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The Leaflet Article

Featured Article:

Advanced Learnings at the 2014 HFSE Pre-Conference Workshop

Dr. Wayne Ruga, FAIA, FIIDA, Hon. FASID

Of all the possible benefits from participating in the Symposium, learning new and useful things must rank very close to the top of the list – if not, at the top.  Indeed, as a ‘certified’ provider of professional education, the Symposium has been providing professional development continuing education credits for its high-quality educational offerings throughout its 27-year history.

If you really think about it, the majority of the professional education that the Symposium provides falls into the category of project ‘case studies’.  As a method of learning, the ‘case method’ is a very effective education tool, and has been utilized in university teaching across a broad range of disciplines.  And, of course, other learning methods are presented at the Symposium – such as lecture, workshops, and discovery.

However, in the context of the annual HFSE Pre-Conference Workshop – throughout its six- year history – the prevalent learning method has been ‘experiential education’, which broadly translates into ‘learning by doing’.  Increasingly, universities around the globe are integrating this method into their curricula, as the ‘knowing’ that comes as a consequence of engaging in this method is a ‘deep’ personal ‘knowing’ and one that tends to remain embedded in the active memory much longer than that of other more conventional methods.

In fact, this ‘learning by doing’ method – as it is utilized in the Pre-Conference Workshop – has enabled participants to ‘discover’ knowings that they previously ‘did not know, that they did not know’.  And, as a direct result of these discoveries – and the exploration of how to use them to make a meaningful improvement – participants have made significant improvements in their lives, organizations, and communities to such a degree that it has not been unusual for the participants to return year after year.

Although the subject matter of the Pre-Conference Workshop has been quite the same since its origin – that of learning how to operationalize generative space design concepts – the experiential learning aspects of this specific subject matter lends itself well to continued engagement in deepening the realms of understanding this advanced design concept.  Does this mean that if you haven’t already been to a Pre-Conference Workshop it is too late to begin - not at all.  Each new Pre-Conference Workshop is a unique stand-alone course, and first-timers are always welcome.

This year’s Pre-Conference Workshop will be a continued experiment in how to provide advanced professional development education that enables each and every participant to learn new and useful material – that they did not know, that they did not know – making it possible to meaningfully improve lives, organizations, and communities.  Specifically, this year’s Pre-Conference Workshop will use the theme of ‘Collaborative Conversations’ to frame the design of these improvements in real-world situations that melt disciplinary silos that so frequently stifle one’s ability to make improvements that are both systemic and sustainable.

So, if learning how to learn, learning advanced design methods, learning how to make both systemic and sustainable improvements in meaningful whole-systems ways are appealing outcomes from your annual Symposium experience, please do make a point of registering for the Pre-Conference Workshop.  You will certainly, no doubt, find yourself in the good company of other like-minded learners – who, might well become your future partners in the improvement schemes that you take from the Pre-Conference Workshop back into your local-world-space to operationalize, as a result.

Wayne Ruga has devoted his career to creating and supporting the development of environments that inspire the human potential. His primary area of focus is in demonstrating the role that the environment plays in enhancing human health and well-being, particularly in the healthcare setting. As a world leading authority and spokesperson on this subject, Dr. Ruga has developed an international reputation as a champion of keeping an intentional human-centered culture at the heart of planning decisions, design concepts, building solutions, and operational strategies.

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