In session 3 we continued with the process of developing the search function and the list view on the website, which eventually lead to the development of a wire frame. This involved thinking about the different types of resources we might upload or would like to find in the repository and how we would describe them – the learning resource meta data.
Defining the specifics of a learning resource, for example what kind of task or activity it is ( ice breaker, energiser), ensures that a search in a large pool of resources comes up with resources which are relevant. It also means that that they can be stored accessibly when a person uploads a resource to the repository to share. The use of Leaning Resource Meta Data in searches is relatively new. Google custom search is an example of this technology currently being piloted.
In order for the group to think about how we want our tool to work and what the different possibilities are with regards to how search results are listed, we looked at two OER repositories: ‘OER Commons’ and ‘Curriki’ and carried out some searches as a way of reviewing how they worked and what we liked and didn’t like about them. Mick asked us to answer 4 questions:
1. How easy is it to browse?
2. How easy is it to search?
3. Has it got guidance for users?
4. Is it adaptable for my own uses?
By looking at these two repositories and discussing what did and didn’t work enabled us to to think about the kind of language we would use as a learning community to describe the resources for our tool, how they should be categorised and what kind of information should be on the list view to inform users about the content of the resource.
This process also encouraged us to think about how as trainers we put together a course or a session, the tasks and activities we include and why. This discussion allowed us to share our approaches to devising sessions and workshops with each other.
Some interesting points that emerged from the discussion focused on categorising resources by age and level. Although the group thought it would be useful to know what kind of level the activity or the task was aimed at – beginner, intermediate or advanced, we thought categorising resources by age was too restrictive. As Sara pointed out: “whose to say a game for 5 year olds can’t also work for 50 year olds?” This point reinforced the importance of using energising, active and fun sessions. They are important to the learning process for all kinds of reasons: helping participants to relax and enjoy themselves but also pushing boundaries and encourage participants to think in different ways.
We also had a discussion about the different audiences that would be using the repository and whether they would be looking for the same or different resources when using the tool. Some thought that teachers and learners would look for and use different resources and that different categories and language would be needed. However there were also some ideas that challenged this. One of the purposes of OER is that they can be adapted, developed and changed to suit the needs of trainers and learners. Learners can therefore rate and adapt the resources their teachers/trainers use. This challenges the traditional teacher-student relationship and encourages students to take greater individual responsibility for their learning and development. If the traditional hierarchy between student and teacher/trainer is broken down will they be using the same resources? Also, are their times when a learner might also be a trainer?
After all that talking, it was time for lunch. We all agreed that food is a critical to the success of any training session! As is an energiser at the beginning of the afternoon session particularly when you’ve eaten three curries and rice!
Luckily, it was a windy day and Mick had planned for us to go outside to develop a wire frame so there was plenty of opportunity to wake up
Co-design Session 3 at CAN saw us take the the streets again…
There is a limit to how excited you can get working with flip charts and post-it notes. We wanted to break that barrier once again.
This time our material was coloured chalk. Now if we can only find a wall…..
Ice breakers and games
We used a great ice breaker today called ‘adverb exit’, which really made us laugh and helped to set up a positive and fun working environment at the beginning of the day. This involved participants thinking of an adverb such as ‘quickly’ and then acting it out by leaving the room in that way. In our discussion at the end of the session, Maboobeh reflected on the use of games in the last Do I.T course:
“Those games completely changed the atmosphere. If people are quiet or a bit shy… you get the courage and the energy…and then you’re like, ok we can start…”
Phil also remarked that having some time at the beginning of this weeks session to talk a little about what had been going on in our lives and to get to know one another helped to create a relaxed environment.
“Its important for remembering that people are people”
The group also agreed that creating a visual representation or a wire frame was essential for really understanding the project. For Phil who had not attended the first two sessions, this helped him to ‘catch up’ and understand the scope and the remit of the project, whilst for Maboobeh, for whom English is not her first language, it was important because she was not always clear on the terms that were being used.
Participation, Ownership and Sustainability
Phil was able to to offer some useful insights from a previous a co-design process he had participated in involving a housing group and the design of a community blog. This gave us the opportunity to reflect on the challenges of participation, ownership and sustainability more broadly. He reflected that time had been a key factor in this project because not everyone was able to attend all of the time. However all the participants had their own agendas and were eager to ensure that their interests were met: “It was tricky to incorporate everyone’s ideas”. Ensuring that people had “ownership but not control” was also key to participation but it was also important to ensure that there was a core group of people from the community who would take responsibility for the project and continue to push it forward.
“Once the key person steps back it’s really hard… You need to give them the platform and then cross your fingers and hope there’s a driving force…the need is the driving force…”
Discussing the different activities and tasks that we incorporate into our training sessions was a useful way of sharing ideas on how we plan sessions and how we gather resources to support our training. It enabled group members to ask questions about their own approach and to think about ways they might want to alter or develop it. For some, it was also their first introduction to OER repositories.
” I never knew that OER existed. I would definitely use them in the future – it’s a big help”
Overall the diversity of approaches used in the session and the chance to go out of the office environment and on to the street were really valued by the group and encouraged participants to use these approaches themselves:
“Going out into the street was good. I will definitely incorporate thinking outside the box a little bit”
Discussion of how we learn: