Aaltodoc publication archive (Aalto University institutional repository)
School of Business | Department of Management Studies | MSc program in Management and International Business | 2015
Thesis number: 14101
Creating a home for experiential learning - A story of Design Loft in Graz University of Technology
|Title:||Creating a home for experiential learning - A story of Design Loft in Graz University of Technology|
|Year:||2015 Language: eng|
|Department:||Department of Management Studies|
|Academic subject:||MSc program in Management and International Business|
|Index terms:||johtaminen; management; oppiminen; learning; kokemus; experience; toimitilat; premises; toimintatutkimus; action research; tuotekehitys; product development; innovaatiot; innovations; projektit; projects|
» hse_ethesis_14101.pdf size:3 MB (2552844)
|Key terms:||experiential learning, physical space, social space, mental space, action research, Product Innovation Project|
Today's graduates, regardless of their discipline, need thinking and working skills, which help them to tackle complex real-life problems and challenges that cannot be solved with rational and straightforward problem solving.
Environments, which support project-, problem-, and passion-based learning, or more broadly experiential learning, are needed to teach graduates soft and practical skills. Hence, there is a need to redesign traditional classrooms and learning spaces to support this non-theory-lead learning. The focus is on how we are learning, instead on what we are learning.
This thesis builds on the development that took place in a product development course Product Innovation Project. Hosted by Graz University of Technology in Austria, the course is based on the approach of experiential learning, with students working in interdisciplinary teams and developing physical prototypes in collaboration with industry sponsors for one academic year. This thesis was initiated to better support the learning experience and develop a physical space which would support the different steps of product development such as prototyping, ideation, and team working, and be a place for the students and faculty to meet, get together, and interact.
The main body of the data for the study was collected during an intensive three-month development period from October 2013 to December 2013 in TU Graz, as the researcher took the role of an action researcher, helping to develop and set up the new learning environment. The findings for this study are a result of thorough analysis of participatory observation field notes, and semi-structured open interviews conducted in April 2014. The data has been supported with literature from the fields of experiential learning, theories of affordances, communities of practice, and spatial design.
As a result, the thesis depicts how the learning environment supporting experiential learning was set up, and introduces the new ways of working that the space afforded. The study describes how the physical, social, and mental space was developed by redesigning the assigned office space, involving the users in the development process, agreeing on common rules and practices, bringing life inside with events, and setting an example on how to utilize the new space while also supporting the local stakeholders taking ownership of the space. For example, informal events increased the feeling of togetherness, and decreased the barrier for communication. The Design Loft became a comfortable home base, where it was possible to combine work and fun, spend time, and relax. Hopefully the results can inspire anyone who is passionate about developing better learning culture, and setting up an experiential learning environment.
Electronic publications are subject to copyright. The publications can be read freely and printed for personal use. Use for commercial purposes is forbidden.