Enabling Exploration: Scenario Learning in Collaborative Education

By Brian F. Davies and Lann Brumlik.

Published by The Learner Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Innovation requires the ability to explore and synthesize diverse areas of expertise, to bridge cultural divides, and to familiarize contributors with contexts beyond the scope of common experience. This paper describes scenario learning employed in undergraduate student research at the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning [DAAP] at the University of Cincinnati, and its application to the development of design for a prototypical, expeditionary, marine research vessel. This paper also presents the implications of scenario learning for establishing student empathy and understanding of complex opportunities that arise in collaborative learning environments.

The relationships among the vessel’s Paris-based founders and multiple colleges at the University of Cincinnati are indicative of an increased complexity in real world problems that are explored in undergraduate design education at DAAP. The project has evolved into a successful international, multidisciplinary collaboration unifying contributions from the fields of design, engineering, and medicine. It has bridged languages and connected cultures. The challenge of design for extreme environments, in which first-hand experiential knowledge is not possible for the student, was central to the project. The role of scenario learning was critical to the mutual success of all parties in overcoming experiential, disciplinary, and political boundaries.

New frontiers inherently involve many unfamiliar contexts where traditional experiential knowledge may not be applicable. This case showcases a model for learning that extends the capabilities of students beyond the assimilation of existing knowledge, enabling them to generate new meaningful insights that inform innovative solutions. Incorporating scenario learning into design curricula has broader educational development implications, providing students with a transferable process that can be utilized in diverse disciplines. The issues embedded within this study are indicative of new trajectories in university education that respond to the matrix of challenges facing students in our global community.

Keywords: Scenario Learning, Interdisciplinary Programs, Multidisciplinary Teams, Design Education

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 15, Issue 8, pp.41-46. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.066MB).

Brian F. Davies

Associate Professor, School of Architecture and Interior Design, College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

Davies earned a B.S. in 1991, and an M.A. in 1999, both from Cornell University in its Department of Design & Environmental Analysis. Professor Davies comes to academia from a career in professional design practice that has crossed scales and typologies both nationally and internationally. He joined the faculty of the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning at the University of Cincinnati in 2005 following an assistant professor position with the University of Oregon. Davies is focused on immersive, collaborative research and teaching.

Lann Brumlik

Graduate Assistant, School of Planning, College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

Lann Brumlik is a graduate student in Community Planning and a Graduate Assistant at the University of Cincinnati College of Design, Architecture, Art, & Planning (DAAP). She received a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Tennessee in 2002, and a diploma in Alternative Design Studies from Archeworks, a multidisciplinary design school in Chicago, Illinois, in 2005. She participated in the SeaOrbiter project through DAAP’s Center for Design Research and Innovation from 2006-2007.

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