Project Scope

The COVID pandemic has triggered drastic changes in the delivery of education and knowledge transfer at global scale. Two dramatic changes have been observed so far. Firstly, the education sector was transformed with the deployment of e-learning and blended learning approaches. Secondly, businesses shifted their work practices using remote work practices. Both phenomena have been widely observed and research in the literature for decades, while there are numerous case studies discussing how universities and organisations use technology to overcome barriers associated with the lack of face-to-face interaction. Therefore, once the pandemic arrived, there were several perspectives arguing that both Universities and Organisations should demonstrate a relatively high level of readiness for a seamless transition towards full deployment of e-learning and e-work. After more than six months of the new ways of studying and working, it is observed that there are significant problems with regards to the effectiveness of the adopted practices. The primary source of these problems is that the study and work cannot be supported by a blended mode, where some (even minimal) face-to-face contact is possible. In blended learning and working modes, the face-to-face contact serves as a support mechanism for (i) enhanced communication, (ii) effective collaboration and (iii) efficient coordination.

As a result of the pandemic Universities already report a number of issues associated with the transition to a fully online delivery including:

    • Significantly reduced engagement with synchronous sessions.
    • Increased miscommunication and confusion regarding learning tasks.
    • Inconsistent achievement between individuals depending on their ability to seek and find help.
    • Low progression rates due to inability to effectively use available resources.
    • Lack of motivation as learners find it difficult to self-regulate their study.

The impact for knowledge transfer projects is also evident in organisations, as remote work is also affected by the lack of face-to-face meetings. Some of the most common issues include:

    • Reduced success in knowledge transfer activities due to insufficient support such as mentoring and coaching.
    • Inconsistent performance affected by the ability individuals have to work together remotely.
    • Lack of clarity with regards to knowledge transferred, as key performance indicators are difficult to apply online.
    • Increased time waste, as teams find it more difficult to reach consensus with members demonstrating different levels of understanding.
    • Constraints with regards to available resources that can be accessed without the need of face-to-face contact.

The consortium proposes the creation of a Sharing my Learning (Platform-Network-Toolkit) to support the transition towards e-study and e-work. The focus of the project is on University study, while the project ideas will be also tested at a small-scale pilot for organisational knowledge transfer scenarios. The proposal is to introduce the Sharing-my-Learning (SmL) concept across the participating Universities. This will enable students to be learning providers but also learning requesters. This will be achieved through Provision of Learning (PoL) and Request for Learning (RfL) transactions with the system. Learners who have a sufficiently significant volume of learning to share can create a PoL record that can be accessed by other learners who need support in the same area, expressed in the form of a RfL.

The project will be delivered as a Platform-Network-Toolkit (PNT) combination. With regards to Platform, the University of Siegen will adapt its current outputs to provide a supporting medium for the provision of the training. Middlesex University will assist the match-making process with its MUSKET tools that use the XCRI-CAP information model to align course data, as used in the PAWER CBHE project. Middlesex University will also contribute in terms of the creation of the Toolkit using the SCATE e-learning platform as developed for the FORC CBHE project. Each learning unit will be in the form (i) content, (ii) presentation and (iii) video, following a consistent format. The learning units will be in the form of microlearning outputs. Neapolis University will support the creation of the learning content in collaboration with Oracle TES. Finally, a network of learning will be established involving all individuals producing or requesting learning units. Harokopio University will provide the necessary data analytics for the use of this network, supported by Middlesex University for the creation of the necessary learning analytics visualization dashboards.

Expected results

This platform will be developed by integrating existing educational tools from two Universities. The platform will provide the following functionality:

  • Allow registration to the platform.
  • Enable the submission of Request for Learning (RfL).
  • Enable the creation of Provision of Learning (PoL).
  • Support the matching of learning needs and learning resources.
  • Visualisation of the use of the platform.
  • Repository of learning content.
  • E-content development.
  • Membership to the online learning community.
  • Filtering of membership to academic and student profiles.
  • Maintenance of an acknowledgment system for contributions provided by each student.
  • Visualisation of learning provisions and requests.
  • Templates for learning content.
  • Evaluation framework.
  • Visualisation of content availability and popularity.
  • A complete list of the workshops for each subject with a short description of the workshop.
  • Give students the opportunity to become tutors of a workshop; the workshop is offered after confirmation by the faculty’s academic advisor.
  • Enables students to register and deregister.
  • Offers the possibility of communication between tutors and project leaders to deal with workshop-specific requests.
  • Store documentation and maintain the learning materials of each workshop.
  • A results section where teachers, tutors and students can follow the results of each workshop and use them as needed.
  • Provides the possibility for tutors and participants to evaluate each workshop.
  • Dissemination of project outputs.
  • Involvement of an extended network of institutions willing to use the SmL platform and toolkit.
  • Training of key stakeholders on the SmL toolkit.

Innovation aspects

The SmL (PNT) project will change the way education is delivered online. The consortium is really keen to shift the e-learning paradigm towards a truly student-centred, adaptive support with the creation of learning peer-to-peer network of students. This approach is innovative as uses the current situation as a driver towards introducing a novel way to offer learner support by utilizing knowledge and skills pools from student cohorts. The project fosters student responsibility, and accountability as it offers the means for individual students to be creators of learning content and providers of micro-learning units. The project builds on several projects and earlier endeavours of the participating institutions, as discussed next.

Middlesex University has vast experience of developing educational tools and resources. It hosts one of the most international student bodies in the world and delivers it programmes across different continents with its campuses in Dubai, Mauritius and Malta, as well as several collaborative partners and colleges. The project team has extensive experience in similar projects, and will use previous outputs in designing the solution for the proposed toolkit and platform. More specifically the team will use the tools used for the FORC and PAWER projects that allowed course data alignment and e-content development for the platform to be used for the creation of online content and matching learning needs with learning resources. The team will also use its innovative training practices from a number of capacity building and knowledge transfer programmes it is involved. Finally, the team will also establish synergies with the Skills Match strategic partnership project that aims at mapping individual skills to job opportunities.

The University of Siegen is involved in the FESTEM project together with Middlesex and will be using its innovative practices deployed in its FabLab, a diverse platform offering means of digital fabrication (3D printing (FDM, SLA, SLS), Laser cutting, CNC, Robotics, IoT, etc.) and rapid prototyping. It offers various teaching and production formats and is well-connected locally and internationally. It can be also understood as a living lab investigating community-based ICT-interventions, the regional impact of such on entrepreneurs, young academics, HEI and the public, as well as the appropriation of such technologies by a broad public.

Harokopio University is experienced in a range of EU projects and will try to replicate some of the networking practices from a range of projects that focus on vulnerable groups as in the case of the REC EU projects DIONE and Children First. It will also use its experience for the establishment of a network of experts and community of practice as involved in the H2020-ECSEL EU project ADACORSA. Furthermore, the team has experience with the CBHE-JP project INTEGRA focusing on the integration of immigrants through educational opportunities.

Neapolis University has extensive experience with EU projects including Horizon 2020, FP7,Erasmus +, EEA, AMIF and JPICH projects. NUP has developed strong links with the country’s business community and an extensive collaboration network with institutions and organizations worldwide. Furthermore, NUP has collaborated extensively with the local secondary schools of the Pafos district on various topics, through the department of developmental and educational psychology and the department of research, including the implementation of Erasmus KA2 projects. NUP has formed a strong link between the academic world and the society of Pafos and it aspires that this collaboration will only grow in the following years. This experience will prove invaluable for establishing internationalization aspects of the network of collaborating students who wish to share their learning with their peers.

Oracle TES has a track record of engagement with EU projects and in particular in the coordination of learning content development (FORC CBHE), educational tools for credit recognition and grade conversion (PAWER CBHE), as well as establishing Quality Assurance across University networks (EQAC CBHE). The organization has coordinated and led the development of more than 500 Higher Education courses at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels and is has a wealth of experience in online pedagogies and e-content development.