Thesis Full Text Freely Available on NDC Site

This thesis draws from current learning theories and pedagogical approaches to determine whether architectural education can benefit from online learning practices. The author examines the latest developments in the understanding of knowledge creation and how adopting new learning tools and practices impacts the learners, with particular focus in architectural studies.

How has the learning process evolved and what are the tools available for the production of knowledge? What is the profile of today’s learners? Has the role of teachers been affected? What happens when technology allows individuals to establish an online presence and seek the resources and information they need on their own and/or interact with other individuals? Could this development produce alternative educational models for architectural studies? And if so, what might these be? And what would be the consequences for those involved in the process?

Theoretical research covers three main areas; the first uncovers the complex landscape of the predominant learning theories -and to a certain degree-, the latest key shifts in the epistemology of knowledge. The second examines contemporary pedagogical approaches and monitors the changes in the perception of what constitutes a curriculum. The third area investigates traditional architectural education formats and how these have evolved over the years with the use of ICT technology. Finally, considering that the applied research involved mainly design studio courses, the theoretical research also monitors the changing nature of the relation between design and research.

Applied research was originally tested on a postgraduate urban research course. In the following years, however, it expanded to five urban design studios implemented both at postgraduate and undergraduate programs. Six different case studies are presented in total. The thesis describes the design of two basic course models based on blended and networked learning principles and their two subsequent variations introduced in the following years with the addition of new learning environments and networking tools.

A large part of the applied research examines the data retrieved from learning analytics and the systematic monitoring of the courses that describe the quantity and quality of learner attendance; the different taxonomies of interactivity between those involved in the learning process; the changes in the curriculum; the formal and informal activities that were developed; the multiple learning spaces the models accommodated and also the process of making meaning in this new setting.

The last section of the thesis presents the overall benefits of blended and networked learning in architectural education and how thinking in terms of open pedagogy can facilitate the design of design courses, culminating in the description of a new type of design course, hereby called Cooperative Studio.

Full text is available (in Greek). Click here

Theoretical Research/ Model Design Methodology Graph

This is a twofold graph I made up while working on my thesis to make sense of what I was reading and to handle receiving information as a consistent whole. On a first level, the graph represents the three main fields of my research: a. learning theories and the epistemology of knowledge (blue), b. contemporary pedagogy (green) and c. architectural education and design methodology (magenta). Each one of these fields manifests through a different set of entities, while the lines connecting them represent my interpretation on how i think they interrelate.

However, the graph also represents the most relevant entities to my applied research and the educational models I devised and experimented with in for the past five years. The thicker the lines, the more influential these entities have been to the models I made.

I meant this to be an open tool for use and reflection so, anyone interested can play with it and -why not?- change it. I made this graph on caccoo and I think that you can use it for free for up to 5 graphs. When you click on a term, you can also access to a short ppt file that describes it. So far these files have been elaborated in Greek, but in time I will translate and upload their English versions.

All’s well that ends well

There are so many things in this book I would love to share with you. Eventually, I will start uploading. In the meantime, I would like to thank all the people I worked with over the past five years, the arch students who were involved in the courses we ran and the school for supporting my research. To be continued.

Viva Day

Well guys, this is it! Big day today. Before I get too emotional, I would like to thank all of you for being there, sharing and becoming my accomplices through the past five years. Viva open education and open pedagogy, viva open data, viva OERs and viva trying to make the learning experience even better than it already is.

Hans Poldoja: Doctoral Dissertation


Hans Poldoja of Aalto University has successfully defended his Doctoral Dissertation entitled: “The Structure and Components for the Open Education Ecosystem: Constructive Design Research of Online Learning Tools”. I was happy to see that it was supervised by Teemu Leinonen whom I met at Eden last June. Congrats!

Poldoja examines: “five design projects of online services & learning tools in regard to four perspectives: Technology-Enhanced Learning (TEL), Open Education (OE), Digital Ecosystem (DE) and Design Research (DR)”.

TEL: 1990’s, digital tech in learning, complex, interdisciplinary field (social sciences, technology, design), sub-areas include computer-supported collaborative learning, improving practices of formal education, informal learning, interoperability of tech learning services, personalization of learning etc.

OE: making educational assets visible and accessible and harnessing the collective wisdom of a community of practice and reflection (Iiyoshi & Kumar: 2008), with a licensing model that grants users with more permissions or an open environment or process, learners as active creators. (progressive inquiry pedagogical model)

DE: Web 2.0, web and mobile apps, preferred set of tools for each user, communication between users, “distributed, adaptive open, social-technical systems, with properties of self organization, scalability and sustainability, inspired by natural ecosystems”. “Briscoe and De Wilde: 2009)

DR: as in planning and giving form to new products, challenges are addressed through practice.

Poldoja focuses his research on the design of online learning tools and their mandatory incompleteness; OL tools, he says, are designed to be open and flexible for users to freely combine, however, under uncertain requirements.

His design case studies include:

  • PILOT: multimedia learning resource template, open educational resources, European school education
  • LeMill: web community for authoring and sharing of open educational
    resources, open educational resources, European school education
  • EduFeedr: coordination tool for blog-based online courses, open online courses, higher education & teacher training Estonia
  • LeContract: learning contract planning tool, open online courses, higher education & teacher training Estonia
  • DigiMina: self- and peer-assessment tool, assessment of educational technology competencies for Estonian teachers

Looking forward to reading it all. I’ll be back for more.

Heuristics & Cognitive Biases


Heuristic (adj): searching to discover

Heuristics: thinking relying on the use of intuition, human feel, experience, rules of thumb, examples by analogy for judgemnet and decision making in real life conditions, without normative analysis based on mathematical representation. (Tversky and Kahneman 1982; Schon 1983)

Heuristics are used to reach quick, reasonably effective, and creative solutions, but they may also lead to errors and fail because of cognitive biases (e.g. Tversky and Kahneman 1982a; Baron 1994; Evans 1995; Osherson 1995), which are unwarranted confidence in believing the likelihood of an outcome.

Frequent Biases or illusions of Validity:

  • Representativeness: rely on similarity
  • Availability: based on the ease of recall and imaginability, top down bias where the way information is stored in memory has misleading effect on the way we access it.
  • Anchoring and Adjustment: dependence on adjustment from an initial value
  • Insensitivity to predictability

Debiasing Strategies:

  • making the task easier
  • teach probability estimation skills
  • consider alternatives
  • decrease reliance on memory
  • warning of the possible biases at work
  • the rebuttal or disqualification  mecchanism, thinking about exception


References & Image

Bay, Joo-Hwa, 2001, ‘Cognitive Biases on Design: The case of tropical architecture’, PhD Dissertation, Technische Universiteit Delft