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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A Design for Synergistic Learning in Higher Education
by Hedrich, Katherine R., M.A., Prescott College, 2011, 170; 1502940
Abstract (Summary)

Early conservationists and key environmental thinkers have continued to warn about the negative impact of humans on the delicate balance of eco-systems necessary for sustaining life. The built environment is a primary sector for consideration because of its benefit to society as well as the negative impact unwise practices can have on the environment (United Nations Environment Programme, 2007). Since sustainability is a relatively new concept, the first objective of this research was to identify teaching methods used by expert educators and researchers, early conservationists, and key thinkers, that produced the highest learning outcomes. The second objective was to incorporate these methods into a sustainable interior design curriculum to inform and inspire interior design students to apply the principles of sustainability in their design solutions. This was accomplished through the application of constructivist-oriented, evidenced-based teaching methods that addressed the contextual issues of a diverse group of students, producing the desired learning outcomes as defined by the Revised Bloom's Taxonomy (Anderson & Krathwohl, 2001). The course design was based on the hypothesis that high-level learning occurs when students are given experiences to help them discover, share and assess their personal idea (construct) of how new course material connects with prior learning, occurring in a "community of learners who make discoveries and solve problems" (Barr & Tagg, 2004). This resulted in a synergistic effect in which students had the opportunity to master "content, theory, methods, applications, ethics, and values within the discipline…[while they] developed employability skills such as creative thinking, problem solving, teamwork, leadership, and intercultural skills" (Allen, 2004).

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Nichols, Jane
Commitee: Adams, Erin, Aldern, Jared
School: Prescott College
Department: Environmental Studies
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: MAI 50/03M, Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Design, Sustainability, Higher education
Keywords: Evidence-based teaching methods, Leed, Revised bloom's taxonomy, Sustainable built environment, Sustainable interior design
Publication Number: 1502940
ISBN: 978-1-267-06989-4
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