Developments in student learning and in professional practice have placed education in design schools and more specifically its teaching of engineering sciences, under review. Growing up in an environment of increasing complexity, today’s student is relying to a greater extent on a trial-and-error approach in learning. As a result, a shift of the student learning preference towards action and experimentation is notable.
At the same time professional design practice is operating in an increased multidisciplinary complexity, requiring designers to rely more on a profound understanding of disciplinary logics than a recollection of simple facts. However, explicit teaching styles based on deductive education and simplified procedural problem solving, are often still favoured today. These teaching styles contrast with the student learning preference and the required skills for their future practice.
Based on these observations, the authors’ research aims to develop tools and strategies to support a creation of relevant knowledge to future practice in the context of construction education at design schools. By using workshops and construction experimentation, a profound understanding of structure and construction is pursued through both practice and making on the one hand and instruction and theoretical reflection on the other.
In order to measure the effectiveness of practice led learning, two learning environments are compared within the scope of a structural education workshop. This paper describes the design and characteristics of these learning environment in relation to acquisition of different types of knowledge. Further, the workshop set-up for the comparison of both environments and their influence on learning effectiveness is presented. Accordingly, the effect of the student learning preference on the workshop outcome is examined.