Technology Enhanced Situated Learning and Virtual Skills Rehearsal in Workforce Development

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Presentation at EDEN, Dublin (June 2011). Authors: Keith Quinn, Stephen Farrier, Dr Alan Bruce

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  • This presentation relates the strategic approach of the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) to professional learning, undertaken as a case study experiment within the CREANOVA (LLLP/EACEA Transversal) Research project. It illustrates a range of initiatives that have enabled employers, learners and providers to develop innovative coherent approaches to professional learning and development.The Scottish Social Services Council is the regulatory body for social services in Scotland. Supporting a workforce of 198,000 social service personnel, SSSC has a broad remit, everything from care of older people to early development childcare. SSSC supports the delivery of consistently high quality training and education for high staff numbers, geographically dispersed throughout Scotland. SSSC has developed and is developing a range of technology enhanced learning solutions to address the challenges faced. SSSC have also identified the use of virtual world/game technologies as a potential way in which the particular challenges of practice assessment can at least be partially met.The aim of the Creanova experiment was to examine innovative ways of meeting the needs of professional learners across the care sector working with children and adults (mixed economy) in childhood practice and social work through a series of innovative transferable modalities that can be designed to meet different needs of different professional learners across the Scottish care sector. The reason being that the SSSC has embarked on a radical strategy to develop their professional (intellectual) resource, and are firmly committed to developing their staff working in diverse cultural areas and extended community practice fields.
  • This presentation relates the strategic approach of the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) to professional learning, undertaken as a case study experiment within the CREANOVA (LLLP/EACEA Transversal) Research project. It illustrates a range of initiatives that have enabled employers, learners and providers to develop innovative coherent approaches to professional learning and development.The Scottish Social Services Council is the regulatory body for social services in Scotland. Supporting a workforce of 198,000 social service personnel, SSSC has a broad remit, everything from care of older people to early development childcare. SSSC supports the delivery of consistently high quality training and education for high staff numbers, geographically dispersed throughout Scotland. SSSC has developed and is developing a range of technology enhanced learning solutions to address the challenges faced. SSSC have also identified the use of virtual world/game technologies as a potential way in which the particular challenges of practice assessment can at least be partially met.The aim of the Creanova experiment was to examine innovative ways of meeting the needs of professional learners across the care sector working with children and adults (mixed economy) in childhood practice and social work through a series of innovative transferable modalities that can be designed to meet different needs of different professional learners across the Scottish care sector. The reason being that the SSSC has embarked on a radical strategy to develop their professional (intellectual) resource, and are firmly committed to developing their staff working in diverse cultural areas and extended community practice fields.
  • Gaming architecture creates rich environments for tacit knowledge sharing and creation of new knowledge. It builds capacity for sustainability through continuing professional and technological development. More precisely, as technology rapidly improves the potential of the learning environment, it is challenging to keep up with advanced technologies that facilitate this. This raises issues of changing attitudes to innovative learning environments, creative staff development and engaged management support. Advanced technology constantly creates rich potential for new and better-informed learning environments (often not fully utilised). SSSC aims to enable full use of educational gaming potential to address challenges in practice assessment. This centres on attractive online three-dimensional, multi-channel multi-user platforms for continuing educational development of professionals, which are legitimate, fully personalized and offer a wide range of knowledge services which are flexible, highly interactive, and reliable.
  • In times of economic instability training investment (at both political and corporate levels) is clearly being monitored and scrutinised for economic effectiveness and efficiencies. Therefore learning can be seen as speculative and difficult to measure unless related to the workplace. This will inevitably require reductions in people, development of new content or purchase or upgrade of learning systems.New knowledge architecture is the problem of knowledge sharing between involved parties. To encourage knowledge sharing, mutual benefit and attractiveness between stakeholders should be explicitly defined. Education and training professionals should clearly perceive the added value from exchanging professional and tacit knowledge. This sustainable form of knowledge sharing asks for shifts in attitude and trust among learning facilitators
  • This has been seen particularly in relation to employers’ abilities to reduce expenditure, improve providers’ abilities to reduce waste in relation learning materials and the learner’s ability to more clearly focus their effort. There are two themes resident within this professional as learner focused philosophy: learning to adapt, and learning to learn.
  • Financial: All resources produced to date were produced on small budgets. SSSC has been fortunate to be able to access modest amounts of money through the Sector Skills Councils to promote a sector learning strategy. It has worked hard to get the best return on this investment. However, these sources of funding are drying up as public sector funding is constrained. Therefore, it is unlikely to be able to maintain the current rate of development unless alternative funding streams are identified.Inertia/anxiety related to adopting new approaches: For many learners, “learning technology” equals “computers”. Given the dominant demographic of the SSSC workforce, this can be assumed to be a barrier to uptake. However, the 2006 SCIE report has gone some way to dispelling that myth. However, the vast majority of the target learning audience spends the majority of its time in the community in direct contact with service users, not at a desk working with a computer. This issue encouraged SSSC to develop approaches not reliant on the PC as a delivery platform, but using handheld mobile devices as an alternative (as is the case with the PSP/Second Sight pilot project). These devices were both portable and cost-effective. It is hoped to develop more of these resources for mobile deployment.With regard to learning and development personnel working in the sector, there are the additional fears that the use of learning technologies could be used as a rationale to reduce staff complements in training departmentsLack of familiarity with the technologies is a question and there is recognition of perceived and actual skills gaps for staff working with learning technologiesCan be perceived by management as a cost cutting measure in a difficult socio economic and politicised climate rather than encouraging learning efficacy and capacity building
  • Technology Enhanced Situated Learning and Virtual Skills Rehearsal in Workforce Development

    1. 1. Technology Enhanced SituatedLearning and Virtual Skills Rehearsalin Workforce DevelopmentKeith Quinn, Stephen Farrier and Dr Alan Bruce
    2. 2. Introduction As part of a European funded project titled CREANOVA, SSSC showcased advanced learning solutions as part of the project’s experimental phase. These creative learning solutions incorporated and integrated social policy plus bridging the digital divide and work force planning. The experiment was set within both geographical and demographic contexts of Scotland. Technology Enhanced Situated Learning and Virtual Skills Rehearsal in Workforce Development
    3. 3. CREANOVA Experiment: Scotland The Scottish CREANOVA experiment was based on learning solutions in the form of creative modalities and innovative learning design. The investigation was based in the workplace of social service employers in both Glasgow and Perth. The experiment involved transferable and adaptable creative learning modalities (solutions) that could cross professional and vocational/academic boundaries while addressing professional divisions related to childhood, community, family and older people. Technology Enhanced Situated Learning and Virtual Skills Rehearsal in Workforce Development
    4. 4. Context Workforce in excess of 198,000 Majority of employers small – medium sized Qualifications based workforce registration Decreasing available financial resources Dwindling pool of “relief” staff Increasing difficulties in releasing staff for learning Solutions … Technology Enhanced Situated Learning and Virtual Skills Rehearsal in Workforce Development
    5. 5. Technology Enhanced Situated Learning and Virtual Skills Rehearsal in Workforce Development
    6. 6. Technology Enhanced Situated Learning and Virtual Skills Rehearsal in Workforce Development
    7. 7. Technology Enhanced Situated Learning and Virtual Skills Rehearsal in Workforce Development
    8. 8. Using Mobile Devices to SupportWorkplace Learning:comparing the effectiveness of technologyenhanced situated learning withtraditional, classroom approaches to workforcedevelopment Technology Enhanced Situated Learning and Virtual Skills Rehearsal in Workforce Development
    9. 9. Retention of Learning Technology Enhanced Situated Learning and Virtual Skills Rehearsal in Workforce Development
    10. 10. The Effect of Practice on Retention of Learning Source: the University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada Technology Enhanced Situated Learning and Virtual Skills Rehearsal in Workforce Development
    11. 11. The ProjectConducting a demonstration project with employerto test the effectiveness of learning delivered onmobile devices, in the workplace.Research Questions How do learners perceive the effectiveness of the learning activity, in each group? Is there a perceived improvement in application of learning to practice where it has been delivered in the workplace? Does the technology used facilitate or obstruct learning? Do learners retain more of their learning using the TEL situated approach as opposed to the classroom – based approach? Do the use of elearning and a mobile delivery platform ameliorate the logistical difficulties of engaging employees in learning and development? Technology Enhanced Situated Learning and Virtual Skills Rehearsal in Workforce Development
    12. 12. What is “Second Sight”? Uses pre-defined icons to trigger audiovisual content Enhancing printed materials: adding rich content to provide complementary learning material Augmented Reality: displaying learning materials overlaid on the learners environment. Technology Enhanced Situated Learning and Virtual Skills Rehearsal in Workforce Development
    13. 13. The Glasgow City Pilot Technology Enhanced Situated Learning and Virtual Skills Rehearsal in Workforce Development
    14. 14. Findings: TEL approach at least as effective as training centre approach Learners (and their managers) reported increased ease of application of learning to practice Technology reported as beneficial/ supportive of learning: users very positive about their control of the pace of learning TEL approach marginally better in retention measure Use of mobile technology seen as having very positive impact on logistics of training Technology Enhanced Situated Learning and Virtual Skills Rehearsal in Workforce Development
    15. 15. Potential Applications… Technology Enhanced Situated Learning and Virtual Skills Rehearsal in Workforce Development
    16. 16. Potential Applications… Technology Enhanced Situated Learning and Virtual Skills Rehearsal in Workforce Development
    17. 17. Potential Applications… Technology Enhanced Situated Learning and Virtual Skills Rehearsal in Workforce Development
    18. 18. Next Steps: Educational gaming and professional learning Technology Enhanced Situated Learning and Virtual Skills Rehearsal in Workforce Development
    19. 19. Benefits: The use of extended virtual learner communities enabled a reshaping of pedagogical values, ideology and patterns of professional learning. Blending hybrid Andragogical and /or Pedagogical approaches increased access and flexibility for both learners and learning facilitators. Focused more clearly on the distance the learner has travelled. Technology Enhanced Situated Learning and Virtual Skills Rehearsal in Workforce Development
    20. 20. Challenges: Financial Inertia/anxiety related to adopting new approaches Access to technologies The use of learning technologies could be used as a rationale to reduce staff complements in training departments. Lack of familiarity with the technologies Can be perceived by management as a cost cutting measure Socio-economic myths and realities Technology Enhanced Situated Learning and Virtual Skills Rehearsal in Workforce Development
    21. 21. Contact Us ... Keith Quinn: Scottish Social Services Council (keith.quinn@sssc.uk.com) Stephen Farrier: The University of Edinburgh (stefarrier@gmail.com) Dr Alan Bruce: Universal Learning Systems (abruce@ulsystems.com)
    22. 22. Links: http://workforcesolutions.sssc.uk.com
    23. 23. Thank You

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