Evidence-Based Learning: Three Institutions and Three Teaching Firms Together Prepare Students to Succeed

Hans-Peter (Hepi) Wachter, University of Oklahoma, USA


Evidence-based learning (EBL) is not foreign to the teaching in a design school. Very much related to the EBL concept is the engagement in environmental design problems, which require students to analyze and synthesize a problem in the built environment. This paper will argue that design students immersed in collaborative, evidence-based learning (CEBL) are, after completing the learning experience, more highly motived and better prepared problem solvers than traditional cognitive learners and that such students integrate better what they know. The project discussed emanates from multi-disciplinary design collaboration between architecture students and interior design students at the University of Oklahoma and from faculty and resources of the Texas A&M University and the College of Architecture at the SE University in Nanjing, China. Each of the three universities has a close relationship with a working architectural firm that was involved in the process. Using a professional project and engaging design professionals from the participating firms as advisers, clearly shifted the teaching approach toward evidence-based learning. One single synchronous guest lecture series, available through video conferencing to all participants, minimized organizational efforts, cost, and sustainability in the classroom and insured a single focus on content. The contacts each institution had to affiliated teaching firms and practitioners brought a wealth of expertise into the classroom and enriched student learning otherwise too difficult to accomplish.

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