A!OLE Visualisation of learning paths

Challenge

The Aalto University Sustainable Metals Processing Master’s programme has not manages to attract enough students for the past years, which is a shame given the relevancy of the the subjects studies in the final years. Unfortunately students are not well enough informed of what the study programme consists of as well as the career opportunities that they have after graduation. Also, due to the close ties to the mining industry, the general view of the career paths for students is often outdated with negative images working in the mining industry instills in people.

Solution

The original idea was to see how open badges could be applied in visualising potential career paths for students. However, very quickly we noticed that the main challenge was in presenting the rather interesting career prospects of the study field in a simple and engaging way.

To meet this goal, we decided to conduct a series of interviews to industry experts and professionals to ask them to share their stories on what they career paths have been, how they ended up working in the industry and what interesting and wicked challenges they have had the opportunity to solve? Some of these interviews were saved a short videos and used in the visualisation.

The second iteration round of the path was still done with pen and paper that accommodated all possible ideas.

The original idea was to present career pathways using kumu.io, but we quickly realised the tool did not offer all the features we were craving to use. Also we noticed that the information gathered in the interviews did not fall into a clear pathway format, but people had very personal stories and pathways that they had taken. Instead, some clear topics, of which fighting climate change and protecting our environment came up in all interviews. To better give space to the topics that our interviewees raised, and to better present the facts behind myths about the industry, we changed our tool to Thinglink, which allowed us to build a richer, more versatile and more engaging and immersive environment with all of our contents. So that is what we did. The end resuls can be accessed below. The frontpage features some of the key questions we thought students would like to have answered. I hope you enjoy it as well, maybe even get a spoof of inspiration to study in this important field!

Takeaways

One of the main takeaways for me in this project was immerse myself in the mining industry. The challenges, the opportunities, that history, the future… For sure it is an industry that does not get a lot of good press. What struck my was how the people I interviewed were not “corporate shaks” but individuals who cared deeply about the state of our environment and worked to create solutions that lead to more sustainable futures. For me, they were working and thinking hard to make sure my actions are less disruptive for the environment. Powerful.

On a professional note, I had a blast making videos and playing with Thinglink. The more I use it the more I come up with new ways to use the tool rather than find limitations. It really is a powerful tool to create engaging learning environments. This is not even paid advertising since I paid full price for the tool. This project also allowed me to play with making videos and be amazed at the quality of image one can get through mobile phones. Too bad COVID-19 interrupted the interviews shifting my one-lady production house to GoogleMeet recordings. But videos are not a question of investments, a phone is a really powerful production tool!

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