How Life Tailored Learning was developed

Developing process of the methodology was somehow staccato style…

It got ready practically in 2007, during a two-semesters educators’ course at the National University of Defense. The university coursebook of the methodology was published by them in 2008.

In the autumn semester of 2008-2009 the subject “Self-supported learning in the age of informatics” was announced at the University of Pécs, Faculty of Adult Education and Human Resources Development. Lectures were given by me and between the lectures I had virtual contact with the learners. Despite of the long time agreement the subject hasn’t continued.

Meanwhile the Budapest Training Technology Centre got an adult courses’ accreditation for life-tailored learning, and the Hungarian Institute for Culture and Art got an accreditation for courses for people working on the field of culture.

There was a learning material development project using the methodology of life-tailored learning for Novell, on the operating system openSUSE, the word processor OpenOffice.org Writer, the spreadsheet OpenOffice.org Calc and the presenter OpenOffice.org Impress.

In the school year 2010/11. I was teaching at the Szent István University, Faculty of Applied Arts, in Jászberény. I had several subjects: chiefly it was the “E-learning and learning material development” where we used the methodology of life-tailored learning.

In 2011 I contributed in some learning material updating for open and flexible learning at the University Pannonia, Faculty of Economics.

And then there came some bizarre events.

The Szekszárd faculty of the University of Pécs (where they train, among others, social workers) wanted to apply a tender on “social informatics” in  2011. They wanted to take a faculty of the University of Szeged into: also that faculty trains social workers. And somebody at that faculty knew me (she even invited me to make a methodology presentation some years former); so I happened to be involved in the preparation work – so much that life tailored learning was accepted as the methodology of the project. What else: my proposal on a methodology textbook was accepted as well: the plans were widened with a bilingual methodology textbook. I had some connections at Jászberény at that time: I contacted some workmates from the faculty where I had been working.

It turned out in November that the application didn’t win.

The deputy director from Szekszárd met me in December. She proposed me to join the faculty as an educator: let’s start with the development work: there must be some financial background somehow in the future. We agreed… and it turned out in January that the the application yet won.

So I begun teaching at the faculty and at the same time I was the professional head of the project, developing 5 training materials on informatics, and one bilingual one on methodology.

The next twist came in 2013, by the new and unique subject “Social informatics”.

I’m going to share secrets now: keep your eyes closed while reading!

As the professional head of a training material developing project, I had to face a huge problem in 2013.

By the original plans the project would have been started in January, 2012; and by the spring semester of the scholar year 2012/13 educators would have been prepared to perform pilot courses. But there was some delay at the start, some delay later… in January, 2013 even the manuscripts were not ready… but after June it is impossible to make pilot courses. So we had 5 months to finish the manuscripts, to vet them, to train the educators and to perform pilot courses.

This was the moment when I started a new subject: Social informatics. I told some of my former students the idea; and soon there were 27 students who wanted to attend the new subject: even foreigners, participants of an Erasmus programme.

I organised sub-groups for the project manuscripts each. They got the manuscripts, and, with a step by step study on the methodology, they finished, completed, corrected them!

So, by the end of the semester, the training materials were ready; the pilot courses were performed (since real students really went through all the materials); meantime all professional corrections could be made as well, and educators had enough time to be prepared.

And, as a side-effect: some students and educators became so skilled in the methodology and so enthusiastic about it, that in April we could form a University Research Group.

So now Life-Tailored Learning has a university coursebook; it has been studied at 7 universities/faculties in Hungary, mostly by would-be teachers and adult trainers; I have got a PhD degree for a dissertation on this methodology; and there is also a university research group on Life-Tailored Learning, at the oldest university in Hungary.

This was the story until now; I hope you could feel it edifying and amusing.

I’ve almost forgotten to tell: I started to make a workbook. I should give some easy-to-use tool, I thought, to those, who don’t want to (or can’t for any reason) deal with the methodology in depth, but want to use it for developing a learning material. My plan is some set of forms: do this, control that, and if you find everything in order, turn a page and go on;… It is brewing slowly, since I deal with it in my spare time (as I do with this homepage too); but it will be useful when it will be ready.

Meanwhile in 2011 I became the board member at the “Multimedia in the education” section of John von Neumann Computer Society. I am going to establish a methodology group; at the yearly conference “Multimedia in the education” I establish a methodology section; and in the Journal of Applied Multimedia (JamPaper) I launch a methodology column. I am searching partners!