Intellectual Outputs

OUTPUT IDENTIFICATION 01
ARCHITECTURE OF THE E-LEARNNG PLATFORM
ACTIVITY LEADING ORGANISATION: EDUFOR

Output Description
The development of the web platform will be based on a ‘blended’ approach. This approach provides a significant learning opportunity as it combines the immediacy of communication among the instructor and the learners and the irreplaceable practical training in laboratories or in the field with the convenience, flexibility and self-regulation of education without time and space constraints.

Moodle, a free open source web application, will be used for producing the modular Internet based training programme.

The Moodle platform will be interconnected and integrated with other applications that enable sharing and collaborative work and multimedia applications, including applications for mobile devices (tablets and smartphones).

OUTPUT IDENTIFICATION O2
OPERATIONAL E-LEARNING PLATFORM
ACTIVITY LEADING ORGANISATION:
NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM - UNIVERSITY OF CRETE
Output Description

The proposed e-learning platform that will support the e-learning services is the Open Software Learning Management System MOODLE.  It is a well-known and well supported LMS platform with a large number of modules to support different needs, while implementing the e-learning process. Hosting and administration of the platform are important issues that should be well designed and applied in order to provide data reliability, availability and security.

The e-learning platform will be installed in the data centre of University of Crete (UOC) and will be customised to the needs of the project.  The administration of the platform will ensure the functionality on daily basis and design backup procedures to ensure data availability and security.  Upgrades will be applied periodically to the platform as well as the installation of available modules that might be needed, to support the e-learning features.  The utilisation of the platform will be shown through usage statistics. Users will be supported by providing answers to technical questions and information regarding the access and use of the platform, as well as management of their accounts.

OUTPUT IDENTIFICATION O3
TUTOR GUIDE/MANUAL: BIOTALENT PLATFORM - HOW TO USE?
ACTIVITY LEADING ORGANISATION: EDUFOR
Output Description

The overall aim of the development of a tutorial is to train the tutors and project Partners in the use of blended and e-learning techniques. This online manual will help and instruct tutors on how to use the e-learning platform during the course: IT support, how to upload material, how to communicate, evaluate, present and inform on all aspects necessary for the implementation of the various modules.

OUTPUT IDENTIFICATION O4
COURSE CURRICULUM
ACTIVITY LEADING ORGANISATION: HUNGARIAN NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM
Output Description

The curriculum is a normative collection of documents that will set the framework for the learning programme and refers to the design, organisation and planning of the learning activities.  It will be based on the “Report on e-learning Best Practices - Employment and skills for biodiversity jobs” (O11) in order to take into account a) all strong improvements that can be implemented, compared to the existing e-learning training seminars worldwide on the relevant issues and b) the necessary skills for job seekers needed for the biodiversity labour market. The documents will be available online and also represented in the course brochure.

INTELLECTUAL OUTPUT 05
ONLINE LEARNING COMPONENT: GENERAL MODULE/CASE STUDY MODULE
ACTIVITY LEADING ORGANISATION: HUNGARIAN NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM
Output Description

The pilot course will target biodiversity and climate change using climate sensitive model species in order to develop learners’ competences in those key fields. The training programme will be centred on two groups of model organisms (herpetofauna: amphibians/reptiles & medically important plants) on which best practices in blended educational programmes in biodiversity can be worked out and demonstrated. Learners will gain insight into the problem of biodiversity loss and climate change and will learn about the model organisms that:
1. reflect the profound changes of the global environment, and
2. show painfully what we are losing.

The 80 learner hours blended educational programme of the BIOTALENT project will consist of two main learning components: (i) an online component with two theoretical modules (40 learner hours) and (ii) an attended component with one training-on-the-job module (40 learner hours). The pilot course will run over 6 months.

The online component (i) is split into a general module (biodiversity/climate change/collections/labour market) (20 learner hours) and a case study module: learners can choose either herpetofauna (20 learner hours) or medicinal plants (20 learner hours) as case study organisms. 

The online component comprises one General module and two Case study modules.
Learners of the course will study online both independently and with tutors with a split of: 50% guided learning (videos, presentations, notes to read, quizzes etc.) and 50% own research (producing an essay, presentation etc.). This gives learners the opportunity to learn at their own pace. The tutor mediated sessions (2 tutors/module) will be set on specific dates and times within the time frame of the module. For the synchronous component (2-3 hours/module) the group of learners will be split into smaller groups and carried out in several sessions at different times.

Audience
The online part of the course aims at unlimited participation and provides open access to anyone interested to join the course. Given the training topic there is a huge potential audience to reach but as a pilot course in the present project the audience will be limited to 400, enabling a good follow up and analysis. To promote and market the blended e-learning course to potential participants various strategies will be used as described in the dissemination plan and a call for learners to register will be issued (M19). 

Language
Most of the educational material of the online part of the course will be delivered in the Partners' native language.  English as the international language of science, will be the primary language for communication in the synchronous phase.

INTELLECTUAL OUTPUT 06
ATTENDED LEARNING COMPONENT: CASE STUDIES - SCIENTIFIC COLLECTIONS WORK AND FIELD TRAINING
ACTIVITY LEADING ORGANISATION: HUNGARIAN NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM
Output Description

The attended component of the pilot course with the training-on-the-job module (40 learner hours - 5 consecutive days) will take place in Crete at the premises of Partner 4 and includes work in collections and guided field training. Through this placement, learners will put into practice the knowledge acquired during the online part of the course and will experience working directly with professionals. This will enable learners to develop and strengthen their competences through on-the-job training.

The attended component of the blended educational programme is a module combining two sessions i.e. a scientific museum collections based training session and a field session with a split of 90% guided learning (taught practical by experts in the field and in the scientific collection) and 10% supported online (preparatory exercises for the field etc.). Depending on learner’s choice between herpetofauna or medicinal plants, learners will be grouped and coached by the appropriate experts.

Language
English as the international language of science, will be the primary language for communication in the attended part but if needed assistance can be given in native language of the tutors. Furthermore, as there will be an international audience this will promote communication between the learners.
The online educational material will be provided in several languages.

Audience
Due to feasibility and practical restrictions, the attended part of the pilot course will be limited to 20 learners coming from the Partners' institution. Other learners, not attending the training-on-the-job, can follow the course via the recorded videos.

OUTPUT IDENTIFICATION O7
OUTPUT TITLE LEARNERS ASSESSMENT TOOLS
ACTIVITY LEADING ORGANISATION: NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM - UNIVERSITY OF CRETE
Output Description

Assessment of each learner’s learning achievement, general performance and effort will be performed for each of the training modules (online and attended) and a final evaluation will be conducted that will lead to a course certificate. A variety of assessment techniques that align to learning outcomes and work well in an online environment will be used. Built-in tools of the e-learning platform will offer the possibility to evaluate and assess the learning and training activities.

OUTPUT IDENTIFICATION O8
OUTPUT TITLE VALIDATION PLAN AND COURSE CERTIFICATES
ACTIVITY LEADING ORGANISATION: NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM - UNIVERSITY OF CRETE
Output Description

The project will investigate how competences and learning outcomes of the BIOTALENT training programme might link into a system of validation and will examine existing certification systems, ECVET, or systems such as ‘Open Badges’ to identify feasibility and fitting. Criteria for successful completion will be identified. Learners who have successfully completed the BIOTALENT training programme will receive the BIOTALENT course certificate.

The Validation Plan will document how learning outcomes will link to a certification system in
order to provide training certificates.
The project will investigate how competences and learning outcomes of the BIOTALENT training programme might link into a system of validation and will examine existing certification systems, such as ECVET (European Credit System for Vocational Education and Training), “Open Badges”, etc.

The Validation Plan will document how learning outcomes will link to a certification system in order to provide training certificates.

OUTPUT IDENTIFICATION O9
QUALITY ASSURANCE REPORT
ACTIVITY LEADING ORGANISATION: NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM - UNIVERSITY OF CRETE
Output Description

A comprehensive Quality Assurance Plan will be developed to document the quality expectations that the whole project must achieve and the methods through which such expectations will be met. This will include an analysis and assessment of best practices related to training needs and biodiversity skills matching the labour market and audience, description of standards, indicators to measure performance, tools of verification to maximise the results the project will deliver in terms of expected outputs. The plan will be effective throughout project lifetime and will be open for review whenever necessary.

The Quality Assurance Report will formulate recommendations for assessment and quality ensuring of services for future e-learning courses development beyond project lifetime.

OUTPUT IDENTIFICATION O10   
REPORT ON E-LEARNING BEST PRACTICES - EMPLOYMENT AND SKILLS FOR BIODIVERSITY JOBS AND STEM IN GENERAL
ACTIVITY LEADING ORGANISATION: NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM - UNIVERSITY OF CRETE
Output description

This output will collect, assess, through a SWOT analysis and report the best practices from the existing e-learning training courses worldwide, on the biodiversity issues and also the necessary skills for job seekers needed for the biodiversity labour market. This Report will be taken into account when designing and scheduling the course curriculum (O4).

OUTPUT IDENTIFICATION O11
BLENDED LEARNING MODEL FOR ADAPTABLE MODULAR BIODIVERSITY TRAINING COURSES
ACTIVITY LEADING ORGANISATION: EDUFOR
Output Description

Course templates will be developed to serve as models for best practices in future training courses that will be developed beyond project lifetime. The purpose of these templates is to provide a clear starting point for future course development and this also in the wider sector of STEM. Each template will be set up into learning modules, units, or folders which can be used in fully online or blended future courses.

Learning modules are a useful way to organise learning activities and can be organised around a learning plan, a certain topic, a week in the semester, or however is decided to structure the course. A modular course design provides an instructional sequence and helps to organise the content as for BIOTALENT content providers, trainers and learners.

Creating a template will simplify new course creation and course updates for future training programmes. Each of the templates will be easy to customise by adding or deleting content or content areas.

Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith