The Pattern Language Network

Taming web2.0 in Higher Education

Posts Tagged ‘design patterns’

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!

Advertisements

Posted in about us, announcements, case studies, code, notes from the field, reporting | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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.

Posted in conferences, pattern languages, related projects | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

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.

Posted in conferences, papers | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Clay Shirky: no, *you* shut up!

Posted by yishaym on February 14, 2009

(cross posted from designedforlearning)

(title nods at Clay’s 2006 talk)

Charlie Beckett hosted Clay Shirky at the LSE a couple of weeks ago, and the Podcast is now available for download – and well worth listening to.

I couldn’t make it to Clay’s talk, but luckily, due to the snow (remember the #uksnow?) some of his interviews were canceled and he generously found some time to have coffee with Niall Winters and me.

Not surprisingly, the conversation turned to design patterns. Clay reminded us of the work he did a few years ago on moderation patterns. Sadly, the original moderation patterns wiki is down. But yay for the waybackmachine, here’s an archived copy.

There’s more than 40 patterns there, dealing with issues of digital identity and managing social dynamics for collaboration / conversation platforms. You would think that at the rate of current technology development, most of these would be obsolete. At the time they where written, nobody had heard of opensocial or OpenId. Yet they are surprisingly relevant. The reason is, that they deal with the social aspects of technology, not with the code. And as fast as technology may change – human nature is reletively stable.

Example? login with email. Have you noticed how more and more sites let you use either a username or login? The rationale for this has nothing to do with technology. Asking us to remember a user name and password for more than seven sites, give or take one, is ignoring the structure of human memory. That may be changed by technology, but marginally.

Social dynamics are much more complex than we tend to realise, which is why most social software is autistic. Its not a fault of the programmers that facebook’s friends featrue looks like this. Anyone (well, any 20 year old male) who would be asked to model the concept of friendship would come up with something similar. What we need is a serious and prolonged attempt at capturing the design patterns for social / participatory media.

But the death of the moderation patterns wiki holds a warning. Sustaining such an effort is not easy. It required institutional, personal and collaborative commitment. That, in turn, relies on the ability to show a constant stream of valuable outputs. I don’t have an answer to that, but its definitely something we’re thinking of as the pattern language network project nears the end of its life.

As for the moderation patterns themeselves, we’re looking into the options for giving them a new home. By the way, my personal favorite is use email.

Posted in musings, related projects | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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.

Posted in conferences, papers, presentations, related projects | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

pattern browsers that make you go ahhh

Posted by yishaym on December 15, 2008

I’ve recently come across these beautiful pattern browsers from Interface Design Team of the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam.

Of course, my immediate reaction was “I want one like this”. Its not surprising that an interface design / information visualisation group can come up with a better interface than our humble table. But there’s more to this than aesthetics. These browsers are functional. They are designed to help you find the pattern you need, when you need it. This makes me think about our quest for organising structures. Our primary criterion for choosing a structure should be functional. After all, isn’t that what pattern are all about? Providing a solution to a problem in context? This suggests that there isn’t a single-size map. Each domain of practice will have its set of contexts and problems, and the organisation of patterns for that domain should be driven by them.
Another question that emerges from these examples is: do we need fixed structures at all? Google made its fortune on the claim that where search is powerful enough, you don’t need structure. These patterns browsers allow you to search by specifying your needs. Although they don’t display any fixed structure, you can find the patterns that fits your problem in 3 clicks.

Posted in musings, pattern languages, related projects | Tagged: , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

the new pattern template is here!

Posted by yishaym on November 19, 2008

Over the last few weeks, we’ve been busy with workshops all over the place: CETL ALiC in leeds, formative e-Assessment in London, Teaching and Learning Computer Science in Edinbrugh. Of these, the first two were planned as a Workshop II in the frame of our methodology. The London one pretty much followed the plan, while in Leeds, as Janet reported, was more of a “I.IV”. Perhaps we were more aggressive in London.

In Edinburgh (Heriot-Watt, to be percise) on the other hand, we managed to discuss case stories and derive two patterns in a single day. It might be down to having a longer workshop, or to the fact that computer scientists are more comfortable with the whole design pattern concept.

These workshops were a good oportunity to evaluate and refine our pattern template. In light of Janet’s suggested format, as well as the discussions we had here on Validity, Resonance and Aggregation, we now have a new and improved pattern template:

  • Includes slots for icon, illustration and diagram.
  • Added a confidence value (0-3) dropdown.
  • Details (authors, dates, etc) hidden and shown on request.
  • Added a support section

The last bit is perhaps the most significant change. The support section aims to scaffold pattern authors through establishing scientific validity. It includes four elements:

  • Source – the case story from which this pattern originated.
  • Triangulation – additional supporting case stories (remember the rule of three)
  • Rationale – theoretical backing
  • Verification – solutions implemented using this pattern

This still doesn’t reflect the pattern scheme in full glory, but “you might find, you get what you need”.

Posted in patterns | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

From stories to patterns, and back, and back again

Posted by yishaym on November 3, 2008

Let’s say you know how to write a case story, and we’ve convinced you that stories are not enough. But how do you get from a story to a pattern? Well, hopefully by March we’ll have something of an answer to that. In the meanwhile, here’s a tutorial that just might help:

Posted in case studies, presentations, workshops | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

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.

Posted in events, related projects | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Who would have thought?

Posted by yishaym on August 19, 2008

.. that the dog food principle has a doi number.

Posted in comic etude, musings | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »