MERGO project has the central aim to develop a new way to promote new advanced and innovative solutions based on the ultimate technologies, in order to innovate and promote the excellence in teaching in wine sector. In particular, the MERGO project aims to create an highly innovative MOOC, that has the scope to develop an open course that better meets the learning needs of students, and at the same time it is able to increase attractiveness including ICT-enriched learning.

Typical MOOCs consent a distance learning to high number of people, overcoming the logistic barriers. This implies a knowledge transmission with verbal processes (declarative learning). At the contrary, in some specific subjects, the procedural learning gains relevant role representing the practical side of learning and should go in synergy with the declarative learning. In the case of enology, viticulture and wine sector scientific field, the presence of a learning by doing approach based on the experience is decisive.

The Tangible User Interfaces (TUIs) paradigm exploits real objects, empowering them by low cost technology (RFID/NFC) that then become Smart Objects (see video https://youtu.be/8q9iISSRx7k), allowing a procedural activity. Practical activities are fundamental to put in action the theoretical skills learnt and, at the same time, reduce the MOOC dropout: an effect highly common in distance learning. In enology and wine-tasting sector, the procedural learning could directly involve the basic olfactory learning, applying in practice what he/she is studying in the MOOC. For this aim, the MERGO will redefine a methodological framework based on a student-centred learning approach, finalized in the acquisition of transferable skills in the labour market, with a highly innovative ICT tools, with the aim to apply a co-creation approach. The application of the TUIs will allow the creation of a practical home-lab for a distance learning of wine tasting.
In order to obtain this objective, the MERGO project will also meet the specific priority of the National Agency, namely “Stimulate stronger synergies between sectors and with the labour market”.

MERGO is constituted by a Partnership strongly focused on university-business cooperation, for the development of open course, co-created by HEIs (UNINA, UTMAD, CU), an association of winegrowers (VBNA), an ICT company (SM) and association on the field of wine tasting (ONAV). The project aims to propose a skill acquisition giving instruments for professionals in the wine sector meeting the needs of the labour market.

The MOOC empowered by practical activities with Tangible User Interfaces tools for the olfactory recognition of odours for the wine (wine flaws recognition, discrimination of single odour matrix, specific flavours in local wines, etc.) meets the labour market requests for different figures which could work in enology and viticulture sector in different levels (quality, production chain, industrial food sector, food services). In addition, the MOOC could increase the attractiveness for a wider public of enthusiasts, which have the possibility of a learning in autonomous way benefiting of a scientific approach.