WP3: Definition of a Communication Layer between informal, non-formal and formal environments


This work package will establish the technological framework for the collection of instances of informal learning. It will consist of the definition of a communication layer that will allow the user to identify and collect instances of informal learning, and tag them with references to a competence catalogue. These tasks are going to be performed in the users personal learning network (PLN), that is to say, the set of informal and formal tools, resources and contacts that learners use to learn. This will also facilitate their management and publication using the portfolio component that will be defined in WP4. Taking in to account that this project is a proof of concept, and to make the task manageable in scope we are going to consider three possible streams of activity. One of these will be a limited number (3) of personal and social networking tools such as Facebook, Twitter etc. Another will be a remote lab, which serves as an example of an institutionally defined tool in the use of which informal learning can take place, and the last will be a game, also a context in which informal learning takes place. These are the current choices but the final choice will depend on the circumstances of the project and the results of the exploration in the previous WP.

This communication element will be known as the ILC (Informal Learning Collector). The ILC will be the link between the learner’s informal learning and the portfolio component. Apache Wookie (incubating) will be used for this and this task will be performed by UB due to the fact they are the creators of this technology. To this end, for each kind of element that will connect to the ILC, a widget will be developed for the representation of that element. I.E: a widget that links to remote labs, another for the integration of a serious-game, and so on. The activity performed in those widgets will be tagged using the general competence catalogue, to which competences and other tags defined by the user can be added. In order to develop this communication we are going to define interfaces between the competence catalogue and the ILC.

To develop more portable solutions and provide the user with access to the ILC from different devices, including mobile ones, a mobile client will be developed. This client will allow the user to access and tag their activity and publish this information.

Deliverable 8. Informal Learning Collector

The Informal learning collector, also known as ILC, is a fundamental element for collecting instances of informal learning and establishing a connection the storage stage (portfolio) and informal contexts. The ILC will be able to collect all the activities that the users perform in their PLN and allow them to be tagged. The user will do the tagging using tags defined in the competences catalogue defined in WP5 and other self-defined personal tags. Later the user will be able to decide (using the portfolio system defined in the next WP) which of those activities and skills will be visible to her tutor/employer. The ILC will be the gatherer that enables the user to identify instances of informal learning into her portfolio and also demonstrate them to the institution for performance evaluation/promotion or other objectives.
The ILC will be implemented by using a Wookie server and a set of Wookie widgets that represent informal tools that are present in the learner PLN.

Deliverable 9. Communication interfaces

The communications interfaces will facilitate communication between the different elements of the system: portfolio, the competence catalogue and the informal learning collector and between the tools from which ILC collects information. The key work here is the definition of the information that is going to be exchanged and how that information needs to be encapsulated in order to exchange it with other systems. The interfaces will provide transparent communication channels in such a way that the portfolio system, the ILC, the informal tools (represented as Wookie widgets) and the institutional systems do not need to know how the others are implemented or how they obtain or manage the information. These interfaces also must also consider existing standards and technologies because their use will improve the openness of the systems.
These interfaces will be developed after the other elements such as the ILC, portfolio model and the competence catalogue.

Deliverable 10. Mobile client

To define more portable solutions in this deliverable a mobile client will be developed. This client allows the user access to some of the informal activities, adapting them to mobile devices characteristics. It is envisaged that an adaptation to a game, a remote lab and social tools will be developed though this may change due to project circumstances and the choice will be made finally after WP2. Also the ILC tagging system will be developed. In order to guarantee mobile portability we are going to define a solution based on HTML5 technology because it will be accessible independently of mobile platform and the mobile device that is used.
Not all functionality of the system is going to be adapted because the nature of this project is to define a proof of concept and as a proof the mobile client will show how portability will be guaranteed.