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Toolboxes for SuperFastLearning digital contents development in STEM

Unipi Team Leader: Gualtiero Fantoni, Department of Civil and Industrial Engineering

In the last years, different pedagogical approaches have been developed by pedagogists and experts in distance learning. The most advanced approach is called “action-based learning” and refers to “all learning that is orchestrated by some activity on the part of learners” (Naidu & Bedgood, 2012). These actions may vary from real participation by learners (in building or creating something), to learners watching a video clip that is later examined, reflected on and then subject to a decision-making process. This approach can be divided into different streams and it is generally based on reversing the traditional learning process. In fact, it proposes to “start from the end”, by starting from questions, case studies, real problems, datasets and then returning to the theory behind. The four approaches referring to action-based learning that will be addressed in the project are the following: 1) inquiry-based learning, 2) problem-based learning,3) scenario-based learning, 4) dataset-based learning.
The objectives of the project are: (i) enhancing the pedagogical digital skills of the educators, offering them a set of toolboxes for easily putting these methodologies into practice; (ii) developing innovative online tools (SuperFastLearning Machines) that through data-mining extract relevant information from which developing digital contents (one for each methodology); iii) enabling lecturers and trainers to better understand the pedagogical methodologies that are behind training approaches.

The project will be carried out by four Universities (University of Pisa, that will coordinate the project, Bordeaux University, University of Zaragoza, University of Bremen and Koszalin University of Technology) and one technology provider for data mining and Natural Language Processing (Erre Quadro).
In order to reach the above-mentioned objectives, a structured methodology has been developed. The project members, organized in 4 groups composed of one Leader, one Fellow and three peer-reviewers will develop several tools that will be included in 4 Toolboxes, one for each action-based methodology addressed. Working in such groups should ensure the full involvement of all the partners in the preparation of the contents and allow an internal/external cross-fertilization process, considering also the opinion of less expert organizations. The partners will then make available the following tools: (i) SFL Machine: an IT tool adopting NLP methodologies and data-mining techniques hosted on the project website allowing to gather data and extract information using different document sources selected by the educators; (ii) theoretical background of the methodology in two versions: a) methodology in a nut-shell, for information/dissemination purposes and b) full scientific description, further researches); (iii) practical pedagogical guidelines: how to make an action-based learning lesson complying with pedagogical requirements, (iv) 9 presentations/good practices (1 prepared by IO Leader, 4 prepared by the other partners and 4 prepared by educators from other HEIs) and (v) an e-learning course to explain the use of the mentioned tools.
During the project implementation the first version of the Toolboxes will be tested by the partners and also by at least 20 external testers, thus ensuring an external validation of their contents. After the release of the final version of the toolboxes on the project website, the partners will organize in presence and online training events (webinars) in order to train as many educators from STEM faculties as possible.

When the Toolboxes will be available and an intense dissemination and exploitation phase will take place, the partners will develop an interactive tool to help researchers, lecturers and trainers to understand which is the best pedagogical strategy, among the four addressed in the project, that fits better with the features of the subject and topic they want to teach through e-learning courses. The tool consists in a number of questions on the kind of topic and subject the lecturers want to teach and his/her scopes and aims for the lecture.

The impacts on the main target group (STEM Professors, Researchers, Lecturers of STEM faculties) are:
In the short-term:
- increasing digital and pedagogical skills
- increasing knowledge on the 4 action-based methodologies
- Practicing increased digital and pedagogical skills for developing contents that will be used as a reference by other educators
- being able to select the most appropriate methodology according to the topic and subject

In the long-term:
- providing practical and handy tools to teachers more reluctant to online training
- increasing the number of students enrolling to STEM faculties, thanks to the renewal of training content
- Including the new skills for producing contents also for other purposes (frontal lessons, blended learning, ..)
- adopting NPL and data-mining techniques for solving other education problem


Other participants:


Start date: 01-04-2021

End date: 31-03-2023 

EU Grant: 299.860 €

Project website:

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Ultima modifica: Mer 02 Nov 2022 - 08:04

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