Just Doing It: The Role of Experiential Learning and Integrated Curricula in Architectural Education

By Lara Mackintosh.

Published by The International Journal of Pedagogy and Curriculum

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: April 25, 2014 $US5.00

Transformative learning has been identified as contributing to the success of education programs in engendering sustainable behaviour in the built environment. In professional degree programs such as architecture, what impact does the nature of the learning experience of students have on the opportunities for transformation? Transformative learning is supported by opportunities for critical reflection, increased self-awareness of learning, and visible demonstration of progress. The teaching of design in architecture includes many of these elements, but in other core teaching, such as culture and science, the learning experience tends to be more transmissive in its nature. This paper will explore examples of alternative methods of architectural education which include experiential learning - learning by doing as a way of developing understanding and making meaning - and integrated curriculum – using the information and skills learnt in one subject to explore ideas in another. By investigating the learning experiences as a system, and considering the different contexts in which learning can take place, an ethno-methodological approach will be used to identify and document key elements of the transformative learning experience. The findings from this investigation will inform the development of a pedagogical framework for environmental education, such as architecture.

Keywords: Architecture, Transformative, Learning, Education, Pedagogy

International Journal of Pedagogy and Curriculum, Volume 20, Issue 3, April 2014, pp.67-78. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: April 25, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 706.761KB)).

Lara Mackintosh

Lecturer, Department of Architecture and Interior Architecture, School of Built Environment, Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia, Australia

Lara Mackintosh has over fifteen years’ experience in the profession working in the residential, retail and educational sectors. Now, as an academic in Perth at Curtin University School of Built Environment, Lara has been developing her keen interest sustainability in architecture through her research and teaching practice. Her current research activities are associated with developing a holistic approach to architecture, in which the social, economic and environmental issues of sustainability in the built environment can be addressed both through practice and the education of architects. Lara is currently exploring this as a PhD candidate. The focus of her thesis is the development of a pedagogical framework for environmental education to support long term sustainable behaviour.