Learning, Teaching and Exchange of Knowledge continued while in Practice
How can we develop a better and healthier working environment and urge interconnected office culture?
I would like to explore how the working environment of an office can be enhanced through teaching and learning via regular workshops.
While working within practice, I have found needing to know a bit of everything quite difficult, especially when it is needed.
My learning points tends to lean on independent studies of projects that I normally work on and my director when I had a question. Even though these resources were available to me, the learning element felt missing from my experience.
The idea is simple! Within the practice I work in, there are individuals that specialise in different aspects of development, technical, planning and building regulations. However, experience and knowledge that they have stored are usually not shared with their surrounding because they are not given the opportunity to share this knowledge with others.
This programme would not only apply to individuals with specialities but it can include someone who has completed a scheme and given the opportunity to share their knowledge and experience during the process highlighting the problems and solution they faced and this would then allow us to ask questions and learn.
As of now, we are all more or less working from home and are experienced enough to use online platforms to present and join meetings. This arrangement can be used from the comfort of anywhere rather than having to turn up somewhere to learn.
My employers found this proposition to be an exciting opportunity as each one of them specialises in various fields of the residential sector and they have expressed their interest to share their knowledge and experience with their employees.
Within practice, we find that the internal teaching & learning aspects that once defined our architectural education seem to be limited. It is important to continue learning and teaching whilst we work in practice and no more so than sharing information that could help each other. It is also necessary to share our experiences to educate each other and help reinforce a collective studio culture.
Knowledge Exchange will be series of learning and collaborative workshops consisting of both sharing professional experience during a project, and sharing individual speciality with colleagues from the comfort of your own home!
Using modern platforms to meet and learn from each other on regular basis.
Aims & Objectives
- To Enable a collaborative working environment
- To Enable Knowledge Exchange
- To increase productivity through Learning & Teaching
- To create a healthy sharing of experience and knowledge via modern platforms.
As part of any research and data collection, it is essential to consider the ethical concerns behind the steps you would need to take to gather your data. Ethical concern such as Impartiality, Privacy, Observation and the imperative, Consent.
My methods and steps are as follows:
The above structure allowed for clarity and simplification in the steps that had to be taken to achieve the needed. Each step had to be completed before the following would be acted upon.
Step 01: Data
This is a critical step, as it can determine whether the programme can be achieved.
I began by identifying the different methods that are essential to collecting the data that were needed, as this would ensure I can gather the correct information; the methods are as follows:
- Feedback Survey
To better understand what it takes to run a programme on this scale; I referred to Oliver Chapman. Oliver is the head SUPERSTUDIO at BCU, he has been running the programme for some time. SUPERSTUDIO initiative is similar in principle to my proposal within practice as we both are trying to exchange knowledge with others through modern platforms. The interview concluded with his experience and the process that they would go through to collect the necessary data to ensure the presentations that they put out is beneficial and relatable to student needs.
While discussing my proposal with him and explaining the importance of the practicality of this programme within practice; I gained a sense of the essential process that would be beneficial to follow to achieve results and the process is as follows:
- Receive consent from Directorship of the practice to go ahead with the following.
- Build up a Questionnaire with the following topics:
- Day, Date & Time
- Analyse the collected data and find common answers
- Develop the proposal to identify the collected Data
- Identify a Presenter
- Determine what benefits will the attendees gain from attending these workshop
- CPD Record
- Advertise the upcoming workshop in advance through the use of different medias, Emails and Posters
- Prepare Platforms for the workshop such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom and send out invitation in advance
- Take part in the initial workshop and record the session so others can relate back to it.
- If it all goes well, go back to step 5 and start over.
From the advice I received during my interview with Oliver, I built up an appropriate questionnaire to gather the data from my colleagues at the practice I work in; the questionnaire can be found below. Note, sensitive information has been blacked out for anonymity.
The answers I received from the respondents were fed into an excel sheet with static percentages to identify similar interest across the whole of the data. For anonymity, I will not be including the excel sheet and the collected data. However, the outputs of these data’s were illustrated with clarity. An example of this can be found below:
Step 02: Programme
The data helped to structure the foundation of the initiative by informing the programme of the basic principles such as Time, Date, Day and topic of interest. As these questions were answered, it was time to define the method of presentation, advertisement and storage to store recorded sessions.
From the start of the pandemic up to now, most of us are more or less working from home. Due to this unfortunate circumstance, we have been introduced to online platforms such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Miro and other sources to meet and communicate without been physically present.
The practice I work in, decided to move all our forms of communications onto Microsoft Teams, and ever since we have learned to use and interact with this platform like our second sense, in a way. As this proposal is exclusively for internal teaching and internal members of the practice; Ms Teams had to be the obvious choice. Please find below a screenshot of our Ms Teams page as part of our practice.
Microsoft Teams is a way of communicating developed by Microsoft as part of their Microsoft 365 family of products. MS Teams is focused on bringing functions such as workspace chat, video conferencing, file storage and application integration. Note, sensitive information has been blacked out for anonymity.
When it comes to advertising upcoming workshops Oliver suggested Poster from his experience, as they are catchy and attract attention. Therefore, I explored various posters and shared them with my co-lab group for critical improvements. You can see below different posters that were produced as part of this process. The final poster is to the right. Note, sensitive information has been blacked out for anonymity.
In regards to storage, to ensure that the benefit of these workshop continues even when staff are not able to make it to the session; The presentations and questions would be recorded and stored in an accessible storage space where all internal staff can access and relate back to the recording when needed. For this, we took advantage of the cloud to avoid having to pay money for further storage space on our local server.
Microsoft provides other platforms that have been integrated into the Ms Teams, such as Microsoft Streams and SharePoint. As we already had access to these applications we decided to connect any recorded videos on our “Knowledge Exchange” Channel on Ms Teams to SharePoint.
Step 03: Long Term Strategy
The long term goal is to keep developing upon this programme and ensuring further workshops are initiated whenever possible to give everyone within the practice more knowledge and confidence to ask a question between each other.
To ensure the success of these workshops would depend on communication formed between the programme and its users; as ultimately the whole purpose of this imitative is to give everyone within the practice the right to decide and voice out their interest by allowing them to determine the topic, time, date and day of the workshop.
Regular feedback is one method to gain critical advice on this workshop. This would help to identify areas of improvement. Ms Teams offers built-in Feedback forms that can be easily accessed within the program itself and this can be a straight forward tool to use. Below you can see I had this feedback form set up in advance of the first workshop. Note, sensitive information has been blacked out for anonymity.
The outcome of this proposal encouraged the initiative of workshops within the practice known as “Knowledge Exchange”.
Knowledge Exchange will be series of learning and collaborative workshops consisting of both sharing professional experience during a project, and sharing individual specialities with colleagues from the comfort of your own home!
Our first workshop took place on Wednesday 31/04/2021 at 1pm. The topic of the workshop explored Sustainable Design in 2021 looking at “An introduction to key decisions in the design of Low Energy Houses” by an internal Architect. Overall the workshop lasted 30 minutes for the presentation, then 10 minutes for questions. A total of 15 staff members attended the workshop.
The programme ever since has received recognition from staff members who attended, the management team and the directors to post the initiative on the companies social media as support to the programme and acknowledgement of the importance of continued teaching within practice. Meanwhile, I have received further recognition from members outside of our practice for the initiation of further learning within practice.
We are keen to continue this programme with further workshops every 4 weeks; ensuring our colleagues within the practice get as much support and given the opportunity to share their knowledge.