Dual-T – Phase II: Project 7 – Fostering complex problem-solving with augmented tangibles

A central problem in the training of apprentices is that school tends to be too theoretical and apprentices are not able to transfer the examples to their practice. At the workplace, apprentices do not have the opportunity to practice the competences that they are taught in school.

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The central research question of this project, directly managed by EPFL in the framework of the leading house, is to find out under which conditions educational technologies can be used to connect the learning locations, i.e. to enable the integration of theoretical concepts in concrete experience.


The intervention entails using a small-scale model of a warehouse in the classroom as a basis for problem-solving exercises relating closely to workplace practice. The learning environment should allow apprentices to practice organisational and managerial skills, and at the same time allow teachers to model expert problem-solving.
The components used in the project are as follows:

  1. TinkerTable: this is a tabletop learning environment which allows apprentices to build small-scale models of a warehouse using physical objects like wooden shelves, docks and rooms as well as metallic pillars, all scaled at 1:16.
  2. TinkerLamp: this is a lighter and portable version of the TinkerTable. It consists of a projector and camera mounted in a metal casing which is suspended above a regular classroom table by an aluminium gooseneck. Shelves, pillars and docks are scaled at 1:48. Four TinkerLamps are now installed and used in a Swiss vocational school.

More information on this specific subproject can be found on the EPFL website.

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