The Pattern Language Network

Taming web2.0 in Higher Education

Archive for the ‘events’ Category

everything you wanted to know about pattern methodologies but didn’t know who to ask

Posted by yishaym on March 23, 2009

Planet is hosting a symposium at CAL’09 tomorrow. If you’re in Brighton, drop in and join the discussion. Our plan is to break away from the usual talking heads format, and devote most of the time for conversation. We’ve set up a web-space for the symposium at:

http://purl.org/planet/Groups.CAL09/

Where you can find drafts of all the slideshows and a few position papers. We’ve also posted some questions for the panel discussion, and you can add some of yours – either as comments on that page or as tweets tagged #cal09ptns.

We’ve managed to bring together some of the top innovators in design pattern approaches to education and e-learning across Europe, so we look forward to be surprised and having our preconceptions challenged.

Now I should turn my attention back to the speaaker.

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Kolfschoten and Lukosch: Cognitive learning efficiency & design patterns

Posted by yishaym on March 13, 2009

(cross-posted from http://designedforlearning.wordpress.com)

The 1st full paper for our symposium at CAL is now available for download (pdf).

When it comes to design patterns, there seem to be two types of people: born-again evangelists who would sell their mum to convince you that patterns are the cure to all your ails, and normal, decent folk who just don’t understand what all the fuss is about. In a recent conversation with Helen Sharp, I drew an analogy to Aubergines (“No! Patterns are nothing like aubergines – aubergines are yuck!”).

Gwen and Stephan are perhaps the trailblazers of a third type: they decided to apply a bit of scientific scrutiny to the claims of pattern evangelists. Using the theory of cognitive load, they ran a serious of experiments, observing the effect of design patterns on novice and expert designers. Results? “… This leads us to the tentative conclusion that the use of design patterns does not only affect the efficiency of the design effort, it also constitutes learning efficiency of novices to gain design skills and it enhances the quality of their design.

Gwendolyn Kolfschoten and Stephan Lukosch: Cognitive learning efficiency through the use of design patterns

Teaching Processes and systems in organizations become increasingly complex and dynamic. This requires managers of expert teams to quickly gain knowledge and insight outside their prime area of expertise. To transfer expert knowledge and to reuse design solutions design patterns can be used as building blocks for the development of systems and processes. The use of design patterns can increase the efficiency of design & implementation of solutions and in some cases it can enable automated implementation of design. This allows the expert to re-use components to accommodate new requirements in a more flexible way. However, the advantage of design patterns might go beyond re-use, design efficiency and flexibility. This paper argues that in addition to the benefits described above, there is a specific added value for the use of design patterns by novices to acquire design skills and domain knowledge. We propose that design patterns, due to their conceptual design, offer information in a way that enables the creation of better linkages between knowledge elements and improve the accessibility of the information in the memory. For this hypothesis we will analyze the literature on cognitive load and cognitive learning processes, and add to this three case study experiences in which novices and experts were offered design patterns to develop and implement systems and processes.

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Our EXTEND/Planet discussion….

Posted by Janet Finlay on February 26, 2009

is now available as an Elluminate recording.  Thanks to Cristina and Frances for facilitating this.

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Join us for a mini-Planet workshop – online!

Posted by Janet Finlay on February 22, 2009

The EXTEND project is hosting a mini-Planet workshop on Tuesday lunchtime from 12.30 UK time – full details in Cristina’s post. All welcome – we will be sharing examples of successful practice and discussing the Planet methodology.

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three workshops and a symposium

Posted by yishaym on February 20, 2009

March is going to be very, very busy. Apart from the expected business of writing reports and cleaning up project outputs, we’re going to be running three workshops and leading a symposium at CAL.

The Digital Identities Workshop (March 2nd) asks –

We use the term ‘digital identity’ to refer to the online representation of an individual within a community, as adopted by that individual and projected by others. An individual may have multiple digital identities in multiple communities. What is the impact of new technologies on digital identities within education? How should we design technologies and practices to address the complexities of digital identity?

This is a Workshop III type event, which means it is focused on scenarios and builds on previous work. It is therefore, regretfully, an invitation only event. But if you have a special interest in attending, please contact Steven Warburton.

Fast on its heals, we have a meta-workshop at the E-Learning Patterns conference in Tuebingen (March 5th)

This is intended to be a sort of old bikers’ gathering. Taking the opportunity of having many experienced design pattern folk around, we’re going to rev up our (methodological) engines, and compare the tunes.

Then, back in London, there’s a workshop on Patterns for civic empowerment (March 17th)

This is a joint initiative with the Public Sphere Project, and PRADSA network, celebrating the release of the Liberating Voices book. There are still a few places left but you better be quick!

Finally, if you’re coming to CAL’09: Learning in Digital Worlds, (March 23-25th 2009, Brighton) please join us for –

a symposium on The challenges of the design pattern paradigm for the development of learning environments and experiences. We’re bringing our participatory approach with us, so you’re welcome to make a contribution before, during and after the event.

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Online discussion on Sharing Practice

Posted by Janet Finlay on February 16, 2009

For the next fortnight the Benefits Realisation project EXTEND is hosting an online discussion around the topics covered by Planet. In the first week we will be discussing how we share practice, in the second we will give people a taste of the Planet approach – albeit online! Please come along and join in at http://www.cabweb.net/portal/course/view.php?id=7 – it would be great to have as many different perspectives as possible – and you can see the first version of our new Planet video!

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Visual Design Languages, Affect, Pedagogical Patterns: Workshops at ICALT’09 (July 14-18, Riga)

Posted by yishaym on February 4, 2009

Michael Derntl has pointed my attention to two workshops he’s co-organising at IEEE ICALT 2009, (July 14-18, 2009, Riga, Latvia). Both are relevant to our work:

VIDLATEL — International Workshop on Visual Design Languages and Applications for Technology Enhanced Learning

http://elearn.pri.univie.ac.at/vidlatel/

Many human activities are supported by the use of visual representations, which enable us to manage the complexity of real work problems by facilitating the use of our (commonly very limited) cognitive capabilities. Architects, musicians, surgeons or engineers use visual artifacts in their daily practice to plan, design and carry out their endeavors. Visuals can support imagination, creative thinking, communication, discussion, and organization of the work to be performed. Similarly, the difficult process of creation and provision of learning environments could be supported by the use of appropriate visual artifacts.

The achievement of learning is pursued by the performance of activities using learning objects, resources and tools. The ever increasing number of existing Technology-Enhanced Learning (TEL) tools and applications (e.g., Moodle, dotLRN, RELOAD, LAMS) provide academic staff with lots of useful functionalities to design their TEL environments. Past research has focused mostly on the computational aspects of TEL environments. There are a number of specifications that allow computational representation of processes and contents (e.g., SCORM, IMS-LD, IMS-CP, IMS-QTI) intended to facilitate reuse and interoperability of solutions. Nevertheless, these specifications provide only limited help and hints about how such learning environments can be developed by the average user (i.e., the instructor, the teacher).

Despite the need for sound and user-friendly instructional design approaches to TEL, there is still a lack of cooperation and integration between the fields of TEL and instructional design. The workshop is intended to explore this integration through the use of visual design artifacts (languages, notation systems, tools, applications). These can support and enhance the quality of TEL systems, facilitate sharing ideas, collaboration, reuse, and learning from experience.

Workshop on Affect and Educational Design Patterns

http://weg.ee.usyd.edu.au/icalt09

In this workshop we aim to bring together research in educational design and affective computing. Recent progress in the two areas is opening up opportunities for synergy that could lead to radical improvements in learning experience design. We invite contributions from both the areas of Educational Design Patterns and Affective Science, and particularly those that explore (or show results of) the combination of the two.
On the one hand, educational design patterns describe reusable solutions to the design of learning tasks and environments. Essentially, a design pattern provides a generic, reusable solution to a recurring design problem or situation. The key is to describe the solution in a way that makes the solution reusable for similar problems. Today there are a significant number of design pattern initiatives and projects dealing with educational design patterns. Despite the general agreement that emotions have a significant impact on learning, they have not been considered in pedagogical designs, probably due to the difficulty posed in doing so up to this point.
On the other hand, affective computing, the design of systems that can recognize, interpret, and process human emotions, has made great progress of late and is now being integrated into current intelligent tutoring systems.
Recent advances in biomedical engineering, neuroscience and data mining have increased researchers ability to investigate this issue. We are at a point where significant accuracy in automatically recognizing emotional states is feasible through a number of approaches, even for collaborative situations. The identification of affective and mental states provides a magnifying glass for closer look into the processes involved in collaborative learning experiences.  We are finally in a position where the effect of emotional states on learning experiences, can be taken into account in order to improve the design of these experiences and the technologies that support them.
The envisaged outcomes of the workshop are:
•    Contributions on the state-of-the-art in affective computing related to educational technology, in particular technology enhanced collaborative learning.
•    Identification and discussion of ways of representing good practice in affective educational computing using the design pattern approach
•    Understanding the role and synergies of affective computing and design patterns in the development of advanced learning technologies.
•    Proposals of design patterns for affect-aware learning technologies.

If you’re going to EuroPLoP, you can probably continue straight to Riga.

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programme for the KMRC e-learning patterns workshop

Posted by yishaym on January 14, 2009

(cross posted from http://designedforlearning.wordpress.com)

Christian Kohls just sent me the programme for the e-Learning Patterns workshop in March, and it’s looking really good. Some of the names I spotted: Helen Sharp, Ulrike Cress, Davinia Hernándes-Leo, Till Schümmer, Frank Fischer, Andreas Harrer, Yannis Dimitriadis (random list).

I’m facilitating a workshop on “cases to patterns” and also giving a talk on “Patterns for building patterns communities”. Here’s the draft abstract for my talk:

workshop1The construct of design pattern is often summarised as “the core of a solution to a problem in context”. What, then, is the problem that design patterns solve, and in which contexts?
As design patterns break new grounds in educational research and practice, challenging questions arise: how do we engage new audiences in the pattern paradigm? How do we adapt the form and modes of use of patterns to make them useful in diverse realms of practice? Why do we have such a strong conviction in the value of design patterns?
The tradition of design patterns refers to concepts such as “timelessness” and “expertise”. These are problematic in a world of accelerating change. Yet another fundamental principle is accentuated; the need to establish robust design languages capable of capturing the complexity of problems in our environment and offering verifiable solutions. I argue that design-level discourse is imperative in many critical domains of human activity, and that patterns should play a central role in such discourse. Over the last few years, my colleagues and I have been developing a methodology for participatory workshops for practical design patterns. This methodology has emerged from the “Learning Patterns” project, and is being refined by the “Pattern Language Network” project.
In this talk, I will describe the methodology, its history and future plans, and provide some illustrative examples. I will also highlight some of the fundamental questions which is provokes.

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guest post from Martin Jones: sketches of a workshop

Posted by yishaym on January 13, 2009

Martin Jones and Maisie Platts joined us at the digital identities workshop last week. Martin and Maisie are illustrators, and they came to help us add a visual dimension to our stories – those we collect, as well as our observations from the workshop process. Martin has sent me some notes, and I’ve asked his permission to publish them here as a guest post:

Coffee was drunk standing up in groups in the foyer space, and online activities, texting etc took place sitting in the seminar room, where it was darker, and the rows of chairs made for a kind of anonimity

"Coffee was drunk standing up in groups in the foyer space, and online activities, texting etc took place sitting in the seminar room, where it was darker, and the rows of chairs made for a kind of anonimity"

My first observation, was that participants spontaneously occupied the two spaces available to them differently. Coffee was drunk standing up in groups in the foyer space, and online activities, texting etc took place sitting in the seminar room, where it was darker, and the rows of chairs made for a kind of anonymity. I think this observation was a result of a preconception of mine (screens as walls between real spaces) I didn’t manage to shake this preconception off all day, and it is reflected in a lot of the drawings.

As an artist, having groups of people who are cool with the idea of being drawn while they engage in a group activity was a great privilege. It picked up on a thread of work which I haven’t followed for quite some time – drawing crowds. I really enjoyed the challenge of working fast, and setting new challenges for myself along the way. i.e. sometimes drawing a scene that actually happened, sometimes drawing a scene that was being described, sometimes drawing a cartoon representation of the ideas being discussed.

sketches from the workshop.

sketches from the workshop.

The participants were very open to being drawn, and open to the idea that the process might be useful, even though I couldn’t come up with a short rational explanation of why it might be useful.

The fact that I joined in with the ‘draw three versions of yourself’ exercise meant that I thought of myself as part of the group I worked with first, although this was hard to sustain as my attention was divided with the drawing and moving to other groups.

3 faces game of identity game

"3 faces game of identity" game

I thought of myself as a ‘provoking’ presence, and also seized upon the work ‘lurker’ when it came up in one of the groups. I also drew Yishay and Steven as lurkers.

I think I came up with the idea of me being a provoking presence because I felt a slight frustration with the group for (as I saw it) resisting the idea of turning their contributions into anything that I would recognise as a story. They seemed much more interested in discussing the issues raised by the contributions in an open ended way. This I interpreted as evading the call to form a story because doing so would exclude all other ‘interesting’ avenues of discussion. I felt the call to form a story was the point of the workshop, not debating solutions. I didn’t express this directly, but attempted to ‘retell’ one of the contributions as a story such as one might see in a movie. This caused a slight pause among the participants, and they then returned to the discursive. No one picked this up by attempting to retell the story from their own imagination and experience, and I didn’t attempt this again (though I harboured the feeling that it would have been useful I had).

you cant be silent, theres no point in being there / why were they following me when I wasnt there

you can't be silent, there's no point in being there / why were they following me when I wasn't there? - Digital Identity Panic

I quite quickly started to imagine the workshop as an online community – potentially anyone could have walked in and joined in. People formed and reformed into little discussion groups. Everyone was very open with their opinions. I guess they were professional opinion-formers.

I was very taken with the idea of people only being partially or incompletely represented to each other online (it seemed as if there was a lot of desire to take control of this process, and a feeling of conflict that there was something wrong with the idea of controlling it – ie compromising what was good about the internet).

My drawings started to reflect this. I abandoned the idea that the drawing might represent the whole person, and concentrated only on single gestures, postures and groupings – along with representations of what was being said. I was conscious that sometimes my representations of what was being said was not necessarily true to the spirit of the speaker, but the slant of my listening. This added to my feeling of being a lurker.

The one exception to this was when one of the participants asked me to draw two situations their group had come up with to sum up the dilemma they were discussing (a pub and a sealed room). I felt very grateful to be asked to do something useful and achievable at this time of the day!

Lurking is important when engaging with new social platforms/services, especially when deciding what is a legitimate projection/use of identity. Space For Lurking

Martin Jones 12th Jan 09

Posted in about us, case studies, musings, notes from the field, workshops | 1 Comment »

Good advice from Balbir Barn

Posted by yishaym on December 15, 2008

In November Harvey Mellar I had a long chat with Balbir Barn. Balbir has done a lot of work with JISC on process modelling, and is well versed in the design patterns paradigm.

The first thing Balbir noted was that we should be clear about the nature of our patterns: these are pedagogical patterns, and are quite different from what he expected as a software developer. This gave rise to an interesting observation. “Our” patterns are the same creatures as Alexander’s or the gang of four’s. They all –

describes a problem which occurs over and over again in our environment, and then describes the core of the solution to that problem, in such a way that you can use this solution a million times over, without ever doing it the same way twice (Alexander et al, 1977, p.x)

The difference is that Alexander’s environment is the physical space around us, software developers’ environment is the internal workings and interfaces of the systems they build, and our environment is participatory, web-supported learning spaces. Hence the problems we solve are different, and consequently the patterns we identify. Yet they are strongly connected: pedagogical patterns provide invaluable capsules of knowledge for software developers, in that they highlight rich and crisply defined functional requirements. If I tell a software designer that, for a particular learning activity, I need to provide a narrative space with paper2.0 and video clips as objects to talk with, I’ve told her nothing about how to build the software (and indeed, its not my business to do that) but I gave her a pretty good idea of what I want it to do. Bottom line:

Pedagogical patterns serve as rich functional requirements for system design, and lead to a better choice of interface and software design patterns.

Next, we discussed what Balbir called the “meta-level description” of the patterns. This resonated strongly with the insights of Sally Fincher, Helen Sharp and other guests at our October meeting. Such a meta-model needs to provide two facilities:

  • Semantic mapping / definition of the key concepts we use.
  • Mapping of links and relationships between patterns, and between patterns and concepts.

For example, if we have patterns that refer to grading issued of skill-oriented learning in large classes of blended learning, then all these should be nodes in the map: “grading”, “skills”, “large class”, blended learning”. If the roles in such a context are learner, tutor, course leader, learning technologist, then these too should be defined and linked.

A meta-model / map does not need to take any specific form, but it should allow a representation of nodes of knowledge / concepts and links between them. This could be captured by a concept map, topic map, knowledge map, UML diagram, etc. Mind maps are problematic because they impose a strict hierarchy.

Mapping could be top-own or bottom-up. Working top-down would appear to be a more theoretically solid approach. However, it has two serious shortcomings:

  • The sparseness of our content might result in a coverage of the map that is too thin to be meaningful.
  • There may be many alternative and equally valid meta-models for describing the same domain. A top-down process will have a hard time differentiating them. A bottom-up process has one advantage – it is guaranteed to cover some significant concerns of some portion of the practitioner community.

To a large extent, this matches the approach we took at the learning patterns project, (see: Winters and Mor, 2008). There, we boot-strapped the pattern language by developing several typologies – structured glossaries of key concepts. These were continuously refined as we developed our cases and patterns. The patterns themselves were arranged in a tree-structure by their function and level of abstraction. Bottom line –

Provide two meta-level descriptions of the language: a semantic glossary of the lexicon and a functional map of the patterns IN THE LANGUAGE

Turning to the structure of the individual pattern, Balbir suggested that we encourege authors to clearly specify role and relationships in the solution descriptions. This should be a soft scaffolding, just like the recomendation to describe the problem as a tension between forces. It is likely to be a useful form for describing the solution, but we should not impose it.

Finally, we discussed the diagrams, or visual models to include in the patterns themselves. We all agreed that this was a fundamental element, yet at the same time we need to take care to avoid over-engineering. The diagrams need to provide enough freedom for the designer to apply her judgement and adapt the pattern to her specific context and specifications. In the case of the formative e-assessment group, Balbir recomended the use of sequence diagrams as a standard.

These recomendations where implemented in the next two workshops, but that’s for another post.

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