Archive for the ‘conference’ 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.
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.
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.
On Thursday and Friday I had the opportunity to go to the OnlineEduca Berlin. It is a huge combined congress and fair with over 2.000 participants from more than 90 countries. For my taste, this is way too big – it creates an atmosphere of restlessness and anonymity where meeting people is possible, but you do not really feel like spending enough time on really exchanging ideas. Breaks are too short, sessions too many. But it appears that others do not share this opinion – otherwise they would not come to the event repeatedly.
Well, apart from that, there were interesting keynotes on the first day: Michael Wesch, a anthropologist from Kansas presentedwho managed that his home-made YouTube video became an incredible success (and he has since then produced several interesting ones! – my colleague Valentin already recommended one of them in his recent blog entries), but also Norbert Bolz (who was less entertaining, but also had interesting ideas) like the importance of self-branding.
While there was no single big conference theme, I gained the impression that the two big topics were serious games and (with some distance) mobile learning. There was some reference to personal learning environments (e.g., by Fronter) and the obligatory reference to Web 2.0, but few consequences could be seen.
I myself presented MATURE from an (almost) non-technical perspective, highlighting new approaches to guidance via the gardening metaphor and the necessity of a participatory culture:
Additionally, Gilbert Peffer from CIMNE organized a session on serious games for the financial domain (both for private financial decisions and for professional trader training), and provided a possibility to look into the upcoming xDELIA project (where FZI a is also involved both from the sensor side and from the perspective of experimental economics).
On the day before OnlineEduca, I participated in the ICOPER event on Competencies as the Currency for Learning, which aims at bootstrapping a standardization effort on competencies. More about that in the blog entry on the MATURE blog.
This week I had the opportunity to attend the 3rd European Conference on Technology Enhanced Learning at Maastricht in the Netherlands. It was a good networking opportunity for the TEL community, which some dubbed as a “big family” (with all the different aspects of a family). About 130 participants included mostly players from the European projects in the TEL area.
There were some interesting key notes:
- Kia Höök inspired the participants to consider the body and the affective dimension of human behavior in their research and development. I think that there is a huge potential, particularly if we want truly holistic and motivating/engaging learning experiences, although it is not easy to see how to transfer her research results, e.g., to workplace learning support. One step in that direction could be the upcoming Call 3 STREP xDELIA where my colleague Clemens van Dinther is involved in and which will deal with emotions.
- Manu Kapur reported on his experiments on “productive failure”, which showed that students who fail in groups confronted with ill-structured problems outperform those who are successful in groups with well-structured problems even in well-structured problem domains. This implies that short-term failure may not be a reliable indicator for longer term learning success.
ECTEL08 has given itself the mission “Time of convergence”, aiming at bridging different learning contexts. The discussions at the conference showed that convergence it still at its beginning. This manifested in the recurring debates about the role of informal learning and whether the TEL community should target that more (as APOSDLE and MATURE have started):
- There was an increasing number of presentations and discussion contributions (e.g, from Graham Attwell as part of the MATURE PLE conceptualizations), including the keynote by Roy Pea who emphasized the role of informal learning compared to formal learning (e.g., only 5% of a student’s learning is within formal contexts).
- On the other side, Pierre Dillenbourg doubted that this turn towards the “informal” is helpful for the TEL community (he still acknowledges the importance of informal learning) and suspects that this emerging shift of attention is because of frustration about not being able to change the formal system.
- Rob Koper emphasized in the closing panel that if we want to have informal learning support, we should first work on the acknowledgment and valuing of informal activities in career development.
The EC (represented by Pat Manson, Marco Marsella, and Martin Májek) explained that investments into TEL have so far not entered practice in a sufficient way. Stefanie Lindstaedt pointed out that industry could be faster to introduce workplace learning tools, but for that we need to provide evidence about the impact, and this can only be achieved if we do not focus on short term effects, but also on longer term effects.
Also for MATURE, this was a good event. On the first day, MATURE presented the first results of the five months of the project and organized a workshop on Learning in Enterprise 2.0. This was a very good opportunity to bring together the different strands of development (ethnography, concept development, and technical integration of existing tools within design studies) in an open atmosphere and to receive feedback from the community. Additionally, Graham Attwell presented the rolling out of a first simple PLE based on Freefolio in the UK, which is closely linked to MATURE activities.
Next week, I will attend the ECTEL 2008 conference at Maastricht. Together with several others I am organizing the LEB 2008 workshop (Learning in Enterprise 2.0 and Beyond), which aims at exploring the implications of web 2.0 and e-learning 2.0 to learning in enterprises. This will also be a good opportunity to see the results of the first five months of the MATURE IP and to get into discussion with us:
- Informal learner styles: Individuation, interaction, in-form-ation (Ronald Maier, Stefan Thalmann)
This contributions presents an informal learning typology based on the first ethnographic study.
- Concept of a Tool Wrapper Infrastructure for Supporting Services in a PLE (Tobias Nelkner, Wolfgang Reinhardt, Graham Attwell)
The authors present further steps towards the notion of a personal learning environment in enterprises.
- Ontologies, Dialogue and Knowledge Maturing: Towards a Mashup and Design Study (Andrew Ravenscroft, Simone Braun, John Cook, Andreas Schmidt, Jenny Bimrose, Alan Brown, Claire Bradley)
This contribution introduces a design study of combining the SOBOLEO tool for supporting ontology maturing and the Interloc tool for argument games.