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Lessons learned from the MyPlan project – supporting the lifelong learner Alex Poulovassilis LKL Workshop 13 th May 2009

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Presentation on theme: "Lessons learned from the MyPlan project – supporting the lifelong learner Alex Poulovassilis LKL Workshop 13 th May 2009"— Presentation transcript:

1 Lessons learned from the MyPlan project – supporting the lifelong learner Alex Poulovassilis LKL Workshop 13 th May 2009

2 The MyPlan project MyPlan developed and evaluated new techniques and tools to support personalised planning of lifelong learning It was funded by the JISC e-Learning Capital programme, 1/9/2006 – 30/11/2008 It built on and extending the earlier L4All project and software prototype, funded by the JISC Distributed e-Learning Pilots programme

3 MyPlan Project Partners and Advisors Birkbeck College Institute of Education Community College Hackney Linking London Lifelong Learning Network (L4N) Geoff Ramshaw (UCAS) Dr Graeme Atherton (AimHigher) Paul Welch (Prospects Services Ltd)

4 Motivation for the original L4All system Widening participation in HE Supporting lifelong learners in reflecting on their learning and in formulating their future goals and aspirations Importance of timely, relevant careers guidance and support Particularly at transition points from one stage of education to the next

5 Our approach Adopting a holistic view of learners work and learning Based on the notion of learners timelines – a a chronological record of their learning, work and personal episodes Timelines can be shared with others –identifying learning opportunities that may not otherwise have been considered –positioning successful individuals as role models to inspire confidence and a sense of opportunity

6 L4All Development Methodology User requirements elicitation, via interviews with HE and FE students, focus groups (educators, recruitment & careers specialists), workshop events, consultation with advisors Technical requirements elicitation: –reuse of existing standards and services where possible –extension with new capabilities as necessary Iterative co-design, development and evaluation (three iterations)

7 The Main L4All User Interface

8 Entering/Editing Episodes

9 L4All Evaluation Findings The primary finding of the evaluation sessions with groups of FE and HE learners was endorsement of the systems timeline concept. A recurrent theme in the feedback concerned the moment of crystallisation when learners realised that their educational and work experiences were inter-related and their learning/work aspirations achievable. This demonstrates the value of such a tool for helping learners to identify what they would like to do as a career and allowing them to visualise that process more precisely.

10 L4All Limitations Searching for courses and timelines was not personalised to the user performing the search The search was keyword-based, targeting various fields of the Profile and Timeline. In particular, searching over timelines returned matches based solely on the occurrence of keywords in one or more episodes of the timeline but did not exploit the overall structure of the timeline. Access to more detailed course information e.g. from the UCAS website, would be beneficial Integration of journal, live chat and other social software functionality would also be beneficial

11 MyPlan Project Motivation To develop and evaluate personalised functionalities for searching and recommendation of learning opportunities This would aim to enhance individual learners engagement in the lifelong learning process by offering personalised support in reflecting where their learning may take them. It would also aim to support building communities of learners with similar backgrounds and interests

12 (i) Searching for people like me The aim of this new facility is to help learners in identifying possibilities for their own educational and professional development by searching for other people according to a set of user-selected criteria and then exploring the timelines of these individuals to see their learning and professional trajectories

13 Searching for people like me

14 Displaying a returned timeline

15 Evaluation findings with mature learners on Birkbecks IT Apps. Programme Search for people like me was undertaken with a set of avatars and synthetic timelines Participants responses on this facility in the self- report forms filled in after undertaking that task were 58% Poor/Mostly Poor Participants could not immediately see the benefits of this facility However, during the subsequent group discussion it became apparent that participants could appreciate what this functionality could deliver if it were applied in a real context The post-evaluation question on the search for people like me functionality had only 8% of Poor/Mostly Poor

16 (ii) Searching for what to do next The aim of this new facility was to provide a more contextualised usage of timeline similarity matching. To explicitly identify possible future learning and professional possibilities for the user by indicating which episodes of the target timeline have no match within the users own timeline, and therefore potentially represent episodes that the user may be inspired to explore for their own future development.

17 Searching for what to do next

18 Displaying a returned timeline - highlight

19 Displaying a timeline - recommendation

20 Evaluation findings with FD learners at BBK Timelines used were those of actual current and past FdIT students Responses to the what next feature were very positive: it is very interesting to see the patterns that led people to certain jobs It is offering you ideas and offering you information, where to go, what to learn, what experiences helped, so taking from other peoples experiences I think also for some students they are not so confident about possibilities or their capabilities. I think its a very good thing to see other people, what they achieved I would love to see it live, to see lots of people and see that you can really match different things... so can see what they did after the same course... or maybe with similar backgrounds...

21 Evaluation findings with FD Counselling learners at CONEL Again, generally positive responses: The system gives you insight to what other people have done, and what is possible which I think is useful Understand the idea but dont know if the concept is workable. I would not be using others to help me plot my future. You can add your own personal events on the timeline. You can compare yours to others. I feel that the system is very useful in putting your information [to] others and also reflecting on what others are doing to help give you an idea of possible choices. A useful tool to help you see what your future could hold.

22 Possible ways forward Piloting the new features with whole Foundation Degree student cohorts and BBK and CONEL Further technical development to provide a production-quality system, which will scale to institutional/cross-institutional usage More research: –alternative representations of the timeline e.g. tabular –integrate the systems core functionalities within a social software platform (or several) in order to allow users to share more effectively their experiences with their peers –integrate with UCAS course search facility

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