The Aniphi platform: a tool to enable exchange between the learners

Aniphi has been developed during the Anicare project to enable open and at-distance training on animal welfare triggered by the use of films of farmers’ practices. The platform is based on a socio-constructivist approach: collecting the conceptions related to a problem situation, enabling a confrontation of points of view, and creating new cognitive dissonances based on movies of breeder practices reviewed by the breeders themselves and by scientists.

The main interest of the platform is to allow for students to express their views anonymously and by using their own words and therefore expressing their values and perspectives freely.
Specifically, Aniphi defines 4 main steps for the pedagogical process: (1) individually, the learner analyses a problem situation: the participant is invited to answer to a case study, a dilemma or a philosophical question; their answer is anonymous; (2) a synthesis of the reaction of the proposals made by all the participants is presented to the participants; the participant will have to give their opinions about each proposal; (3) the percentage of points of view for each proposal is presented to the participants who are invited to reflect upon their previous perspectives in light of what other students have thought and give their feedback; (4) films of breeder practices reviewed by the breeders themselves and by scientists are proposed to the participants. They are chosen by the educators from a database (e.g. the Anicare database) according to the problem situation and the main obstacles observed. In this last round, the participants finally give their final opinion about the problem situation.
After this at-distance activity, a face-to-face debate with the participants can be led about specific issues which emerged from the first steps.
According to our own experience, Aniphi by itself is not sufficient to propose a complete learning process by itself. The participants need to have some face-to-face steps. Usually, we suggest the following process: (1) to enable informal exchange between participants (face-to-face or at distance) to break the ice, and to create a friendly atmosphere; (2) to encourage learners to get involved on the Aniphi platform through a problem situation; (3) to propose a face-to-face debate with the goal of highlighting the main problems under discussion, the main proposals, and the solutions put forward related to the problem situation.

Pitfalls and recommendations

Occasionally participants require help to create their passwords. Sometimes emails sent by the leader are considered as spam. It is therefore necessary to take time to check with the participants that the e-exchanges are proceeding correctly.

The time required for the process is a tricky point. Some participants consider that the time allocated to the steps is too long, others say it is too short. As this student says: “It shouldn't take too long or we'll get bored and lost.”
It depends on the habits of each participant, their use of the internet, but also their style of learning (some of them like to have a focus for a while, others like to change activity quickly). The time that the leader will define is a compromise between those who will respond quickly and those who will ask for more time. It is important to respect the participants while maintaining the group dynamic.