CPD: Educator’s meeting

29. Feb 2016

Pre-convention meeting for educators at PLDC 2015 in Rome

The pre-convention meeting for educators that took place at PLDC 2015 in Rome gave all those involved in Lighting Design education the opportunity to gain an update of the status quo on the Lighting Design education landscape and hear a presentation by Chris Procter, senior lecturer in the Business School at the University of Salford/UK, on Blended Learning.

There are a number of schools offering Bachelor and Master programmes in Architectural Lighting Design around the world today. In addition, there are many universities where Lighting modules are taught, for example in Architecture or Interior Architecture courses. A handful of universities have expanded their theatre and event lighting programmes to include architectural lighting. Guest speaker Chris Procter has a long held interest in the design and implementation of effective higher education. At one point it was felt that the power of online learning would replace face to face teaching. The web has already made a massive impact on training. In the USA, for example, one third of students are distance learners. Chris began to go deeper into the concept of blended learning and can now say that the design of the live experience is more important than ever before. The learning experience (also at PLDC) entails people meeting people and reflecting on practice. The term “blended learning” is still not very well-defined. According to Chris Procter: “Blended learning is the effective combination of different modes of delivery, models of teaching and style of learning”. The task or responsibility of the educator is to blend different learning approaches and combine them to improve quality. The methodology can be based on classroom, mobile and online experiences. The importance of “live” should and cannot be ignored. Teaching is changing from the traditional instructionalism approach – I speak, you listen/learn/repeat – to the constructivism approach, which is based on experiential education. In this context, he referred to the “flipped classroom” concept, where “You learn more from peers than the teacher – the teacher is just an architect”.

Blended learning is not about the mixture of experiences (like the bag of shaken dry ingredients for penne pomodoro) but their effective combination (like the perfect tomato sauce!). Blended learning is about “combining online and face-to-face experiences to enhance student engagement and support their learning”. Malcolm Innes and other members of the Think/Do Tank on Education and the Profession who were present gave a report on the work performed to date to create a stra tegy for gaining official recognition for the lighting design profession at EU level by introducing a Licensing procedure, and the role of education in the short and long term. On the occasion of PLDC 2007 in London, a Declaration was made and approved by those attending, indicating the intent to embark on a process to gain recognition for the profession. The new initiative (Think/Do Tank) is being driven by a group of dedicated lighting designers, educators and lighting activists. The tasks and goals of the Think/Do Tank include defining a core curriculum and the framework for a CPD structure that could be accepted by universities, involving educators and professionals from different fields: architecture, design, lighting technologies, health. It now makes sense to improve communication between schools/institutions in order to support the process to gain recognition for the profession. Education is the basis for starting a career in lighting. Co-ordinated and acknowledged learning outcomes and acquired knowledge and skills prove that the discipline exists. An academic degree is the first step towards a professional career, and CPD enables structured lifelong learning, maintaining, developing or increasing knowledge, technical skills and professional performance.

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