URDE - ( Center for Urban and Regional Development and Environment )


iSIMPLY: Innovative SocIal Media Pedagogy Learning Pathways
iSIMPLY aims to create an innovative social media collaborative learning model & associated e-environment where the use of social media tools will enable social media marketing professionals to interact, while the system extracts knowledge from this interaction which will later be structured and reused as training content, in an effort to help the new wave of social media marketers understand the potential of social media as a direct marketing tool – thus apart from introducing innovation in using advanced knowledge representation, discovery and extraction tools from user generated content in social media applications for the purposes of feeding e-training services, iSIMPLY will enable the acquisition of social media marketing skills.

The created social learning & collaborative model & system & the interaction through social media tools will allow marketing professionals to interact and collaborate using the offered social media tools, while extracting inherent user knowledge (from user interactions & generated content) subsequently creating, based on a set of domain ontologies (per social media marketing field & respective deployed tool), mining and reasoning methods, respective training content to feed formal learning processes within known open source LMSs (to integrate the devised tools and host the respective virtual communities). The adaptation of this innovative paradigm in learning will enable Target Group (TG) users to interact as they usually do while at the same time, evaluating posts, comments & suggestions by other users online. Such tagging and evaluation will support the automated extraction of valuable knowledge stemming from communities, presented to training experts in the marketing field for further validation and feeding into formal learning processes. This process will be further facilitated by the use of content templates & training structures to create & upload learning objects for sustainable use.
Upon the project’s completion the social media learning model & integrated e-environment will be valuable assets for social media marketing specialists to understand, reach and communicate with consumers in online social communities, while at the same time, providing best practice for advancing existing learning and training processes.
The project’ s concrete objectives are:
iSIMPLY aims to make the 1st step towards understanding & modelling the processes & practices of social media participation to set the ground for future learning through these tools and environments that can exploit the vast and evolving amount of social-based information produced daily, can validate and evaluate this type of learning and include it even in its formal processes (educational institutions, organizations, businesses, etc.). Research (in related magazines, online, ICT and educational reviews, discussions with educationalists etc) show that this approach is completely new.
Innovative character
ability to be reused in other sector/branches.
The methodology used to devise the work plan was based on investigating the view of each partner and develop a set of work packages in line with the project aims and objectives as well as the intended products and outcome.
As far as the actual work plan is concerned, iSimply will initiate work through the investigation into learning and pedagogical models that can be drawn from experiences in formal learning so as to identify the one best suited to be adopted as social learning model for each target group (TG). Furthermore a validation of user models of relative tools as well as the definition of user and system services will be conducted through dialogue with different TGs to which a significant number of partners have links to (IoE, GRETA, Izmir, Mindjumpers and CCI BN). This work is undertaken in WP3 along with the exact scenario topics selection and the overall system architecture definition in terms of services to be provided. 
Based on those, WP4 will design the environment where the TGs will interact online. The user scenarios will practically implement the social learning model (WP3) and the selected pedagogical structure to guide the TG members coming from VET and HEI through the system while the partners will create 15 learning objects in the field of marketing that will be integrated with the user scenarios available on the online community. The LO’s will be SCORM compliant so as to maximize their usability and interoperability. 
The outcomes of WP4 will provide the necessary input for WP5 in order to follow generic guidelines and studied cases of social interaction of online communities under a variety of use contexts (as studied in WP4) so as to devise methods and tools for targeted knowledge capturing from within communities’ social interactions in the addressed thematic of iSIMPLY (social media marketing).
Once the user requirements are specified, the design and development of the tools which will extract the inherit knowledge from the user interactions online as well as the iSIMPLY e-environment’s services and content, WP6 will develop the environment and  integrate all tools (developed in WP5) in order for the marketing professionals and students to test it in WP7, where the interested target group members (VET and HEI) will be able to participate in the online environment and try out all services and products available. These pilots of WP7 will provide useful feedback and evaluation of the developed system. 
WPs such as project management (WP1), Quality Assurance (WP2) and Dissemination (WP8) will be WPs running throughout the duration of the project ensuring smooth execution of the project tasks and high quality results (WP1), a cohesive dialog and subsequently develop awareness of potential quality issues assurance (WP2) as well as wide dissemination of project results and awareness towards target groups and user communities (WP7). Finally, WP9 will ensure ways to exploit and sustain project outcomes beyond the project end.
The project has partners in 6 member states: researchers, specialists on social media marketing, e-learning experts and VET trainers, HEI representatives that have experience in European projects and a strong track record in academic achievement. The consortium setup was aligned with the project objectives: a) a social media learning model, b) use cases for different TGs, c) a virtual learning community with social media tools, d) a methodology for innovative content creation, e) taxonomies and ontologies for tagging and domain knowledge representation as well as algorithms for knowledge discovery & extraction, f) training content for the TG, g) validation of informal and formal learning through pilots and h) dissemination of project outcomes to strengthen its impact. Partners throughout Europe with expertise in all these fields comprise the project’s consortium.
IoE has significant expertise on pedagogies and learning models for social media learning and tools training. IoE will be the leader on defining the learning model that will be adopted within the system. IoE will also assist in defining social media learning good practices and training content, as it constitutes a HEI provider with links to marketing students.
AIT and SQLearn are key partners for the design and development of the e-environment and the algorithms and techniques for knowledge representation & extraction. SQLearn has significant experience in EU project management along with a strong background on the design, development and use of social media tools. Thus, SQLearn will be responsible for the development of the project’s virtual learning community with social media tools and will also participate in the validation of learning through pilots. AIT through its proven experience in e-learning can provide its powerful Web 2.0 e-learning platform for content and extracted knowledge assets import and use as part of respective training e-courses, and will lead research on knowledge domain ontologies as well as knowledge extraction algorithms & tools.
Izmir, Mindjumpers, CCI BN and Greta bring the user perspective. Izmir’s expertise from its daily practice as VET and HEI provider will assist in specifying the requirements of the different groups. Mindjumpers through its activities in helping businesses and individuals communicating through social media will assist in gathering the requirements for social media marketers, for defining good practices and for social media content development. CCI BN due to its strong links with stakeholders will be responsible for increasing awareness about the to-date status of the project to the target group members and disseminate the results of the project. Greta, due to its strong connections with VET centres and providers will be involved in requirements’ gathering, lead the pilots & contribute to dissemination since they have the necessary knowledge of communication channels to reach the selected target groups.