The Project

TELL ME is a project to develop and improve learning and training in smaller manufacturing environments with the use of technologies.

The aim is to bring innovative training methods to SME manufacturers so they can better supply the needs of their markets, which include larger industries.

We are looking at the current state of the art and other relevant learning methodologies. We are investigating the requirements and potential in three different industry sectors, with the intention of creating solutions that can deliver benefits to the broader SME sector generally.

The three industry sectors are:

  • supplies and maintenance for the helicopter industry
  • fitting out luxury yachts (furniture making)
  • the textile industry

The project will be completed late 2015 by a consortium in eight countries. It is supported with €5.9m funding from the European Commission, to further its aim of stimulating advanced solutions for fast and flexible deployment of learning opportunities in the workplace.

Work package 1

The first and biggest strand is to define a new methodology for technology-enhanced learning in the workplace. This involves summarising the current state of the art by looking at existing methodologies and, alongside this, analysing parallel developments in Living Labs, social learning in business ecosystems and lifelong learning techniques in industry. This knowledge is then pulled together into a new learning methodology for manufacturing environments.

IMAGES&Co was overall leader of the Year 1 part of the work strand, working with the Open University, Aarba, Alfamicro and KTH, with AIDIMA providing an end-user perspective.

This work package delivers a number of reports, including one on the current state of workplace learning methodologies, and another on the methodologies that are proposed for the future. This will enable the new approach to be technically verified and validated two years after the project begins, leaving sufficient time to make sure the delivery solutions work too.

Work package 2

The second strand concentrates on the interoperability infrastructures between the real world and the virtual world, expected to be a key factor in the future methodologies.

Building on the experience of existing “real world” platforms for the internet of things
(IoT), this strand will create a “digital world” platform for the internet of services (IoS) to provide learning support at the workplace, and a “virtual world” platform for the internet of content (IoC) for selecting, channelling and personalising content. Privacy and security will also be examined. The work is led by TXT, working with Softeco (IoS) and Polymedia (IoC). VTT will work on a Virtual / Augmented Reality platform.

This work starts six months into the project and will issue reports both on platforms and security.

Work package 3

The third strand develops distributed repositories for multimedia learning. Building on existing practice, this strand will develop a model repository for “multimedia learning content”, and ways of pulling the right content from it. It will explore the potential for social learning by looking at the OU’s Social Learning Media Cloud and similar technologies. Best practice will be defined by looking at learning experiences in different contexts and “ecosystems”. The strand will then develop its ideas and services for user-friendly selection of the right content, and for how best to present material in the different conditions and contexts that are found in industrial learning environments.

This strand is led by Polymedia, with support in Year 1 from IMAGES&Co contributing knowledge of the current practice as regards learning repositories. Other partners are the OU, TXT, KTH, VTT and DITF. The work starts six months into the project and will issue a report defining the repositories and another dealing with the concepts and services for user selection and presentation of content.

Work package 4

Starting six months in, the fourth strand looks at human considerations in the industrial workspace: human-centric design, ergonomics, wearable technologies and interactions between people and machines. VTT, overall leader of this strand, will examine how the wellbeing of blue-collar workers can best be monitored and assured. Softeco, working with Polymedia and VTT, will identify the best mobile and wearable technologies for learning (audio/speech, gesture/motion, haptics, enhanced visual displays etc) and interaction with the workplace. Also evaluated will be potential forms of human interaction with the computer (speech recognition, gestures, eye control), essential characteristics of the future manufacturing environment. Finally, KTH, working with VTT, Polymedia, Softeco and Aidima, will draw these developments together and establish an integrated learning workplace in the premises of one of our test end users.

A first draft report on devices and technologies will be published one year into the project and finalised a year later. The integration model will be also be developed in this work package.

Work package 5

This strand assesses the business impact of TELL ME: evaluating benefits for the individual (e.g. career, workplace), the business (skills requirements, competitiveness), the economy [regional ecosystems, global supply chains] and wider society (inclusivity, sustainability). A framework to monitor sustainability will be developed, with key performance indicators for measuring before-and-after impacts. The strand looks at the role of innovation and creativity as key factors enabling the TELL ME methodologies to adapt to different needs and circumstances, and so achieve successful outcomes. Finally, this strand defines a framework for achieving objectives through setting targets, identifying the variables involved in achieving them and the performance indicators by which progress is measured.

This strand is led by Alfamicro, working with TXT, IVLab and DITF. It will publish a business impact report and a framework of indicators for measuring progress.

Work package 6

Architecture, integration and testing new methodologies are addressed in this strand. In month 3 the collaborators in this group start specifying the architecture for a TELL ME system, working out with middleware, components and interfaces how the content gets from repositories to users in real, digital and virtual environments. This is followed by making a prototype of the integration, to confirm that users can access the right content in the right way using the TELL ME middleware. In parallel, a technical validation process will produce a set of implementation requirements for TELL ME and suggest modifications and improvements. This strand of work is led by TXT, working with VTT, Polymedia, Softeco and DITF.

The deliverables of this strand are an integrated architecture and technical evaluation.

Work package 7

This strand, conducted entirely by the manufacturing industry partners, looks at user requirements and validating the business case. It starts at the beginning and continues throughout the project to ensure the work is optimally informed by the end user requirements. Led by DITF collaborating with Profitex, AgustaWestland and Aidima, the group will set out scenarios and identify critical requirements, explaining how things currently work and defining the scope of applications. They will create a prototype for evaluating the social and economic impacts of TELL ME, setting out key indicators by which these can be established.

This strand will define the scenarios and requirements for the project together with a system for evaluation.

Work package 8

Pilots, take-ups and demonstrations to turn our ideas into reality will start to be produced one year into the project and continue until the end. An experimental pilot will be established at the AgustaWestland Training Academy with the aim of demonstrating improvement in helicopter maintenance processes, using methods such as video and virtual reality to refresh knowledge; wearable devices and other technologies that enable operatives to work freely in the appropriate location; voice guidance and augmented reality to guide technicians step by step; and providing a feedback mechanism for monitoring and continued improvement.

A second pilot will be set up at the Profitex textile plant to improve quality assurance of production output. Again, suitable equipment and knowledge will be deployed to support operatives in tasks such as testing materials, remedying problems, improving quality and providing feedback for continued improvement. The third and final pilot will be at a manufacturer of furniture for luxury yachts, aiming to improve training about special treatments, fabrication and installation, using techniques such as virtual reality to help programme the machines manufacturing new designs as well as to support assembly and installation.

This strand is led by TXT, working with Aarba, IV-Lab, DITF, Profitex, AgustaWestland and Aidima. The outcome is an Integrated System covering all these requirements.

Work package 9

This strand deals with dissemination and exploitation: making sure this project makes a difference beyond itself. It looks at publicising the outcomes and promoting them to the Standards Institutions. It will address the need for “training the trainers” to achieve consistent application of the methods we have developed. Finally, it will look at commercial exploitation and creating an impact.

All partners are involved in this work and a dissemination plan will be produced at the end of the project.