User Engagement Design in Wearable Enhanced Learning

This week I was pleased to present our work on User Engagement (UE) design in the fMOOC project at the iLRN2015 – Immersive Learning Research Network Conference in Prague.

The conceptual design of the fMOOC is based on the concept of extended Personal Learning Environments (eX-PLE) in sense of permeable physical and virtual spaces, which are constructed dynamically through the practice of “mobility” across spaces, contexts, concepts and time. The fMOOC design integrates the Massive Open Online Learning Approach with wearable technologies to enable seamless learning as part of daily life. In our paper:

Buchem, Ilona, Merceron, Agathe, Kreutel, Jörn, Haesner, Marten, Steinert, Anika (2015). Designing for User Engagement in Wearable-Technology Enhanced Learning for Healthy Ageing. iLRN Conference 2015, Workshop Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Intelligent Environments, Link to Proceedings (eBook as PDF download): http://ebooks.iospress.nl/volume/workshop-proceedings-of-the-11th-international-conference-on-intelligent-environments 

we propose a multi-layer user engagement model which drives the design of user engagement at five levels, i.e. conceptual design, requirements design, instructional design, architecture design and interface design. We consider User Engagement (UE) as the quality of the User Experience (UX) which is characterised by the positive aspects of the interaction, such as being captivated, focused attention, sense of control, willingness to repeat the learning experience. 

You can view the slides on SlideShare:


User Engagement in Wearable Enhanced Learning


Cultural Localisation of Open Badges

This week I had a pleasure to give a talk on cultural localisation of open badges at the online meeting of the initiative Open Badges in Higher Education in conjunction with The Badge Alliance Badges in Higher Education Working Group:

“Cultural localisation of open badges – insights from the German community”

Cultural localisation is the process of adapting the linguistic and cultural content of a design for a specific local culture. The aim of this talk is to explore cultural localisation of open badges from two perspectives. The first perspective is the cultural localisation of skills with the help of open badges. The second perspective is the cultural localisation of open badges as a system itself. My talk will include insights from a German qualification project for migrant academics, in which badges have been applied to enhance employability, as well as insights from the process of building an open badges community in German-speaking countries. My intention is to develop a framework for cultural localisation of open badges and I would like to discuss some considerations for such a framework.


Further information:

If you are interested in doing research related to cultural localisation of open badges, please get in touch and leave a comment!

Wearables and Embodied Learning

Wearable technologies bring new, exciting opportunities for the design of digital learning and communication. Just recently, I had the opportunity to present the fMOOC project (founded by the German Federal Ministry of Research and Education), in which we integrate wearable fitness trackers as an element of a digital learning environment for senior learners. My presentation focused on the experiential learning and embodied learning as theoretical frameworks for learning in this context.

Especially the embodied learning perspective offers an interesting approach to designing digital learning. The starting point for embodied learning is that learning including cognitive processes have roots in sensorimotor processing and result from the body’s interactions with the physical environment (Wilson, 2002).

Since I am exploring the potential of embodied learning and embodied cognition as a theoretical framework for designing Wearable Enhanced Learning (WELL) – see also our Special Interest Group – EA-TEL SIG WELL – I am very keen on connecting with researchers doing research in related fields. If you are interested in doing research / project together, I would be very glad to hear from you – best to get in touch is Twitter: @mediendidaktik – Looking forward to connecting and sharing!

Here is my SlideShare presentation from the DDD2015 Conference in Umeå, Sweden:

Wearable Enhanced Embodied Learning from Ilona Buchem

Thanks again @Isa Jahnke for organising this great event!

Further reading:

Wilson, M. (2002). Six views of embodied cognition. Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, 9, pp. 625–636.

EA-TEL Special Interest Group on Wearable Enhanced Learning

Design Challenge – Wearable Enhanced Learning (WELL)

Design Challenge – Wearable Enhanced Learning (WELL)

The Special Interest Group on Wearable Enhanced Learning (SIG WELL) at the European Association of Technology Enhanced Learning (EA-TEL), founded by Ilona Buchem (Beuth University Berlin), Fridolin Wild (Open University UK) and Ralf Klamma (RHTW Aachen) has announced the Call for Contributions for the Design Challenge titled “Envisioning Wearable Enhanced Learning” which will be held as a half-day workshop at the European Conference on Technology Enhanced Learning #ECTEL2015 – on the 18th September 2015 in Toledo, Spain.

The Design Challenge “Envisioning Wearable Enhanced Learning” aims at arriving at new and innovative designs enhancing learning through wearable technologies. Participants of this design challenge are encouraged to rethink the future of learning once wearable user interfaces are widely and easily available for any learner.

You can submit your abstract & design sample by 12th June 2015!

To enter this EC-TEL 2015 Design Challenge, submit a 500 abstract (approx. 2 pages) as PDF via EasyChair and design samples of own work (e.g. mock-ups, videos, prototypes) via our YouTube channel, by creating design requirements using the Requirements Bazaar or by simply pasting a link to your design sample in the abstract. Design samples help the reviewers to understand the solution, the design approach and visual presentation skills of participants. Design samples may be submitted as either PDFs or links to a web site. Submissions may include work from past, current and future projects or may just represent creative ideas independent of any project scheme or research program.

For more information about this Design Challenge please visit the SIG WELL website:


Here is the short summary of the theme:

Wearable technologies – such as smart watches, smart fitness trackers, smart glasses, smart glasses, smart objects, smart earbuds, or smart garments – are beginning to transform personal communications and offer new opportunities for learning and interaction. Since wearable technologies are likely to shape the future relationship between humans and computers, it is essential to look beyond the current perspective of how wearable technologies may enhance learning in the future.According to the recent forecasts (e.g. Cisco, Gardner, Deloitte) for 2018, portable technologies, including mobile and wearable devices, will form the basis of personal communications with the global wearable device data traffic increasing by over 60%. Wearable user interfaces are just starting to transform user experience, improving integration of technologies into everyday life, education, and work.

Wearable Enhanced Learning (WELL) is emerging to be a transformational step in the transition from the desktop age through the mobile age to the age of wearable, ubiquitous computing.

This session called “Envisioning Wearable Enhanced Learning” is a design challenge which aim at arriving at new and innovative designs enhancing learning through wearable technologies. Participants of this design challenge are encouraged to rethink the future of learning once wearable user interfaces are widely and easily available for any learner. Since most of wearable technologies available on the market today lack mechanism for providing meaningful learning experiences,  the grand challenge is to invent designs focusing on meaningful user engagement.


Digital Badges / Open Badges Taxonomy

Working on the taxonomy of digital badges / open badges is an interesting empirical and conceptual endeavour. I have been looking into different types of badges as part of the “Discussion Paper on Open Badges and Quality Assurance” on which I have been recently working in context of the European Project “Badge Europe” (Erasmus+, Strategic Partnership). Before the first draft of the discussion paper will be open to public for comments and edits, I would like to share the first draft of the taxonomy of digital and open badges. I have proposed a classification based on three categories – (1) content-related: what the badge represents, (2) issuer-related: who issues the badge, and (3) process-related: how the badge was achieved.

This is just a first attempt and I would be very glad to get your feedback on this. Thank you to the authors who inspired my work in this area – Carla Casilli, Hans PoldojaGrant MacDonald (follow the links to find out more about their typologies), and Nigel Lloyd who is working with us on the “Badge Europe” project.

So here is the first list ready for your comments, extensions and examples in this Google Table!

This taxonomy with examples from practice can be also viewed in SlideShare:


1 Content-related categories (what the badge represents)
1.1 Achievement badges (demonstration of achievements)
1.2 Competence badges (demonstration of knowledge, skills, competence).
1.3 Potential badges (indicators of future performance)
1.4 Participation badges (evidence of participation, e.g. events)
1.5 Membership badges (represents membership, e.g. club)
1.6 Commitment badges (attitudes, values, beliefs)
1.7 Encouragement badges (good work stamps)

2 Issuer-related categories (who issued the badge)
2.1 Organisational badges (issued by university, employer)
2.2 Team badges (issued by teams, groups)
2.3 Expert badges (issued by an expert)
2.4 Social badges (issued by peers, communities)
2.5 Endorser badge (endorsed by an organisation, expert etc.)

3 Process-related categories (how the badge was achieved)
3.1 Activity badges (based on single measurable learning activity)
3.2 Mission badges (based on a series of activities)
3.3 Assignment badges (based on completing a single assignment)
3.4 Composite badges (achieved by completing multiple assignments)
3.5 Progress badges (based on the progress on a given task)
3.6 Grade badges (based on formal grades)
3.7 Level badges (based on several levels)


Digital strategies in higher education

I am proud to announce that we are one of the winners of the digital strategy competition by the Stifterverband and Heinz Nixdorf Stiftung! As one of the 8 winners selected out of from 99 submissions from all over Germany, we will be developing educational digital strategies in all of our faculties at Beuth University of Applied Sciences Berlin. Beuth University is a university of “educational climbers” (e.g. 55% of our students come from non-academic families) and so the goal of our digital strategy is to use digital media to improve the study process and occupational perspectives, helping “educational climbers” become “educational winners”.

The focus of our digital strategy development is supporting diversity of students in all phases of the student life-line, which is a concept we developed to outline the different pathways students take before and with entering the university until leaving the university and beyond (e.g. alumni relations). Our three guiding principles are:

  • Using digital media to enhance educational quality, especially in terms of personalisation and development of self-competence, providing opportunities for building individual capabilities;
  • Using digital media to support diversity of students, especially in terms of diverse social, economic and cultural backgrounds, diverse competency levels and life circumstances;
  • Using digital media to help students prepare for connected digital life, especially in terms of the new requirements and conditions in digital economy and digital work.

An interesting part of designing digital strategies at Beuth University will be the Design-based Research (DBR) methodology to conceptualise and implement digital strategies iteratively in natural settings and at the same time to generate new scientific insights and frameworks for designing digital strategies in higher education.

You can find out more about the digital strategy competition by the Stifterverband and the 8 finalists here.

We will soon set up a website with more information about the process and outcomes of digital strategy development at Beuth University. You can view the films about the diversity of students at Beuth University on YouTube.


Learning and Diversity in the Cities of the Future

Learning and Diversity in the Cities of the Future was the focus of the 4th PLE Conference, which I was happy to host at Beuth University of Applied Sciences in Berlin. Now we the paper copy of the proceedings published by Logos Verlag Berlin can be ordered online.

The conference addresses the issue of smart cities, one of the key research priorities worldwide. The relatively new concept of “smart cities” has triggered a number of research and development programs, including the Horizon 2020 strategy of the European Commission, which has emphasised inclusive and sustainable growth as well as security and citizenship in the cities of the future. Discussions around smart cities have so far revolved around smart urban technologies and infrastructures targeting energy efficiency (e.g. alternative energy sources), smart transport (e.g. new mobility concepts), enabling technologies (e.g. nano-science, bio-science), but also understanding social, economic and cultural issues that are involved in the transformation of urban spaces into smart cities.

Since smart cities can be viewed as smart learning environments supporting people in their daily lives in a proactive yet unobtrusive way, learning and diversity of the citizens in the cities of the future becomes one of the key issues in relation to citizens operating in and shaping these smart technology-enhanced environments.

The papers included in the proceedings provide rich and valuable theoretical and empirical insights into learning and diversity in the cities of the future from the perspective of ever evolving Personal Learning Environments which may be conceptualised as smart urban learning environments.

The electronic version of the proceedings is available as PDF under CC BY-NC-SA here: