HELP – Home Electronics Laboratory Platform – is a European Erasmus+ project that is working to produce effective, at-home lab kits for students learning remotely. The project will run for 2 years between 2021 and 2023.
The concept for this project was a result of the urgent need for learning at a distance due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As many students were forced into at-home learning while education institutes were closed to maintain social distancing, their hands-on education that would usually be experienced in laboratory experiments was greatly impacted.
HELP proposes to create innovative lab kits that can be used by students to carry out lab exercises and experiments to build knowledge in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields at home. The bespoke kits will be beneficial for distance learning, and blended approaches with a mix of at-home, virtual and on-campus sessions to achieve the necessary experience and education in building circuits.
- Munster Technological University, Ireland (Coordinator)
- Universitatea Tehnica Cluj-Napoca, Romania
- Universidad Nacional de Educacion a Distancia, Spain
- Aalborg Universitet, Denmark
The HELP project consist of 3 core elements:
- HELP KIT
The take-home lab kit for carrying out experiments
- HELP COURSES
Guides and information packs to assist students to complete the learning activities and exercises
- HELP ONLINE
An online platform dedicated to the HELP project that provides a space for educators and students to collaborate on project ideas.
Throughout the duration of the HELP project, the partners will work collaboratively on bringing together their experiences of developing hands-on, virtual or remote laboratory experiments. The prototype HELP KIT will be developed on the basis of the partners’ requirements for their educational programmes. The effectiveness of each prototype will be analysed after a testing period with students in each partner institution.
To ensure effective testing is possible the partners will integrate the prototype HELP KITs into the curriculum in their respective institutions. To support the students and educators involved in the testing period, HELP courseware will be shared as an Open Education Resource within the HELP ONLINE platform.
HELP ONLINE will be developed as a supportive online network to facilitate further learning for students and collaboration between educators. The platform will provide space for content to be shared as open source resources for completing laboratory work. HELP ONLINE will provide an online forum dedicated to sharing and disseminating HELP knowledge and resources.
The HELP project will assess the impact of the HELP KIT, HELP COMMUNITY and HELP ONLINE to enable conclusions to be drawn on the efficacy of the equipment and platform in enabling distance, remote and blended education. The finalized design and specification of the KIT will be disseminated along with a ‘Best practices’ guide for use in other education institutes.
The project commenced in May 2021, with the first virtual meeting between partners taking place on 19th May to launch the project and coordinate tasks to provide the first prototype lab kit available for use in January 2022.