In June 2020, approximately one year after the last Workpackage 2 & 8 meeting, the DigiLab4U project members planned to meet in Koblenz again for a two-day workshop. While preparations were made, it became clear that the COVID-19 pandemic, which started this same year, made meetings in person impossible. But, being part of an innovative field of research, we took it as an opportunity to utilize the online tools that were available to us in order to conduct the workshop.
As every participant was equipped with a headset, microphone and their presentations, we joined in BigBlueButton to discuss several didactical topics. We continued the November Workshop with AuCity2 with more detailed input about Kerres’ media didactics of learning methods, tools and organizations as presented by IWM. Many design recommendations were applied to the current state of the scenarios, which are in development right now. A first mature point was made to connect different scenarios to a learning path by creating problems for learners to solve. These are planned to be embedded into a fictional narrative of a DigiLab4U-Company, whose employees assign tasks to the learners in the form of case-based learning. A preliminary insight of the first formative evaluation of the HFT RFID-measuring chamber was also given and made points of improvement visible. The interviews and thinking-aloud-sessions conducted with experts from the field of engineering included helpful feedback that will guide us in our future work.
Special attention was given to the topic of serious games. Two scenarios are in development that employ this didactical method and we had the opportunity to play one game by PARMA. In teams of two we competed against each other to fulfil manufacturing contracts and accumulate more liquidity than everyone else. Despite its early stage, the concept was fun and engaging! In a group effort, we applied game design theories presented by BIBA and made good progress on improving the game.
Further steps for the evaluation of the other scenarios and how to handle the problematic situation with COVID-19, which made acquiring test subjects difficult, were also part of our conversations. Nonetheless, we see ourselves adapting and planning for what’s heading our way!
In summary, the workshop proved fruitful, despite a lack of physical presence, which goes to show that there is a need for online solutions. Now more than ever, digital tools that make remote working and learning possible, are high in demand. While we had great success in the usage of these tools, we still hope to meet in person again next time and use creative methods for discussions to meet our demands in the project: researching and improving digital teaching and learning, as not to replace reality, but to augment and improve it.