Conference proceeding


To deal with the new challenges they face every day, first responders (e.g. police, fire services, medical support troops) need to become more flexible and self-directed in adopting the newest innovations on disaster management: e.g. network centric operations. A ubiquitous learning environment (ULE) could support learning anywhere and anytime, facilitated by a flexible mix of mobile technologies (PDAs, game consoles e.g.) and interactive, adaptive didactical strategies. In this study, a grounded foundation is provided from which a ULE can be designed.
First, a systematic meta-review on self-directed learning was performed to define the elements that stimulate self-directedness (PsycInfo, 1967-2007). Using these elements, ULE scripts were developed and presented to first responders (n=62) using a story in pictures, combined with questionnaires.
Five elements were identified from the literature: learner control, self-regulating learning strategies, reflection, interaction with the social world and interaction with the physical world.
Next, four different ULEs were designed: (1) practicing at quiet moments during regular work, (2) enrichment of team exercises for individual learning (3) last minute learning during a crisis, (4) virtual reality simulating a crisis. Data analyses showed that the designs were considered supportive for preparation on disaster management and can fit in the organizational structure and culture.
The educational, organizational, and technological characteristics were identified from which a ULE can be built that should support self-directed learning anywhere and anytime. During the conference we will show the current state of affairs in developing and piloting a ULE for first responders.


Ubiquitous learning, Self-directed learning, Meta-review, Pilots, First Responders

picture of N.C.M. Theunissen

Last updated on 12 February, 2015.