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Expanding experiential learning in Australian planning schools


Baldwin, C and Rosier, J and Slade, C and Budge, T and Coiacetto, E and Harwood, A and Perkins, T and La Vache, A, Expanding experiential learning in Australian planning schools, Proceedings of the 49th ISOCARP Congress, 1-4 October 2013, Brisbane, Australia, pp. 1-7. (2013) [Refereed Conference Paper]

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Recent reviews identified the need for development of new skills and qualities in graduating planners in Australia, including collaboration, communication, critical thinking and understanding complexity (Gurran et al. 2008; Jones et al. 2009). Students can construct such knowledge, skills and values by means of direct experience in a real world context, through a purposeful process of engaged, active learning known as ‘experiential learning’ (EL) (Kassem 2007, p2). Learning in an EL context is dependent on a meaningful interaction between quality experiences and personal reflection of those experiences (Fowler 2008; Harvey et al. 2010). To date, the criteria used by the Planning Institute of Australia (PIA), the national accrediting body, to assess planning schools, has not given adequate weight to the contribution made by EL in student learning and development of graduate attributes.

This paper reports on a multi-university project with two main goals: to document and improve EL practices in tertiary planning schools in order to enhance student learning; and to ensure that planning education is relevant to a global future, in collaboration with PIA and industry, by recognising the value of EL in the planning school accreditation process.

The project commenced with a baseline survey of Australian and New Zealand planning schools to identify the extent of EL. In the second stage, the project team developed and tested activities and assessment methods over two semesters in five Australian universities, based on a collaboratively developed EL framework of principles and criteria. The main project output is a freely available online toolkit of resource materials for use by planning educators to credibly extend the use of EL and improve assessment of student learning. Importantly, the project outcomes benefit planning schools and practitioners around the globe where educators aim to facilitate students’ and graduates’ continuous learning and adaptation to a rapidly changing world. This paper focuses on recommendations to the accrediting body, PIA, about how to adequately recognise and evaluate the benefits of EL for planning graduate attributes.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Conference Paper
Keywords:experiential learning, planning; education, curriculum, Planning Institute of Australia
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Human geography
Research Field:Social geography
Objective Division:Education and Training
Objective Group:Teaching and curriculum
Objective Field:Pedagogy
UTAS Author:Harwood, A (Dr Andrew Harwood)
ID Code:111881
Year Published:2013
Deposited By:Geography and Spatial Science
Deposited On:2016-10-13
Last Modified:2017-11-14

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