Research Institution "Pontydysgu" (UNITED KINGDOM)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN12 Proceedings
Publication year: 2012
Pages: 2521-2529
ISBN: 978-84-695-3491-5
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 4th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 2-4 July, 2012
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Global context of technology and, above all, the emergence of the information society, have facilitated access to information and knowledge. Wikis, podcasts, RSS feeds, social bookmarking, audio and video conferencing are some of the most popular means of communication and information in today’s society and are being used to create richer learning environments. In fact this technological change has opened new learning opportunities in all sectors of education, including training and work place learning. Work organization and skill requirements constantly change and for that reason innovative pedagogical approaches are growing fast in order to support the need of Continuing Professional Training (CPT).

More specifically, educational technology has been adopted for use in large enterprises, but research suggests there is little use of ICT for learning in Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) (Attwell, 2007). One reason for this may be the limited provision of CPT opportunities in SMEs. Yet SMEs are seen as critical for economic growth and the creation of employment and rapid technological change and changes in materials, ecological and quality requirements and changes in the organisation of work require the development and deployment of new competences.

In this paper the authors will first present a powerful pedagogic approach, Webquests 2.0, that are based on the Collaborative Blended Learning Model (CBLM). CBLM refers to "innovative Webquest 2.0 collaborative projects that take place less as face-to-face meetings but mostly online, supported by (a)synchronous Web 2.0 technologies combining at the same time collaborative learning with self paced learning" (Perifanou, 2011). Webquest 2.0 activities take advantage of the possibilities that current Web 2.0 technologies offer and are based on a revised Webquest 2.0 framework created for educators and trainers. “A Webquest 2.0 is an inquiry–oriented activity that takes place in a Web 2.0–enhanced, social and interactive open learning environment, in which the learner can create his or her own learning paths choosing different tools and the on line resources needed for the completion of the Webquest 2.0” (Perifanou, 2011).

The CBL model and Webquests 2.0 projects were first developed and tried in a Language Learning context (Perifanou, 2011) but in our case they are adopted and piloted in another context, the CPT in SMEs. Through a European Commission funded Transfer of Innovation project, “Webquest for HRM”, both CBLM and Webquests 2.0 projects are being piloted with SMEs in Poland, the UK and Sweden. The aim of the project is to train trainers to create and develop Webquests 2.0 and e–learning materials for training for Human Resource Management in Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). It also aims to raise awareness of the potential of technology for learning in face–to–face training sessions, through blended learning and through on–line learning, in order to establish a culture of innovation in the SMEs in which they work.

The paper will also analyse the methodology adopted in the "Webquest for HRM project". In conclusion, the authors will present a full evaluation of the project activities and will explore the success or otherwise of all initial hypotheses.
Collaborative Blended Learning Model (CBLM), Webquest 2.0, Continuing Professional Training (CPT), Human Resource Management, Web 2.0.