Facilitating student learning from construction practice: A case study from Denmark and Scotland

Søren Wandahl, Mohamed Abdel-Wahab, Fiona Elizabeth Grant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

There is often a claim that there is a disconnection between theory and practice which raises questions on student’s readiness for employment and the more fundamental question as to what extent higher education meets the evolving needs of the construction industry. Industrial placements and mentoring schemes can facilitate student learning from construction practice whereby students can reflect on their learning experience at university. This paper reports on a cross-country comparison of an industrial placement scheme at the Aarhus School of Engineering at Aarhus University and a mentoring scheme at the School of the Built Environment at Heriot-Watt University. An online questionnaire revealed that most students perceived that participation in the schemes helped build their confidence, prepared them for effective engagement with industry, and provided them with a better understanding of their career prospectus. Whilst there is a good practice at both universities, a conceptual framework is presented which can arguably help in providing an in-depth understanding of the different forms of student/industry interactions in order to facilitate student learning from construction practice. As students become more exposed to industry practice, this would support their readiness to work in the industry and enhance their employability prospectus and performance. Finally, it is contended that student/industry interactions should not be confined to face-to-face interactions in-person, as industry practitioners are often busy and have time constraints, and as such the application of ICT technology, such as Virtual Reality, and innovative schemes such as Constructionarium becomes essential for facilitating further student learning from construction practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-30
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Technology and Engineering Education
Volume11
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2014

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