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Thresholds in Architectural education
Alternative learning opportunities in bridging academic and professional field in bridging the training and practice fields
By the 16th of June 2016 the Directive 2013/55/EU (Art.42,p1,4) has come into force, thus, the legislative issues and disputes over the duration of architectural education are over:
-5 years full time study at university or not less than 4+2 of professional traineeship provide the knowledge for architectural practicing. However, the amends to the Directive have opened up new issues that blur the clarity of the original statement and allow more interpretations for activities. Activities are built upon knowledge, skills and competences. Consequently, no matter how they are formulated or presented, all possibilities of 4+2, 4+1+1, or 3+2 alternatives have automatically become a valid option as long as they comply with the European Qualifications Framework (EQF), Directive 2013/55/EU, and Lisbon Recognition Convention (LRC). These documents accept and promote this diversity.
The following questions arise: how to compare, recognize, validate and accredit such diversity of education?
There is a general consensus on the learning outcomes that describe what the qualification holder is expected to know, be able to do and understand. That is to say:
– theoretical and/or factual knowledge;
– cognitive (involving the use of logical, intuitive and creative thinking)
– practical skills (involving manual dexterity and the use of methods, materials, tools, etc.);
– to apply knowledge and skills autonomously and with responsibility.
These learning outcomes are recognized and validated by the institutions, schools and other related parties as they are presented in Directive 2013/55/EU, UIA-UNESCO Charter on Architectural Education and, EQF. It is up to each higher education institution or comparable organisation how to structure an appropriate training period to deliver their content.
Therefore, there is no identical program in architectural schools despite the similarities in course structure and content. Schools offer, and have to offer indeed, the same learning outcomes through recognized, validated, and accredited programs that are exercised in varying curricula. To detect which components they have in common requires a different approach from the standard comparative methods.
The goal of e-FIADE is to define objective, transparent, reliable approaches allow to compare, recognize and validate such diversity of education. By focusing on knowledge, skills, and competences, e-Fiade recognizes that the individuality and uniqueness of the learning process, carried as a mutual interaction in the design studio, is the binding element and key factor in architectural education. This uniqueness assumes its most advanced form during the Final Architectural Design Studio (FADS) and Internship program.
Both the Final Architectural Design Studio (FADS) and Internship program are thresholds, transitional ‘learning domains’ that bridge academic education and the professional world. In that sense, they represent not only the incorporation and culmination of the educational cycle but also the interaction and synthesis of all the accumulated experience of the student.
However, this definition is not complete, as it limits itself to the formal learning (in school) and leaves apart the outcomes of non-formal learning of the student, in or outside the school environment. It is to wonder if that interaction and synthesis process of FADS and internship should be considered within the above-mentioned definitions.
Gaps as opportunities
The UNESCO Guidelines for the Recognition, Validation and Accreditation of the Outcomes of Non-formal and Informal Learning (year/number/paragraph), states the following:
–non-formal learning: is acquired in addition or alternatively to formal learning. In some cases, it is also structured according to educational and training arrangements, but more flexible. It usually takes place in community-based settings, the workplace and through the activities of civil society organisations.
–informal learning occurs in daily life, in the family, in the workplace, in communities and through interests and activities of individuals. It is learning from experience.
Both definitions explain which are the moments for learning but not how they interact with each other.
Considering that the main objective of e-FIADE is to first explore and then innovate the paths followed by the in-between mediation activities occurring in the field of interactions (methods, processes, and execution) an in-depth exploration of both terms is required. In particular: to what extent do non-formal, informal learning and formal learning interact, overlap and/or transform during the FADS and internship processes?
Internship programs and professional traineeship are informal learning activities in their very nature. Even though they are not accredited in many schools, they are recognized and validated either as a part of formal education, or licensure processes. Moreover, extracurricular workshops, or other similar experiential activities, are also validated and accredited in many schools.
Furthermore, competition entries, students’ activities such as workshops, volunteering with NGOs or even short-term jobs for living or an inter-rail experience might be recalled as informal / non formal learning. Plato’s visit to Egypt teaches us the role of such not even non or informal learning activities in certain individuals’ life courses. And the list can continue: Le Corbusier’s travel to east, Frank Lloyd Wright’s experiences in Japan, and the travels of Tadao Ando are just few to be named. Particularly within the age of the vanishing of spatial, temporal, and cultural boundaries and distances, it is hardly possible to assume any concrete set of learning activity and environment. The path for accreditation of such activities is long and not linear. But it is the right time to investigate and discuss those learning activities for recognition, so as to start the process.
Ideas on papers
e-FIADE invites you to explore, discuss, and consider new and innovative perspectives on the crossings, interactions, and transformations of non-formal, informal learning, and formal learning within or prior to FADS and Internship. The contributions are expected to provide a wider perspective on the alternating Final Architectural Design Studios and Internship programs as interfaces and interaction zones among different learning experiences that lead to professional and intellectual qualification.
The collected papers, which are considered to be a valuable body of knowledge and experience, shall be published as a book. The papers should not exceed 3000 words including footnotes and references. For the citation and referencing 16th edition of Chicago Manual of Style (CMS) should be followed.
Deadline for abstract submission: (Max 300 words)
01/04/2018 – 10/04/2018 (the submission deadline has been extended until 10th April 24:00!)
Announcement of accepted papers:
Deadline for full paper submission:
As presented In Article 42 paragraph 1,
Training as an architect shall comprise:
(a) a total of at least five years of full-time study at a university or a comparable teaching institution, leading to successful completion of a university-level examination; or
(b) not less than four years of full-time study at a university or a comparable teaching institution leading to successful completion of a university-level examination, accompanied by a certificate attesting to the completion of two years of professional traineeship in accordance with paragraph 4.
And paragraph 4 is as follows:
The professional traineeship referred to in point (b) of paragraph 1 shall take place only after completion of the first three years of the study. At least one year of the professional traineeship shall build upon knowledge, skills and competences acquired during the study referred to in paragraph 2. To that end, the professional traineeship shall be carried out under the supervision of a person or body that has been authorised by the competent authority in the home Member State.
Metaphorically, Final Architectural Design Studios are interfaces on which all the bites and bytes of the previous learning experience are collected, condensed, crystallized to form a body of knowledge and certain level of expertise. To be able to evaluate and assess the quality and quantity of that bod, it is of importance to appreciate its sources and formation.