edition of the MATEL workshop on Motivational and Affective Aspects in Technology-Enhanced Learning at ECTEL 2012 in Saarbrücken. I had the opportunity to present the MATURE Motivational Model (developed together with Christine Kunzmann), which is now also part of the Knowledge Maturing Consulting Network that transfers MATURE results into practice.
The slides are available via Slideshare.
Additionally, I was opening the second day of the workshop with an overview of the results of past editions. The preparation of these slides was actually a rewarding exercise of reflection on what we have achieved, and I was surprise how many interesting conceptual results were produced by the groups.
Similarly, the third edition produced a new landscape of affective aspects and research directions for both. You can find a summary here. This has shown that there is a lot of potential for research activities in that area (and we are in desperate need for sound research results), and we hope that we can spark even more research in this area – although we know that the topic is “in between disciplines”, which often makes it difficult to justify as PhD topic. As part of the LEARNING LAYERS project – scheduled to start in November, we plan to do some additional investigations within SME networks.
This year, we also had the opportunity to share our results with the whole ECTEL 2012 audience – I think this was really a good idea. I have come to believe that the intense workshops at ECTEL 2012 are the most rewarding part of the event. Here is the poster:
The last days I was at the Professional Knowledge Management conference in Innsbruck, organized by Ronald Maier and his team (really well done!). While there were respectable ~150 participants (with a lot of “known faces”), it is also obvious that knowledge management is no longer a hype topic. This is not necessarily a bad thing, especially because among the participants there was a consensus that this event provides value to the participants in terms of exchanging ideas.
The hot topics (some which have been around for quite some years) from my perception were:
- social software and its sibling enterprise 2.0
- human factors of knowledge management
In addition, leadership has emerged in many places although little concrete contributions could be spotted (apart from the keynote talk by von Krogh). Definitely not a hot topic was technology as such, and I could even sense a lot of aversion against too much technology in the field. Particularly, anything related to AI was not welcome at all at the conference – although it was raised in some discussions. This reaffirms the shift of knowledge management from technology towards human and organizational factors. While I would agree that this is a good path, the conference has also shown to me that we are still struggling in research with its implications on research goals and methods. Definitely it will mean more empirical research (like we started in the MATURE project), particularly beyond questionnaires with the use of ethnographic methods and case studies (like Koch & Richter do). For more technology-oriented research, this will probably increase the importance of design research approaches. Definitely, we still more maturity of knowledge on this new paradigm of knowledge management that goes beyond rather generic principles.
I had the opportunity of giving an invited talk at the talkIT workshop, organized by the local “Standortagentur” of Tyrol. I have outline the implications of knowledge maturing on developing IT solutions (basically shifting models from design-time to run-time constructs) and on the competencies required for IT workers.
Together with my colleagues Christine Kunzmann and Athanasios Mazarakis, I have also organized the workshop on Motivational, Social and Cultural Aspects of Knowledge Management. For this workshop, I gave a keynote talk which summarized the findings of our empirical studies in MATURE:
There were great discussions in the workshop, but I have left with the impression that beyond common sense, we still know little about motivational, social, and cultural aspects in terms of implications for designing systems. I am looking forward to further research on the subject.
The paper was chosen due to its ubiquity; the work […] can help to address large-scale challenges in the areas of employment, economic success, an organizational competitiveness. Its insights regarding the links between Knowledge Maturing and the practical application of formal education have impressively broad base. […] It was chosen not only because of an interesting and important topic, but also due to its comprehensible language. The paper was found to be highly relevant to formal education, continuing development, policy making, and ICT/TEL industry. Furthermore, the stakeholder advisory board found it to have high potential with regards to exploitability, scalability, and transferability across Europe, as well as globally. The work described in the paper was evaluated as highly innovative with regards to pedagogical, organizational, and socio-cultural aspects.
(Picture courtesy of Paul de Bra)
Here are the slides:
Today I had the pleasure to chair the MATEL workshop at this year’s edition of the ECTEL conference, which I have organized together with my colleagues Christine Kunzmann, Athanasios Mazarakis, and Simone Braun as well Teresa Holocher from CSI in Vienna and Ulrike Cress from KMRC in Tübingen. The workshop focussed on motivational and affective aspects in TEL. It was broadcasted to the ICT 2010 event in Brussels, and there is an archive of the video stream (choose Tuesday for the MATEL workshop).
It was a great workshop with lot of interactivity and true interdisciplinary audience. I had the honour to open the workshop with a keynote talk, setting the theme of the workshop and presenting results from the MATURE project (including work from Christine and Athanasios).
Within MATURE, we could identify motivational barriers, which include “lack of time” (which related to priorities and the value of certain activities), organization & team culture. One lesson we have taken that solutions should be designed for individual benefits (and not just organizational ones) and for individual users. Towards that end, immersion into context is a key technique.
Ulrike Cress afterwards presented her work on knowledge sharing and collaboration behaviour, which starts from the problem that “knowlegde sharing is not attractive, and takes effort”, which is the root cause for a social dilemma (individual interest vs. group interest).
During the discussion of Andrew Ravenscroft on Designing for TEL, we have touched the issue of what kind of motivation we are actually targetting at. This was a tough question that was not easy to solve during the workshop, but is clearly necessary to define in the future. Possible interpretations:
- motivate individuals to share knowledge?
- motivate to use tools (like we designed them)?
- motivate to learn?
- motivate to adapt to new developments?
After the talks of Virginia Dignum and Erin Knight on the perspectives from student learning, the role of scaffolding was intensely discussed, but from a tool perspective, but also more traditional methods like coaching. This was also related to tool usage (it is not that easy for students to use Web 2.0 as you might expect). This raised – as at several points during the day – an interesting discussion on the differences between intended use and actual use of a tool. The Web 2.0 principle is we design with less intended use and leave more flexibility for actual use, which increases the need for scaffolding. Otherwise the pre-defined structure of the tool already represents the scaffolding.
In the last slot in the presentation from Christian Voigt, we finally had a talk on the affective dimension, which raised the discussion on the role of emotions and their relationship to motivation, which appeared to be a difficult one. It was found that the role of emotions in learning processes was much less researched than the role of motivation.
The workshop then selected topics that should be followed upon in the group discussions in the afternoon. These included:
- Emotions vs. motivation
- What should be motivated? What should be the motivational cause?
- Supporting social relations (confidence & trust in shared information spaces)
- Automated adaptivity to learners’ goals, motivation, and skills
- Motivational triggers in social web spaces
- How much facilitation does it need?
- Motivational aspects in scaffolding collaborative learning
- Intended vs. actual use (Web 2.0 bottom-up vs. instructional top-down)
- Autonomy: defining learning goals vs. choosing from learning opportunities
We finally decided on “emotions vs. motivation”, which turned out to be a very interesting discussion, which can summarized as follows:
- The relationship between emotions and learning outcome (and work performance similarly) is not an easy one – negative emotions can increase the learning and work performance.
- The relationship between emotions and motivation is likewise not an easy one.
- The role of emotions (and motivation) increases in informal learning contexts compared to formal context as in formal context “having to do sth.” overcomes temporary emotional and motivational aspects.
- The are different ways of using emotions, e.g., detecting and making the individual aware of emotions (like MIRROR and xDELIA), providing the possibility for communicating emotions in virtual teaching situations, and reacting to emotional reactions.
In the last session, we tried to create a landscape of the topics of the workshop:
It was really a very good workshop, and we plan to follow up on this with a MATEL wiki, and a 2nd workshop at the next ECTEL conference.
Based on the experiences in MATURE, we are trying to form an interdisciplinary community around the topic of motivational and affective aspects in technology-enhanced learning. Towards that end, we are organizing a workhop (MATEL 2010) at this year’s edition of the ECTEL conference, which takes place in Barcelona, Spain.
We invite contributions from the areas of psychology, sociology, computer science, CSCW, economics, among others.
Last week I was at the SOPRANO Conference, which presents results of our AAL Integrated Project SOPRANO to the interested public. It was colocated with the fair on home automation Beurs Domotica & Slim Wonen at Eindhoven. Apart from the key SOPRANO contributions, we had presentations from the European Commission on their strategy of facilitating the development and deployment of AAL solutions (Peter Wintlev- Jensen), on general acceptance issues by Heidrun Mollenkopf (BAGSO) on ethical aspects of AAL research (by Marjo Rauhala from Vienna), and from the PERSONA project. It really has given a good overview of the current state of research, and the open issues. Particularly the lack of deployment was addressed as part of the panel discussion. There were several opinions on this:
- Lack of societal awareness about the problems that demand for AAL solutions (we will not be able to deliver care in the same way as today as there will be many more older people than now). This leads to a lack of political support.
- Lack of awareness by the immediate carers about the possibilities, availability, and cost/benefits of AAL solutions and potentially threatening change of the role of the carer
- Too high a pace of innovation, which leads to hesistant investments
- Immaturity of the technology as to practical usability and cost effectiveness
- Lack of direct end customer approach (start with the more prosperous as early adopters)
Probably it is a mixture of all of it, but I found particularly the first one convincing as it changes the perspective: we now longer ask what added-value this technology can deliver in addition to care services and informal carers, but we ask how can we keep up a similar level of care for a much larger number of older people with fewer younger carers.
While MATURE has always been inspired by bottom-up developments (and the concept of knowledge maturing has this an inherent assumption), we have always emphasized the importance of top-down activities as well. We have avoided to use the term “management” here, but rather used the term guidance for that. So far, we have mainly concentrated on value-based and valuation-based guidance (showing by appreciation what is considered good practice, which is usually subsumed in a notion of team/corporate culture), and structural guidance (i.e., the establishment and nurturing of communication structures). Furthermore, we have been struggling with potentials and dangers of incentive structures, mainly monetary/material and career incentives.
This week we were at the Professional Training Facts 2009 in Stuttgart (see here for a summary of MATURE activities at this event). This was a great opportunity to think and discuss about topics around competence development in company. One trend I have spotted was the increasing importance of indicators for competence development and the incorporation of those indicators into management instruments like management-by-objectives. At first sight, this always seems to be a good idea to “professionalize” the learning element in a company by making it measurable. This originates in the assumption that “you cannot manage what you cannot measure”, which is probably true when you want to manage things. The approach promises transparency and can be a step towards calculating an ROI for learning. The big problem, however, does not lie in the approach of defining indicators and measuring them, but rather in the concrete indicators themselves. These indicators do not naturally naturally derive from the topic at hand, but are actually always bound to a notion of an ideal state; they contain the statement: you should have a high score in this indicator – this would be the best option. This is not bad as such, but this fact is rarely reflected, especially because this ideal state is actually context-dependent. It can be different for large vs. small organizations, for innovation-focused vs. efficiency-focused organizations, for service vs. production etc. What happens is that somebody defines (probably with good reasons) a certain set of indicators, and other simply take those indicators and apply them without questioning their value for their context.
What does this have to do with knowledge and knowledge maturing? This has three aspects:
- This “ideal state” conception as such is a body of knowledge, and it has to be carefully examine if the underlying knowledge about the ideal state is has reached a level of maturity that allows for a standardization in which you usually simply take things and apply them (like, e.g., for many financial indicators). Or if we are on a lower level of maturity and have to develop from there our own answer to the question “what is the ideal state”. In this learning and maturing process we have to learn about the contextual factors that differentiate us from others. And even if we take and apply standardized things, we should allow and encourage questioning usefulness at any time.
- Indicators are not only about measuring, they are about management and guidance. They aim at changing the behaviour by explicitly or implictly encouraging to become “better”. Even if we know sufficiently about the ideal state, do we know enough how a certain set of indicators (potentially tied together with a complex formula) influences the behaviour? Is our knowledge about that mature enough to make them the basis for formalized instruments (like reward schemes, but also career decisions)? Can we differentiate between correlations and causal relationships? Can we separate external factors? Or should be modest enough to consider them what they are: indicators that measure something, but not the wealth of reality, and use them as a reflection instrument – and in the end maybe come to the conclusion that they measure nothing of interest.
- We are currently researching indicators for knowledge maturing both in the empirical and the technical-conceptual strand of the MATURE project. We should be aware that indicators always derive from a concept of ideal state, which is difficult to envision as a whole. So we will base those indicators based on our pre-conceptions (which has a lot to do with our value systems) – and we should carefully reflect on this problem.
As a conclusion: measuring can be very helpful for many aspects, also on the soft side, but we should understanding the development and application of such measuring instruments as a collaborative learning process which should involve many. Then this process and its result can be also a good guidance instrument.
Today I was invited to a meeting of the IEEE LTSC WG20 for starting a liaison activity between the various stakeholders in competency-based data management. Its goal was to form a group for developing a shared conceptual model. I have presented a very brief summary of our work in that area:
One of my main points was that we need to look at the use cases and their specific requirements as many of the misunderstandings come from the implicit assumption of a certain use case. Our initial analysis of use cases is reported here:
Simone Braun, Christine Kunzmann, Andreas Schmidt
People Tagging & Ontology Maturing: Towards Collaborative Competence Management
In: David Randall and Pascal Salembier (eds.): From CSCW to Web2.0: European Developments in Collaborative Design Selected Papers from COOP08, Computer Supported Cooperative Work vol. , Springer, 2010
Some use cases, like people finding, only rely on very weak notions of interests, while others – like career planning and rewarding schemes – rely on sound competency definitions. This is very important to understand – because all of them tend to speak of competencies. This also helps to understand why in some cases >700 competencies are appropriate, and in others 20 might be sufficient.
For a general conceptual model, I have pointed out the following challenges:
- Competencies are cultural abstractions
- Competency definitions are implicitly contextualized and a certain degree of ambiguity will always remain.
- Competency definitions are purpose-driven conceptualizations
- Competencies are time-dependent conceptualizations
Last week we were at Graz, first for a MATURE Consortium Meeeting and then for the I-KNOW conference, which I always enjoy for its atmosphere. It is far more relaxed and suitable for networking with long lunch and coffee breaks in the afternoon. Unfortunately, the quality of the talks did not live up to my expectations based on previous years’ experience (despite the fact that the MATURE project contributed 7 presentations and one poster presentation). This is strikingly similar to the WM 2009 in Solothurn. Is this a (rather alarming) indicator that traditional knowledge management forums do not attract the top research contributions? Or is the topic as such no longer fashionable?
On the other side, the event hosted the kick-off event for the Special Interest Group on Professional Learning (www.sig-protel.eu), which tries to increase the visibility of the topic on a European level, first by better networking among the concerned European research projects like MATURE, APOSDLE, ROLE, and others. In the discussion, it has turned out that despite the ambiguity of the term, professional learning seems to be umbrella term for KM and workplace learning. This SIG is a promising sign for a maturing community.
This year, Christine and I were giving a talk on integrating motivational aspects into the design of informal learning support, which reported on our findings on how to integrating motivational measures into tools for informal learning (the paper is available from here). Christine has done most of the work in ethnographic studies and their analysis. Currently, together with our colleague Athanasios, they are struggling to integrate their ideas into the four demonstrators of MATURE Year 2 demonstrators.