H818 Cloudworks discussion points

I’ve already had 7 discussion points and comments made on my project in Cloudworks, so thought it might be helpful to provide some feedback on these to date (19th January). http://cloudworks.ac.uk/cloud/view/9518/

1. (Wendy) I chose to design a customised web platform to allow for maximum adaptability and flexibility to suit the needs of an evolving platform as my research developed. I do use Moodle for our organisation’s formal learning system and find it an excellent formal learning platform for an organisation to deliver course content and manage user actions. Limitations are that it is not as flexible or adaptable as a customised platform, however, it does have a solid foundation and this is its strength. I wanted a new platform which can readily build on the innovations of others, to create a new innovation – in essence a continuous innovation improvement cycle.

The work of Song & Lee (2014) helped to focus on deciding on platform requirements for my project.

2. (Nicki) This will be an open, free platform as it is demonstrating how Web 2.0 tools can be integrated to create a collaborative learning environment which encourages users to determine what they want to learn and how they go about the learning process. The aim of the demonstrable site is for others to reflect on what might be useful for their own purpose and design their own platform accordingly. I definitely think that this type of approach is ideally suited to work placed learners, especially apprentices as they are usually very social media savvy and through trainer facilitation would be able to collaborate as a group to build their own community (or maybe a cohort) of practice.

3. (John) There are two approaches here: either a tutor facilitated platform, or sub-platform, and an informal approach with no tutor involvement. This could therefore be a formal or informal approach. At the moment I’m just looking at an informal approach, but in practice and especially if something like a formal apprentice standard was being aimed for within part of the platform then tutor facilitation would be needed, probably making it a hybrid formal – informal approach.

My platform differs from H818 in that learners act as the driving force for identifying and creating content which is considered (by them) as suitable in meeting the learning outcomes. It is informal in that they can pick and choose which features they wish to engage with and learn about. It is relying on more of a community of practice to help improve the understanding and skills of people interested in the subject matter. For this platform, I have used a new Apprenticeship Standard as an example, but it could be anything really. To add value I do think tutor facilitation would be beneficial, but this would be a further development.

I’m following your project as it certainly links in with mine. How I would build in features which appropriately rates and then groups good feedback is another matter but would be a useful addition for future developments.

The OU platform is ‘immersive’ in that there is plenty of user engagement, excellent content and good tutor interaction as well. Other features could no doubt make it more ‘immersive’, but it is generally fit-for-purpose at the moment. One feature could be where course members post forum comments they might have an option of choosing whether to duplicate their comments on an open view of the course which would retain a historical thread of course comments and activities.

I certainly think that the Web 2.0 tools being integrated into my platform allow for an immersive situation, but content and networking would be significant factors in creating a truly immersive platform which encapsulates collective intelligence, as defined by Dron & Anderson (2014).

4. (Anita) The assessment in the new apprentice standards will be carried out by a third party who does not have a relationship with the employer, learner or training provider. This makes it a lot more objective and impartial than with the current apprenticeship framework, which has contributed to the low quality perception of apprenticeships by employers, learners and society in general (Sellgren, 2103).

Once the assessment plan for the named apprentice standard has been published then this platform would incorporate the necessary information and requirements. However, this platform can only ever be unofficial interpretation as the assessments are carried out by Independent Assessment Organisations (e.g. Awarding Organisations).

The purpose of the platform being open is to encourage sharing and collaboration, aiming to improve knowledge and skills as people see fit. I don’t think there are really any trade secrets (having started in the industry in 1981) although insiders try and kid people into thinking they are some sixth sense when it comes to creating excellent turf surfaces – it’s all down to good knowledge, skills and understanding and applying them correctly, basically like any vocation. I do feel there has sometimes been a reluctance to share practices and knowledge primarily because the benefits of constructive openness have rarely been well-communicated by the industry over the years, although times are changing for the better which is really good to see

5. (Elaine) Both methods of communication are available; most is asynchronous, although I have provided a link to VideoLink.me for real time communication, plus social media icon links (popping up in new window) to Twitter and Facebook where synchronous communication could also take. I am also planning to embed a chat system into the platform as well to add further variety. I expect most communication would be asynchronous though through the posting of comments, links, wiki content and forum messages. The aim is to provide a suitable easily accessible blend of tools.

6. (Carol) Thanks for the positive feedback on my Padlet poster. In the first instance the platform is demonstrating how collaboration can be used to identify and explain what might be useful in achieving specified requirements (in this case the apprenticeship standards). Anyone can engage with this to find out more and improve one’s professional development (CPD) (more informal learning here) or to aid in working towards a qualification (formal learning).

Yes, it could scale up to be similar to a MOOC, but with more collaborative tools integrated into the platform.

The platform could be adapted as an additionality to an organisation’s or training provider’s more  formal learning system which would typically host learning material, lesson plans etc. as part of a more traditional pedagogic approach. My approach can be seen to complement (some may even say challenge or threaten) the traditional way.

I see my approach as being a way of attracting young people into having a better understanding of what is involved within the industry, acting as a low threshold to engagement for reluctant learners and also to engage existing learners into learning and especially lifelong learning.

The concept can readily evolve to incorporate more formal learning as well, with prepared learning material and programme guidance. However, for the time being the aim  is for an informal learning platform that provides some defined end point requirements: a learner would decide how much of it they want to engage with and how they are to determine their own learning journey and what they will read and learn in achieving their aim.

7. (Sarah) Thanks and this platform could be of interest to anyone in the land-based industries, in the first instance, with potential for much wider developments.


Sellgren, K. (2103) ‘Apprenticeships ‘low quality and too short’, BBC News, 17 October 2013,  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-24553569

Dron, J. and Anderson, T. (2014). ‘Agoraphobia and the modern learner’, Journal of Interactive Media in Education, http://jime.open.ac.uk/articles/10.5334/2014-03/ (last accessed 19 January 2016)

Song, D. & Lee, J. (2014) ‘Has Web 2.0 revitalized informal learning? The relationship between Web 2.0 and informal learning’, Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 30, 6, http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jcal.12056 (last accessed 5 January 2016)

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