pPlan: a Personal Development Planning & Mentoring tool

I don’t want to repeat what can currently read on the tools site https://pplan-prototype1.herokuapp.com  (offline now https://my.pplan.xyz), or seen in the planning essentials sheet or  user guide page .  Also problems/questions this prototype is trying to answer can be seen in the survey.  So the four screenshots below are intented to give a quick insight into how the tool can be used from a mentors point of view, although the metees view is not hugely different as the user guide illustrates.

Figrure 1 below is the dashboard of a user who has a mentor themself, but is also a mentor to three individuals. The dashboard displays links to the boards of these three mentees as well as links to request other mentors/mentees and withdraw informed consent.  Note: click images to enlarge

pPlan Dashboard
figure 1: pPlan Dashboard of user who is a mentor to 3 individuals

Figure 2 below is a “mentors” view on their “mentee’s” Board (Grid-mapped view).  The idea is users can develop their plans by creating different ideal situations/goals to which they can add one or many SMART plans… All of whcih can receive inline feedback from authorised mentors:

Mentors view of mentees board
figure 2: Mentors view of mentees board (Grid-mapped view) – where inline feedback on artefacts can be given by mentors

Although the prototype attempts to capture the minimum “background” information a mentor might need from a student by including a “Current Situation” description section and a Values inventory, from feedback on the tool already received it is clear the chief selling point is the structure provided to the student and mentor to model the thinking and planning process for future events – and receive inline feedback. For example, this overarching student planning board encompasses achieving course success and career planning: https://my.pplan.xyz/board/grid-mapped-view/14/

This board is more focused only supporting the internship placement: https://my.pplan.xyz/board/grid-mapped-view/5/

(NOTE: these are “view only” links – you need to setup a pPlan account to use tool)

Figure 3 below is an administrator view displaying some of the tools backend administration.  The tool has been built using the python Django webframework and is hosted securely in the cloud.

pPlan Administration
Figure 3: pPlan Administrator portal

Figure 4 below is a site map showing most of the pages the inter relationships

Figure4: Site map of the pPlan prototype

To be clear this is a prototype tool being beta tested online now (August & September 2018).  So feedback is welcome and will be useful in helping to decide future development.

Notes from the Learning Analytics and Knowledge (#LAK16) Conference

My colleague at LSBM Karen Stepanyan, and I spent the week (April 25-29) at LAK 16 in Edinburgh.  Also taking in the ending Key note for Learning@Scale.  Here I record a few notes under three headers, and re-present slides that resonated with me.  As part of the week I participated in these workshops:


Note 1:
Analytics on a live performance (presenting slides in this case)

Somebody at a music college gave me some feedback on their institutions progress with the Canvas LMS. I asked them what might be of interest at LAK16, and they responded: the analytics of performance. Being a musician of sorts myself this was interesting. This paper from Cross-LAK was the closest I encountered to the analytics of a performance: Towards a distributed framework to analyze multimodal data
Vanessa Echeverria, Federico Domínguez and Katherine Chiluiza

Abstract: Data synchronization gathered from multiple sensors and its corresponding reliable data analysis has become a difficult challenge for scalable multimodal learning systems. To tackle this particular issue, we developed a distributed framework to decouple the capture task from the analysis task through nodes across a publish/subscription server…

What was most of interest to me: To see a system with automatic analysis and reporting on the quality of a persons “presentation”  or “performance” – based on analysis of audio and video streams and textural analysis of presentation slides.

Application Example: Multimodal Learning System
Figure 3. Setup of the Multimodal Learning System
Multimodal Learning System- Hardware and Software
Multimodal Learning System- Hardware and Software


Note 2:
Metacognition in learning and Experience Sampling Apps @Scale

These notes are not about one paper, but about what a number of presentations/papers made me wonder.  In short: why am I not aware of an Apps/projects working at scale (~thousands of schools), to help learners, and gather data related to meta-cognition (and maybe the learners emotions as well) – perhaps using an experience sampling method (ESM)?  After all, governments around the world spend a considerable amount of money on educating young people, and it is often less effective than hoped.  This seems like a great albeit difficult project to increase the usefulness of Learning Analytics.

This was a short conversation on twitter related to the thought above. Prompted in part by discussions at the LAL workshop, this  tweet and the App described by Carrie Demmans in her short paper “English Language Learner Experiences of Formal and Informal Learning Environments” … Keywords: ubiquitous learning, experience sampling methodology, informal learning, formal learning, language learning, English language learner, communication, affect, analytics.  Youtube video of presentation

Experience Sampling Methodology - Mobile App
Experience Sampling Methodology – Mobile App. From Carrie Demmans Epp’s LAK short paper: English language learner experiences of formal and informal learning environments

Also I have always thought one of the values of being introduced to the concept of ‘Preferred Learning styles’ was it gets us thinking about how we learn, and the most efficient ways of learning for our selves – meta-cognition.  However “There presently is no empirical justification for tailoring instruction to student’s supposedly different learning styles”.  This is a slide from Prof. dr. Paul A. Kirschner’s keynote lecture

Looking at wrong or invalid variables
Dystopia 3: Looking at wrong or invalid variables

…So this is what got me thinking about Metacognition in learning, and developing Experience Sampling Apps @Scale


Note 3:
New Forms of Assessment

A Dispatch from the Psychometric Front by Professor Robert J. Mislevy.  This was another interesting lecture…Examples applications using new forms of assessment discussed are shown in this slide below: SimCityEDU; Packet Tracer – Cisco Networking Academy….

A Dispatch from the Psychometric Front by Professor Robert J. Mislevy
A Dispatch from the Psychometric Front by Professor Robert J. Mislevy


Useful resources

Doug Clow’s Live blogs: https://dougclow.org/lak16-liveblogs/

Moodle code to add grades & course links to Profile & ILP pages

This is a short-ish posting to ensure reasonable consistency between the posts here on my blog, with posts I’ve made on the Moodle.org site.  Amongst other things the Personalized Learning Environment (PLE) I developed for Stanmore College, is now proving useful in helping students navigate their courses in Moodle, & tracking which BTEC criteria they have achieved *.   I have made the basic Moodle PHP code for this available on Github.com.  The following files illustrate the basics of displaying grades & links in the /user/profile.php,  & might help other benefit.

In the following file, see line 346:

The above links are also at: https://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=226791&parent=1062462 & are illustrated by https://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=235598

All this should make more sense to interested parties when I post my #ALTC2013 presentation, which provides the broader context for  and includes * early evidence.  Following this I plan to make  demonstration site http://www.thelearner.net  & code available for these PLE enhancements  – applied to Moodle 2.6 🙂

Proposing some standard parts in all online evironments to support learning

A primary interest of mine is supporting students development, & an important aspect of this is facilitating communication.  @Stanmore college we have implemented what could be called an online “Personalised Learning Environment” (PLE) .  This YouTube screen-cast should give you some insight.  However in my experience it would do no harm if all maintained schools provided certain things as standard to staff & parents online.

In a recent book called “14-18 a new vision for secondary education” by Kenneth Baker (a former secretary of state for education), Mike Tomlinson and others makes a number of recommendations.  The fundamental recommendations being establishing more middle schools for 9-13yrs, and improving the options we offer 14-18 year olds and their families.

It makes the point that we should learn from other countries with lower youth unemployment, and create (~3) substantial, popular & respected alternative pathways to GCSEs @16yrs, and  Alevels @18yrs.  Although it suggests that all 14-18 yr old should have a broad education including English, Maths, Sport, Science… it suggests a larger part of all students learning should be making connections with the real world of work and the jobs we do.  The following PLE diagram includes a page supporting learning pathway choices at 14 & career advice . The diagram should be seen in conjunction with this screen-cast of an initial implementation http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1qYId0FKm4E

#Click image to enlarge

Personalised Learning Environment PLP Draft Proposal
Standard Parts of Personalised Learning Environment PLP Draft Proposal