The Pattern Language Network

Taming web2.0 in Higher Education

The Story of the Planet Platform

Posted by yishaym on March 31, 2009

True to the dogfood principle, we now have a case study on the development of the Planet platform. An amazing tale on international mystery and intrigue. Well, maybe not – but if you’re working in a UK HE institure and thinking of launching an ambitious web2.0 project, you might find our experience informative.

Or, if you have been involved in a similar project, we would be curious to know: does this resonate with your experiece?

Its all there (in brief): the original plan, what went smoothly, what went wrong, and where we are at the end of the day. Enjoy!

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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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Next Generation Technologies in Practice 09 – Loughborough

Posted by Janet Finlay on March 11, 2009

Several of the team have just spent two days in Loughborough at the Next Generation Technologies in Practice JISC conference – excellent event with much food for thought on sharing practice and communities of relevance to Planet. This morning Jim, John and I, together with Wendy Luker, Director of the Persona project, led a session entitled Social Technologies for Sharing Practice, where we looked at Planet and Persona, together with Streamline, and the ways in which they had made use of social technologies to support sharing. It was a pretty full session and seemed to be well received (I particularly liked this tweet, in response to me saying the twitter stream was quiet during the session: “it’s too interesting to tweet :)”!)

For those who missed it our slides are on authorstream (slideshare not playing ball at present for me):


Vodpod videos no longer available.


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Useful Sharing

Posted by Janet Finlay on March 4, 2009

Here is a presentation by Sally Fincher of the University of Kent on Useful Sharing which she gave recently at Glasgow. I think she captures very well many of the issues that arise with sharing practice effectively. (Skip through the section in the middle where they are doing the exercise – although it is in itself a very interesting exercise and one I have made use of in Planet workshops, having used it with Sally in the HCI Disciplinary Commons).

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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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Finding evidence

Posted by Janet Finlay on February 26, 2009

There are a couple of things that make patterns distinct from other forms of design guidance. One is that they are routed in practice – they are not simply “good ideas” or theories (not that there is anything wrong with those) but they are drawn from real examples of things that have worked to solve problems in specific contexts. Another is that they cannot just be based on a single example – a pattern can only really be called a pattern if it can be demonstrated to have worked in at least three distinct cases. We call this the rule of three. We recently reviewed all the “patterns” that have arisen from our workshops and most fall into the “candidate pattern” category – we think they might be patterns, we have one – occasionally two examples of the pattern – but we don’t yet have sufficient evidence to be confident that this really is a pattern.

So we are looking for evidence in the stories of successful practice that we all have as educators. Our Elluminate story telling session on Tuesday with the EXTEND project brought up several examples which – at least on the surface – seem to be evidence of one or other of our candidate patterns. We plan to hold more open story telling sessions over the next couple of weeks. Prior to that we will be publishing summaries of our existing candidate patterns so that people can easily review them and let us know if they have had any experiences relevant to any of them.

Pattern elicitation is an ongoing community process – and we expect the Planet patterns to be evolving and developing long after the of the project through other initiatives that are already in progress. But we’d like to make the most of the wealth of experience in Emerge to gather evidence! Watch this space.

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The Planet Video

Posted by Janet Finlay on February 25, 2009

We have produced a short video which provides an overview of the project and our methodology. Many thanks to the EXTEND project for their assistance in developing this and to Jakki Sheridan-Ross for her production. Enjoy!

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about "The Planet Video", posted with vodpod

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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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