Workshop Awareness and Reflection in Personal Learning Environments (#ARPLE11)

Awareness and Reflection in Personal Learning Environments (#ARPLE11)
Workshop at the PLE conference 2011
Date 11th of July 2011
Venue: University of Southampton, UK
Submission deadline: 29.06.2011/04.07.2011

Available online at:

Wolfgang Reinhardt & Thomas Daniel Ullmann (eds.): Proceedings of the 1st Workshop on Awareness and Reflection in Personal Learning Environments. In conjunction with the PLE Conference 2011. Southampton, United Kingdom, July 11, 2011.

Background and Motivation
The workshop is intended to discuss and build an interdisciplinary understanding for the role of awareness and reflection in Personal Learning Environments. While different researchers have stressed the importance of awareness and reflection support in PLEs there is no agreed set of such functionalities in existence yet. Also we lack a structured overview of awareness and reflections issues that learners are facing in their daily learning activities. As both researchers and developers interested in the PLE domain seem to be in need of such information in order to best tailor their R&D activities, this workshop aims at collecting requirements and open issues in the domain.

The workshop aims to attract participants from educational science, psychology, social science, computer science, and design to challenge the understanding of the research fields of awareness and reflection in Personal Learning Environments. We also aim to attract developers from academia and economy that implement personalizable learning environments.

Goal of the workshop
The concept of the workshop is target to collaboratively develop an integrated roadmap for future research and development in the domain. Therefore we designed the workshop as a highly interactive session. Starting with a short introduction of the work of the participants and their statements about the future challenges of their research we will work towards a roadmap of research in awareness and reflection with focus on Personal Learning Environments. For more information please visit the workshop website at TELeurope.

Submission and Participation
The following types of submissions are possible:
# Position paper
# Discussion paper
# Participation statement

Position paper:
A short position paper situating your research (1-2 pages) in the workshop. The following questions can guide your position paper:
What are you researching?
What are the challenges of your research?
What should we, as the participants of this workshop, focus on?
What should be on the research agenda of the next five years?

Discussion paper:
The discussion papers can for example elaborate existing issues with awareness and reflection in PLEs, sketch ideas for supporting functionalities or discuss the results of ongoing research in the domain (5-10 pages).

Participation statement:
Please write an email to the organizers, to let us know that you are coming.

Your submission will help us to structure the hands-on activities and discussions for the workshop.

1. Requirements on awareness and reflection support in PLEs
2. Awareness and reflection widgets (implementations, visions)
3. Awareness and reflection Mash-Ups
4. Awareness and reflection scenarios for formal or informal learning
5. Awareness and reflection support for researchers
6. Theory on awareness and reflection
7. Methods researching awareness and reflection

Find more information about the format of the workshop:

Important dates
Submission deadline discussion paper: 29.06.2011
Notification of acceptance discussion paper: 04.07.2011
Camera-ready version: 22.07.2011 (after the workshop)
Submission deadline position paper: 04.07.2011
Notification of acceptance of the position paper within two days.
Deadline participation statement: 06.07.2011

Submit to and You will receive a confirmation within one day.

Submissions should use the Springer LCNS template ( We encourage you to produce your submission using LaTeX as typesetting tool and the respective LaTeX template.

Wolfgang Reinhardt (University of Paderborn, Germany, @wollepb)
Thomas Daniel Ullmann (Open University of the UK, @thomasullmann)

Accepted papers ARPLE11

We are happy to announce the acceptance of the following five discussion papers and two short positions papers:

Discussion Papers:

Wolfgang Reinhardt and Christian Mletzko: Awareness in Learning Networks.

The term ’awareness’ finds it roots in the research on Com- puter Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW) and often does not reflect the changed modi operandi in today’s connected world. In this paper we argue that the term ’awareness’ needs to be understood in a broader way when used in the context of networked learning. In Learning Networks, awareness is increasingly related to finding appropriate learning objects, peers and experts or the ’right’ learning path. We discuss this different understanding and formulate open questions dealing with awareness in Learning Networks and Personal Learning Environments as well as their connection to reflection and issues of technical feasibility.

Firehouse introduction

Kamakshi Rajagopal: Supporting Network Awareness: easing the learner’s journey or challenging them to see?

This paper argues for a changed vision and approach to the design of technologies supporting awareness and reflection for learning in social networks. It discusses the relationship between awareness, reflec- tion and learning, and looks into what supporting these functions with technology for the purpose of learning actually entails.

Firehouse introduction.

Rebecca Ferguson, Simon Buckingham Shum, Ruth Deakin Crick: EnquiryBlogger – Using widgets to support awareness and reflection in a PLE setting
Blogs provide environments within which people can articulate, refine and reflect on practice. These characteristics make them useful for learners who are developing the practical skills and learning dispositions associated with authentic enquiry. The EnquiryBlogger tool is being developed to extend the core features of a robust, open source blogging platform in order to support awareness and reflection for enquiry-based learners. The first phase of the project developed blog plug-ins, together with associated teacher dashboards, and piloted their use. Feedback and use data show that the tools support reflection and are valued by learners. The pilot study has informed the development of a second phase of the project, which will support customization of these tools and increase learners’ opportunities to develop awareness of the experiences of others.

Firehouse introduction.

Thomas Daniel Ullmann, Rebecca Ferguson, Simon Buckingham Shum, Ruth Deakin Crick: Designing an Online Mentoring System for Self- Awareness and Reflection on Lifelong Learning Skills

Mentoring supports the process of becoming self-aware of personal believes and to engage with a topic of concern in a reflective manner. With new media, also new opportunities and new means for mentoring have arisen. In this contribution, we outline how an established face-to-face mentoring process has been ‘translated’ into an online mentoring system. It outlines the design decisions made for an initial online mentoring system supporting mentees to gain self-awareness of and to reflect about life-long learning skills. The purpose of the development process was to detect the essential and the suitable elements for an online version of a face-to-face mentoring practice.

Firehouse introduction.


Position Papers:

Philip Meyer, Thomas Sporer: Introducing Feedback Mechanisms to Users of Higher Education ePortfolios

The University of Augsburg offers an optional study programme, in which students acquire key competencies through participating in informal, self- organised project work. The learning design of this programme builds on the stu- dents’ reflection of the project experiences with regard to their competency devel- opment. The reflection also serves for assessment purposes and is organised via an ePortfolio system ( This paper presents research, conducted in order to enhance the portfolio-based assessment. Especially, more advanced feedback mechanisms have been proposed in a scenario approach. Qualitative interviews with students show that feedback is only desired under spe- cial circumstances. Acceptance factors as identified in this explorative study are in particular prior experience, privacy concerns and relevance for grading.

Firehouse introduction.

Steven Warburton: Peer supported learning – a real world case-story

Context: A globally targeted portfolio of distance learning programmes delivered to a large number of students. Some students are helped in their studies (to varying degrees e.g. from lectures to library provision) via affiliate teaching institutions while others follow a more traditional study-alone pathway.
Problem: There are limited opportunities for social interaction for learners who follow the study-alone pathway. The lack of social interaction and social scaffolding impacts negatively on the student learning experience and can reduce: motivation, achievement, retention and progression. The problem space we are researching relates to can we support study-alone student in finding (and taking advantage of) opportunities for peer learning and reflection at a distance.
Solution: One of the solutions we are investigating is to encourage students to organise themselves into study groups (we are thinking below the level of community) and engage a suite of platforms and services (their PLE/PLN?) to support this activity space. The question remains, what is needed to help develop, nurture, motivate and sustain an online study group.


Format of the workshop

The workshop is organized in a highly interactive format. Expect something else than a typical workshop.

Introduction (15 min)
Setting the stage.

Firehouse introduction of the participants
Paper or Demo introduction of each accepted participant. The last slide is about the future challenges of the author (5 minutes for each participant (max 45 mins)). Some question, which can help you to structure your presentation:

  • What are you researching?
  • What are the challenges of your research?
  • What should we, as the participants of this workshop, focus on?
  • What should be on the research agenda of the next five years?

N:1 Feedback
Participants are asked to write down their feedback and to hand it over to the speaker after the presentation, following a short discussion.

Brainstorming session (60 mins)
Session at the Brainwriting pool:
The pool is filled with the initial challenges from the last slide. Everyone can take from the pool one challenge and annotate it, or pass it back to the pool, or add a new challenge.

Clustering & prio session (30 mins)
Cluster it: Everyone introduces their annotated challenge paper. Afterwards the goal is to find three to four general areas in which the challenges could be subsumed. These are then visualized with a Card story board.
Prioritizing: The long shortlist

Mockups / scenario session (60 mins in 3 to 4 groups)
Pencil, paper, glue, and scissor session:
For each of the three to four grand challenges we will create a mockup or a scenario.
Presentation of mockups / scenarios (20 min)
Presentation of results, photo session

Challenges and milestones session (20 min)
Discussion about what’s next and when. Goal: roadmap for at least 2 years (R&D)
Challenge shout out: each participant has to name his major challenge (10 seks per participant)

Round-up discussion (10 min)