Help Seeking tool: moving beyond local trusted networks into wider professional networks

The Help Seeking tool main aim is to support people in moving beyond local trusted networks into wider professional networks so that the exchange of opinions and discussions has the potential to be shared more widely. In this sense, the Help Seeking tool is based on a low-barrier approach that collects Questions & Answers (Q/A) typically asked in practice. Q/A can be discussed peer to peer in public or private groups of discussion. The main aim is to support seeking support among professionals in Personal Learning Networks and ensures that question and answers provided are easily accessible. Besides, tagging features will be provided to enrich and personalize the available learning resources (i.e. discussions) and colleagues’ profiles.  Social semantic analysis techniques will be applied to build patterns connecting people with people, people and data and data with data. This semantic analyzed data will be used to recommend more capable peers, or similar solved questions related to the problem sought by the user. The connection between different people with similar topics of interest will potentially allow the user to find new trusted colleagues and groups of discussion, supporting the building, maintenance and activation of new connections.  These recommendations mechanisms seems to be a key issue to aggregating trust among healthcare professionals (i.e. Practice Managers, Nurses, GPs…), and scaffold help seeking learning in a networked workplace context through the exchange of questions and answers. So the Help Seeking Tool in combination with the Social Semantic Server will be therefore scaffolding a collaborative ‘temporal context for development’ based on the original idea of Zone of Proximal Development proposed by Vygotsky, L. S. (1930/1980).  In particular, nurses and healthcare assistants mainly rely on face to face support and help seeking, meaning that they are restricted in terms of who they can ask especially as opportunities for taking time away from the clinic to attend cross-organisational training or networking events are limited. Ideally the Nurses and HCAs would like the opportunity to seek and develop opinion and information from and compare practices with a wider set of people.

As the image below shows, the current version of the Help Seeking tool is developed by following a responsive design in WordPress allowing the possibility of understanding the different uses in multiple devices.


The following video shows this work in progress, implemented collaboratively through a set of co-design activities (in particular three workshops done during 2014) with the Healthcare staff and the Learning Layers researchers and developers. The presentation also explains how the Help Seeking tool is using the lens of Vygostky theory. Technical details of the current implementation are described at the ends of the video.


Some comments collected during the workshops shows the benefits of co-designing the Help Seeking tool with the Healthcare staff:

  • “There are times when you need to share your findings or have a certain query, this can be time consuming whilst another PN may already have this knowledge/expertise, therefore it can be an effective tool.”
  • ““I can see this being a very useful tool once I have connected to the right people”
  • “I didn’t see the benefit of LinkedIn but I do for this”

A third workshop is planed for the end of September 2014, results from workshops 1 and 2 will be used to implement a new version of the Help Seeking tool according to the co-design process.



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