IT for Learning and Training in Industry

IT for Learning and Training in Industry

(working paper, draft thematic call Sept. '97)

1. Objective

Competitiveness of firms and organisations requires greater internal flexibility and responsiveness to markets on a global scale. New industrial and business structures, rapid technological development, changing and more complex work environments driven in part by the use of new technologies, increasingly evolving labour markets and employment practices, all imply the need for constant learning and relearning of individuals as of the enterprise. The ability to learn is essential to sustain innovation, creativity and economical robustness.

The objective of the thematic call is:

To identify and develop IT-based tools, processes and application environments that can improve the competitiveness of organisations through supporting and enhancing the leorning capability and effectiven`ess.

The thematic call is based on topics contained in the 1997 revision of the R&TD Information Technologies workplan. A characteristic of the thematic call, in common with other ESPRIT calls, is that proposers may address and are indeed encouraged to address several technologies simultaneously. The integration of several strands of technology, and in particular adopting a "total system" perspective to the work, is to be a key feature of the project work resulting from the thematic call. The thematic call, therefore encourages proposals which cut across the existing tasks and domains of the Programme and thus introduces an additional degree of freedom for broader cooperation between industrial partners having complimentary skills, approaches and technologies.

The thematic approach recognises and responds to the need for multidisciplinary approaches to complex system development and encourages innovative approaches.

Preference will be given to work that would have a broad economic and societal impact.

In general, R&D work should be well-focused, industrially relevant - which could include prenormative work -, innovative and relevant at a European level.

In support of R&D activities and their exploitation, the Esprit programme stimulates demonstration projects, validation and integration experiments and other technology dissemination and awareness activities, in combination with the R&D or in separate activities.

Proposals will be evaluated in one step.

2. Scope

The scope of this call is to demonstrate that IT technologies can be part of Supportinp organisational leorning at a number of levels. This call do not specifically target learning in schools colleges or universities, except in so far as collaborations between industry and academia can be used to demonstrate the general principles of organisational learning.

For the purposes of this call, learning is considered in three areas:

1. Individual learning

Focus will be on the improvement of capabilines and attitudes of the worier towurds leorning i.e leorning to learn. Information Technologies as a whole including multimedia systems but also simulation, networking, information storage and management are tools that can be usad to empower individuals to learn in the work enviroument. Technology can be used, for instance:

- to design new and innovative ways of increasing the capacity of the worker to learn

`- for a specific task, e.g. virtual classrooms and effective simulators of real world


- to provide easy access to necessary information when confrontod to a particular problem or task,

- to ~ help workers understand and evaluate how their tasks and capacities are contributirlg to the overall corporate goals and how they can individually influence the colleetive effort and the success of their enterprise. This should also enable the individual to be less enterprise dependant and should ' provide opportunities for mobility.

2. Team or group learning

Modern industrial and organisational practice seeks to support higher productivity through enhanced teamworking. The use of IT increases the potential for teams working 'virtually' toge~er within an organisation or across organisational boundaries in different geographies. The use of IT to improve team effectiveness is widely discussed and groupware solutions exist for some aspects of teamworking.

What is considered within the scope of this call is not the use of team or group technologies for operational tasks, but rather the use of IT solutions to support creutivitv. innovation and reflective leorning as part of efficient team working.

3. Organisational learning through knowledge management and exploitation

The vast array of information resources now available within and outside organisations could potentially help an organisation build richer scenarios for planning, help target customers and markets more effectively and utilise resources more effectively. However, the problems of Information overload mean that many organisations have great difficulty in 'knowing what they know'. At the same time, the intellectual property assests of an organisation are extremely important in the Information Society and nurturing and protecting those assets is a major challenge. What is considered within this call is the use of IT solutions to support the creution. manapement and exploitation of knowled ge assets in the context of a global learning organisation.

These three fields should not be seen as exclusive and projects that link different aspects of individual, team and organisational learning would be welcomed. What is required is that the IT solution should meet an identifiable nced of organisations seeking; to improve their ability to learn.

3. Possible topics

The following list is intended to illustrate, but nat constrain the projects relevant to achieving the IT for learning objective.

IT based tools and methods addressing the acquisition of skilis and learn to learn capabilitites such as the updating of Çnormal" behavioral patterus and specific techniques to gradually remove learning barriers. Examples of targetod technological areas include Simulation, Decision Support Systems and Intuitive Interfacing.

IT basad mechanisms and infrastructures that enable and stimulate learning at theindividual, group or organisation level. lixamples of targetod technological areas include Networking and, Information Handling and Management.

IT basad environments that increase the ability of teams to learn through building scenarios, business models and performing creative tasks. Examples of targetod technological areas include Cooperative and Collaborative Environments, Simulation and Decision Support Systems.

[[yen-100]] Improving interorganisational teamlearning through IT solutions.

Examples of targeted technological areas include Cooperative and Collaborative Environments, Networking and Information sharing.

Identifying, organising and protecting organisational knowledge- assets ~rough 1T solutions. Examples of targetod technological areas include Information System Strategies, 1T for Corporate Memories.

Organisational processes using 1T to forster openess towards innovation and eagerness to learn through systematic questionning of current practices and motivation to invest time and resouces in acquiring skills and competences.

Most of above mentioned technological areas might be targetod in this topic.

4. Organisation of work Applications to this call should be:

a) Validation and Integration Experiments

b) Targeted R&D Projects

c) Demonstration Projects

Proposed projects should work towards concrete results and must from the- outset -have -elear routes to exploitation. Projects should be compact and comprise the minimum number of partners necessary to execute the work. Unnecessary duplication of skills and activities should be avoided

Proposers should prepare their proposals in accordance with the structural recommendations and evaluation criteria given in section 3 of the Specific Information Document. All the necessary administration forms required to submit a proposal are provided.



individual learning increuse the capacity to leurn

for a specif c tusk

provide innovative IT based

learning systems

-advanced simulation, man in the loop simulation
-multimodal and intuitive interfaces
-decision support system
- cognitive modeling
-systems architecture including RT
provide eusy access to necessary

informafion when nceded

IT based intelligent access and

filtering of information

- enterprise inlormation system
- information structuring
- information fitering
- document routing
- agents technology
- network technologies
understand and evaluate capacities
IT based evaluation tools
- driving licence - networking tech.
- learning accounts - decision support systems
- certification tools - simulation
- company profiles

2. 2.1
(virtual) Team or

group learning

reflective learning as part of

efficient team working

IT based solutions to

support team reflection and

ideas and experience sharing

- brainstorming tools
- critical thinking tools
- scenario building tools
- virtual communication space
- storing and retrieving shared experiences
- virtual team learning support
2. 2.2
teamwork learning and assessment
IT based tools to improve and assess capabilities of


- simu1ation environments
- role games

3. 3.1
Organisational learning
IT based solutions to support knowledge and experience management and exploitation in the enterprise
- knowledge/expierience collection
- knowledge/experience storage
- information search
- advanced information exploration
- digital libraries
IT based solutions to support learning strategies of enterprises
- benchmarking
- economical intelligency
- information system strategies
- corporate memories


Experimental School Environments

0. Introduction

The general aim of Intelligent Information Interfaces (i3) is to develop new humancentred interfaces for interacting with information.

The focus of the present call is on new interfaces to support new forms of learning in schools.

A project proposal must address the Overall Goals of the call as well as each of the categories: Context, Research Challenges and Methodology. Within these categories each project proposed is free to address and evolve along a range of topics.

It is expected that a large degree of co-operation and integration across selected projects will take place in the course of time, thus leading to a greater effect than a disparate set of projects.

Overall Goals

The objective is to develop and validate radically new interfaces and interaction paradigms to support visionary scenarios for learning in schools.

This initiative adopts a long term view for which it is necessary to break away from traditional boundaries and ways of viewing things (including school, teacher, community...etc) and encourages proposers to take "quantum leaps" over existing approaches both from a technological and educational point of view.

These new paradigms should make learning an engaging activity both at the personal and group level: encouraging people to take personal responsibility in learning and fostering a new group culture that "delights" in learning.

. It is expected that the new interaction paradigms will empower both "teachers" and "pupils" to take on new and more meaningful roles in the learning process.

. It is expected that both educational and technological aspects must be worked on together based on real experimental environments.

2. Context

Transition to literacy

The principal focus is on learners of the age 4-8.

. Children in this group have cognitive development that is particularly conducive to investigating new learning paradigms not based on text alone.

Since this context will be common to all projects, integration across projects in the future becomes feasible.

New Attributes and Skills

Within the context of the "transition to literacy", specific skills and attributes need to .be addressed. These principally correspond to those skills and attributes that will be needed by people living and working in the information society of tomorrow, and that are not sufficiently addressed today. These can include new approaches for enhancing:

. Based on the above a project proposal should chose and elaborate its context.

3. Research Challenges

The real challenge is the creation, design and testing of new IT based tools with new functionality, in a specific context as defined by a project.

Examples specific research challenges include the investigation of:

. Based on the above, a project proposal should choose and elaborate its research challenges.

4. Methodology

It is expected that each project will map out its planned "process", which can inclade elements of: