A Beacon for Change and Innovation
Serving as host for the CEFPI Midwest/Great Lakes regional conference in Kansas City, DLR Group wanted to deliver a unique conference experience. We scheduled presentations by experts and facility tours, but we also added a twist to the event. The goal of the conference was to explore opportunities for learning and the barriers a learner may face from the point of view of a student, so attendees were tasked with seeing learning through the eyes of students.
Our lens of examination began with a presentation by educational consultant Bea McGarvey on customized learning. Bea has a particular passion and carries a message of change. This, by itself, isn't new. The concepts discussed weren't entirely new. But what I take away is the renewed potential of what we do every day to make a difference.
The concept of customized learning says that a student's goals, opportunities and barriers need to translate into a customized plan, and, are a direct result of not only how and what they learn but when they learn. Obvious? Perhaps. That's just not to the system of education we currently deploy throughout the country.
Pockets of change and innovation exist as a beacon for others to follow. But can they? Will they? The truth is that we can't afford to let our clients accept the status quo because the change they want is "too difficult." What if our design solutions couldn't allow compromise disguised as flexibility? Purposeful flexibility is great. Flexibility as a replacement for change, allowing for old habits to prevail, is an excuse to relieve the tension.
Some may say that we cannot force change. I agree. I argue that the beacon of change and innovation in planning and design is ours to define and shine. The challenge for us is to push each other to push for change with each project opportunity.
Food for thought.