The Pattern Language Network

Taming web2.0 in Higher Education

Posts Tagged ‘Christian Kohls’

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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Christian Kohls mines for patterns in London (Oct. 28th, 5pm)

Posted by yishaym on October 23, 2008

(cross-posted from designforlearning)
A bit of a short notice, I know. But if you happen to be in town, come to Christian Kohl’s talk at the Knowledge lab:

Getting to sound educational settings, successful teaching methods and beneficial instructional tools and materials is a challenging design task. To not reinvent the wheel and learn by good practices that have proven in the past, patterns are a promising approach to capture the knowledge of experts. Design patterns describe the essential elements of solutions for recurrent problems and reason about context, applicability, benefits and liabilities. In this presentation, patterns of interactive information graphics will be demonstrated to show how various visual interaction forms can help or fail to serve in an instructional context. Based on these and other pedagogical patterns some fundamental concepts of patterns will be illustrated.

Starting with an elaboration of common practices of the pattern community to find, write and reflect about patterns, a model of pattern acquisition will be developed. This model is based on schema theory and leads to a discussion about the reliability and usability of patterns. The striking question is whether the documented patterns, the patterns in our mind and the patterns in the world are the same.

About the speaker
Christian Kohls is a Member of the research unit “Design and Implementation of Integrative Learning Environments”. He has been working at the Knowledge Media Research Center since 2005. His job is the technical development of the German information and qualification portal e-teaching.org. He is also responsible for editoring the content section “media technology” and gives frequently online trainings in e-learning software. After his studies of media and computer science he worked in the e-learning team of the University of Applied Sciences Wedel/Hamburg. He worked as consultant at pharus53 software solutions and implemented multilingual wbt solutions and software tutorials. He is inventor and development coordinator of moowinx, an end user tool to create interactive graphics.

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e-learning patterns: workshop at KMRC, Tuebingen, March 4-6

Posted by yishaym on September 14, 2008

Once you start its hard to stop, but really I should. After all, this is the Planet project site – not the pattern herald. Still, this workshop is organized by Christian, so it has to be worth the trip. Plus, you can catch a gig at Tuebingen’s epplehaus.

Design patterns capture proven solutions for recurrent problems. The goal is to externalize the implicit knowledge of an expert, using a highly structured description format for documentation. Patterns have been around for decades, they are a success story in the field of software design, and recently have become very popular to describe recurrent teaching scenarios, instructional methods and tools.

This workshop aims to 

Capture and document the state-of-the art – Establish quality standards – Dissemination – Ties to related fields – Co-operation

For more information about the workshop, please contact Christian Kohls.
Mail: c.kohls(at)iwm-kmrc.de

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Validity, Resonance and Aggregation

Posted by yishaym on August 21, 2008

I’ve been chatting with Christian Kohls of Knowledge Media Research Center about pattern languages, workshops, community engagement, and the big picture. The discussion brought up some issues which where floating around EuroPLoP, and resonated with recent discussions on the Liberating Voices mailing list (pss – the book is out).

I see three major challenges pattern language communities to address:

Validity

What’s the scientific process of showing that a pattern does what it claims? Is it science, or is it art? What kind of evidence does a pattern need? How can we get the scientific community to accept patterns as a valid tool of knowledge production?

Even looking at Christopher Alexander’s patterns, the question arises. Alexander has a “confidence” measure, but what is it based on?

Resonance

In the Learning Patterns project, we noted:

Paradoxically, often as more expert knowledge is embedded in a pattern language it becomes less accessible to novices. The Learning Patterns project has tried to address this issue by a small set of Trails which accompany our pattern language.

But perhaps the problem goes deeper. Again and again, at every workshop we run, we see how hard it is for people to “get into the pattern groove”. Primarily, patterns are about abstraction without loosing context – and I think that is precisely what most people find hard. No wonder patterns have caught on so well in software engineering communities. After all, abstraction in context is what software engineers are trained to do.

So how do we break out of the cosy cult of patternisers, and make the knowledge we accumulated accessible to the wider public?

Aggregation

Once there was one pattern language for architecture (Alexander’s). Then there was one for software (GoF). Now there’s hundreds. Spread all over the place. Patterns are supposed to capture the essence of a recuring problem and its tried and tested method of solution. But they are supposed to capture it ONCE. In a way that can be referenced, linked, composed into larger structures or decomposed into sub-elements. What we’re seeing now is a fragmentation which defies the core purpose of the project.

How do we avoid reinventing wheels? How do we make sure that we build on each others’ work as much as possible, and aggregate design knowledge systematically?

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Thanks, Christian!

Posted by yishaym on April 3, 2008

Christian Kohls from IMW/KMRC has contributed two brilliant sets to our slideshare group. Christian gives a good introduction to “what is a design pattern” and addresses deep issues of “where do patterns come from”. This looks like the beginning of wonderful conversation…

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