Multimedia Training for and with Bau-ABC Trainers

Main impacts

In the Learning Layers Construction pilot the project organised two Multimedia Training schemes for the training staff of the North German training centre Bau-ABC Rostrup. The first scheme was a generic Multimedia Training to support the trainers’ capability to create their trade-specific digital training and learning environments. The second scheme (the Theme Room Training) was initiated by the trainers to support wider use of digital media and web resources (and of Learning Toolbox) in Bau-ABC. The main impacts of the training schemes were the following:

  • As a main result of the first Multimedia training scheme the participating core group of Bau-ABC trainers created their trade-specific blogs (Zimmererblog, Maurerblog, Tiefbaublog, Brunnenbauerblog) that they used as repositories for digital training materials.
  • In the preparation of the Theme Room training the members of the core group developed themselves as peer tutors and multimedia trainers for construction sector professionals.
  • In the Theme Room training all Bau-ABC trainers developed their capability to use social media, digital learning contents and digital learning tools.
  • In the transition to piloting with the Learning Toolbox the members of the core group made focused use of digital learning tools (e.g. GoConqr) in their trade-specific stacks.

A more detailed insight into the Multimedia Training schemes is provided by the Methodology document “Training Interventions as Capacity-Building for Digital Transformation in Vocational Education and Training”.

The situation before Layers

During the first year the Learning Layers project the research partners from ITB had a series of initial interviews in Bau-ABC Rostrup (later on referred to as ‘Bau-ABC’) with trainers to map their use of digital media and web tools. Concerning the quality and usability of the tools the trainers made the point that it is difficult to distinguish good quality tools and apps (with appropriate support) from others that were designed for laymen users (with lower quality and lack of support). Some of the trainers had familiarised themselves with some individual tools and apps but not developed a systematic approach to work with these apps in their training activities. Therefore, it was agreed to integrate series of training activities into the co-design process (see Use of Learning Toolbox (LTB) by Bau-ABC Trainers and Apprentices). This working agreement provided the basis for the Layers training schemes in Bau-ABC.

What Layers did


The co-design process in Bau.ABC was supported by two major training schemes:


After a series of co-design workshops in which the Learning Layers research partners had mapped potential use of digital media and web-based tools there was a mutual agreement to organise multimedia training for Bau-ABC trainers.

The first training scheme was shaped as a set of Multimedia Training workshops from September 2013 to July 2014. The workshops were organised as weekend-events for voluntary participants (starting on Friday afternoons and continuing on Saturday mornings). These events were run by Pontydysgu training experts and supported by ITB researchers. The first workshops provided insights into existing web resources and apps and to processes of co-creating and co-developing by users). Then the workshops provided increasingly hands-on exercises with web tools and web resources (including blogs and Twitter). In the latest workshops the emphasis was on producing and editing users’ own video material.

The key result of this phase was the start of the trainers’ blogs. Four trainers developed their own way to use blogs as means to deliver their training materials. Their blogs - Zimmererblog, Maurerblog, Tiefbaublog and Brunnenbauerblog - became prototypes for domain-specific online learning resources with wide audience beyond apprentice training (the primary target area).

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Figures 1 and 2: The trainers’ blogs for carpenter and bricklayer apprentices

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Figures 3 and 4: The trainers’ blogs for underground builders and well-builders

A further result of the Multimedia training was the grown readiness of Bau-ABC trainers and staff members to work with videos in their own training and in the Learning Layers project. The Bau-ABC team demonstrated this with the series of videos that they produced in August 2014 to support the further development of the Learning Toolbox with their ideas and exemplary use cases shown on the videos.

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Figures 5 and 6: Bau-ABC trainers’ discussion on the use of Learning Toolbox and an exemplary situation in the training of road-builders

In an interim phase the Bau-ABC trainers had a series of internal weekly meetings to discuss their needs and prospects for using digital media and web tools as support for their training practices. After a while they came to conclusion that such informal meetings are not effective enough to bring the whole organisation forward in terms of capacity-building and in terms taking necessary organisational measures. Therefore, the trainers had an interim assessment and proposed a new concept for multimedia training: the Theme Room approach.

The second training scheme was shaped jointly by Bau-ABC, ITB and Pontydysgu on the basis of the Theme Room concept. In November 2015 four parallel workshop sessions were organised in Bau-ABC Rostrup each Friday (and a fifth set of workshops in ABZ Mellendorf - a branch of Bau-ABC). In this way the whole training staff of Bau-ABC was engaged in the training scheme. Two themes (‘social media’ and ‘production of digital learning materials’ - were covered with two consecutive sessions.

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Figures 7 and 8: Training arrangements and materials for Theme Room workshops

The situation after Layers


The implementation of the Theme Room training had involved the training staff and the management of Bau-ABC. In this way it provided a basis for common understanding on the relevance of digital media and web resources in the activities of Bau-ABC. Likewise, it created an awareness of the needs to improve the infrastructure and to continue the learning process to become an effective multiplier-organisation. Furthermore, the common learning experience raised strategic questions for the organisation regarding its commitment to further work with the Learning Layers tools and dissemination of innovations within the construction sector.


Immediately after the implementation of these Theme Room workshops the Bau-ABC trainers had a meeting for interim assessment. The feedback on the training was positive and the general conclusion was that such learning should be continued to consolidate the trainers’ digital competencies. In this respect, the effort to improve the capability of the whole organisation to work with digital media and web tools as a support for training was seen as a collective task. Here it is worthwhile to note that the Bau-ABC trainers also used Google Drive folders as online learning resources and digital documents to report on their learning. In this way the individual learning activities were linked to use of shared online resources.

Initially the Theme Room training scheme was launched as an internal campaign to enhance user-competences of Bau-ABC trainers. However, when implementing this step the management of Bau-ABC announced it as an organisational measure to gain a more innovative role in promoting user-competences in the construction sector. Emke Emken, the director of Bau-ABC, emphasised the role of Internet as the fourth central learning venue (alongside the construction company, the vocational school and the intermediate training centre). In the next period the priority was given on the actual deployment of Learning Toolbox - the product emerging from the co-design process (see Learning Toolbox, Use of Learning Toolbox (LTB) by Bau-ABC Trainers and Apprentices). In this respect the impact of these training schemes is partly a combined effect of such capacity-building and co-design processes.


Impact that Layers created

Enhanced digital competence

The Theme Room scheme aimed to bring all the staff to a level of confident users of digital media and web tools. Here, at least the stage of general awareness and initial familiarisation was reached. However, for a number of participants this was only a temporary learning gain because the deployment of Learning Toolbox could not be started immediately after this cycle of Theme Room training. Due to the holiday break and the intensive involvement of Bau-ABC in continuing training activities during January and February 2016, the deployment could only be started in March. Yet, for the advanced learners - and in particular for the tutors - the training provided a basis to work with Learning Layers tools (as became apparent in the deployment of Learning Toolbox, see Use of Learning Toolbox (LTB) by Bau-ABC Trainers and Apprentices).

Improved the creation and use of learning resources

During the Theme Room training the participants worked with creation and use of digital learning contents - including production of own video material and familiarisation with GoConqr tools (Mindmaps, Quizzes) and with the trainers’ blogs. This gave all participants an overview of possibilities available and insight, what to use with which trades. The trainers’ blogs that were started in the first phase of Multimedia Training (2014) have been developed further as online repositories of learning resources. They have since then been used actively (in the beginning of December 2016 the statistics of the blogs are: Zimmererblog 62,003 hits, Maurerblog 9,156 hits, Tiefbaublog 3,742 hits).

Changed learning practices

Throughout the Theme Room workshops the trainers discussed how to use digital media and web resources to support action-oriented and self-organised learning in the apprentices’ projects that they are supervising. Thus, they also prepared themselves for the introduction of Learning Toolbox in their projects as an integral part of their pedagogic approach.

Improved take-up of Innovation

During the training scheme the trainers and the management became aware of issues to be discussed as a part of a wider digital agenda, such as the role of infrastructure, the use and creation of digital learning resources (both in their initial & continuing training and in external cooperation) and the importance of continuing such capacity building as the Theme Room scheme. These points were raised in the concluding session for internal discussion and immediate measures were taken to improve access to Internet. However, at that point the active deployment of Learning Toolbox in the Bau-ABC training (see Use of Learning Toolbox (LTB) by Bau-ABC Trainers and Apprentices) had not yet been started. Yet, this training scheme provided a basis for the active deployment and use of Learning Toolbox in the apprentice training of Bau-ABC.


Further Reading

Kämäräinen, P. Articles of “Learning Toolbox Chronicle, Vol. 3, 2016”

Kämäräinen, P. Insights into “Theme Room” training scheme in Bau-ABC. Learning Toolbox (LTB) Chronicle Vol. 3, 1/2016

Kämäräinen, P. Peer learning and use of digital media in Theme Room workshops. Learning Toolbox (LTB) Chronicle Vol. 3, 2/2016

Other references

Hirv, J. (2016). Digital Transformation: Learning Practices and Organisational Change in a Regional VET Centre. Master’s thesis, TLU.

ITB-Moodle. The “Theme Room Training 2015”. (Online archive of the development of the concept and on training materials used in the implementation)

Contributing Authors