When Bricklayers and Gardeners Create Their Own Digital Content: A success story starring imc Express
Arbeit und Leben Berlin-Brandenburg DGB/VHS e.V. is a non-profit adult education organization.
It is supported jointly by the Berlin-Brandenburg branch of Germany’s DGB trade union confederation
and Berlin’s adult education schools (VHS). It was initially founded to support the democratic restart
– including by means of political education – after 1945.
Today, its educational and advisory services impart knowledge, promote critical thinking, and encourage participation in society.
It empowers people who are typically disengaged from educational and advisory services and therefore excluded from work and society.
To turn learners with limited literacy skills into producers of learning media.
Arbeit und Leben (English: work and life) Berlin-Brandenburg provides support to people from many backgrounds. These include apprentices, job-seekers, low-skilled workers, and people with limited digital literacy and limited skills in reading, writing, and math.
To combat the skills shortage, it aims to help people from many different (educational) backgrounds through further training and improved preparation for workforce entry.
Accordingly, it trains instructors and apprentices and advises businesses and educational institutions on implementing targeted learning in the workplace.
But it wanted to incorporate modern, digital learning methods into its offering. And for that, it needed a tool that was easy for teaching staff to integrate into their teaching practice. The idea was to facilitate greater long-term retention of knowledge by turning the learners themselves into producers of learning media.
Collaboration using AI and automated translations
After much comparison and testing, Johanna Lambertz from Arbeit und Leben’s vocational training department chose the authoring tool imc Express.
“We were impressed with imc Express right off the bat,” she says.
“The tool is intuitive and easy to use, particularly for people with low literacy and media skills or from migrant backgrounds. And the great thing for our teaching staff is that its integrated AI takes care of layout, dubbing and translation. What’s also really helpful is the option to summarize things in simple language with its built-in ChatGPT features.
What’s more, the integrated image database means that our instructors don’t have to worry about legal issues like copyright. They can prepare their teaching materials and then invite the learners to generate content – which the learners find extremely motivating.”
87 new items of learning content in the space of three months
So, how has it all worked out in practice?
“The learning units we created in cooperation with the Steinbeisschule Stuttgart school illustrate this perfectly,” Johanna Lambertz explains. “We shot some videos with young apprentices. This content was then used to create learning nuggets showing in detail the steps involved in building a wall. Other learning videos deal with construction site safety, as well as specialist tools and how to use them.
“These subjects are much easier to show visually than explain in words, so the videos are great. We are also currently producing learning content for horticulture under a partnership with the foundation Stiftung für Mensch und Umwelt (English: foundation for Humans and Enviroment) in Berlin that concerns itself with environmental questions.
“To give another example: a job centre employee used the tool to create a learning unit that shows her clients how to use the centre’s website. Similarly, the interactive elements, such as multiple-choice questions and flipcards, are ideal for integrating occupation-specific prose styles and specialist vocabulary.”
Five months on, imc Express has been used to create 140 learning nuggets. In addition, 44 instructors are now using the tool on a regular basis.
Arbeit und Leben Berlin-Brandenburg is now looking at using imc Express to support even more learners in sectors such as construction and nursing. To quote Johanna Lambertz:
“The potential applications are virtually unlimited.”
More about the project
ABConnect - "Connecting work, education, opportunities. Networking, professionalising and strengthening actors in work-oriented basic education for digital teaching".
Funding rate of the funding body:
The ABConnect project (funding code W1497BAOG) is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research as part of the "National Decade for Literacy and Basic Education 2016 - 2026".