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RP3015: Learning for Low Carbon Living: the Building Quality Passport - mobile learning for Australian built environment trades and professionals

Sustainable building design and construction Educational technology Low carbon building technologies Australia

This final report supports the completion of the Cooperative Research Centre for Low Carbon Living (CRC LCL) Research Project (RP) 3015: Increasing knowledge and motivating collaborative action on Low Carbon Living through team-based and game-based mobile learning (2014-2018). The project aims to address a challenge which is central to the CRC LCL's stated purpose, of overcoming barriers to the adoption of low-carbon construction processes, products and services. Regardless of technological advances or policy changes toward energy efficient and low carbon building design, the quality of construction practices needs to improve to harness the significant opportunities available in the market. The central question for this project was: How might we facilitate a sense of responsibility toward embedding sustainable practice into the culture of the tradespeople and builders?

Input from project industry partners, as well as semi-structured interviews and surveys with trades instructors, builders and students supported the contention that leveraging situated peer to peer and authentic learning on the building site (contextualising rather than abstract instruction), combined with social learning strategies might be well suited to addressing these issues during teaching of trades apprentices, builders and design professionals.

This project therefore focussed on how this could be facilitated by mobile learning (M-Learning) using smart-phone technology to align the learning needs of apprentices, the instructional needs of trainers, and builders needs for work-site efficiency, business benefits through continuous improvement, compliance, quality assurance tracking, and documentation.

The technical questions that drove this research were how M-learning could:

  • Capture ‘actions’ being taken on building sites in a way that integrates with the learning that is taking place in that moment;
  • Capture evidence of code compliance actions that could provide a commercial benefit to builders, and
  • Support course trades instructors and courses to achieve better learning outcomes.

The outcome of the project is a design for an M-Learning interface application for smart-phones that facilitates documentation of code compliant construction works by trades apprentices, that is automatically assigned to a project so a builder can compile an electronic “building-quality passport”.

The captured evidence (as photos or videos) is also automatically assigned to the apprentice’s student I.D. or course code and can be compiled and uploaded as assignment or reference material through a training provider’s learning management system. This enables credit to be attained for skills acquired outside of formal course schedules, and helps instructors better track student progress and provide more relevant and timely feedback.

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