LED Learning Objectives

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Overall Learning Outcomes and Competences

The objective of this strategic partnership is to develop, implement, evaluate and improve a course unit titled ‘Landscape Education for Democracy (LED)’ in a blended learning format. This qualification will contribute to more active citizenship as design and planning practitioners and citizens of the larger community and their ability to promote sustainable change within communities around Europe. This learning opportunity will be open to all disciplines engaged in city design, planning and redevelopment and encourage transdisciplinary approaches to local landscape democracy challenges. According to relevant literature and the discussions held at the start-up meeting, learning objectives can be classified as subject-specific, personal and methodical.

In this competence-oriented educational model, the following learning outcomes are to be achieved:

Subject-Specific Competences

Participants should be able to:

  • Understand the concept of democracy based on a dialectical approach to this meta-topic. They know how public participation and democracy are related. They are aware of contemporary democracy challenges in the context of landscape planning and urban design change and of the challenges of a ‘right to landscape’ approach.
  • Develop a differentiated understanding of the concept of landscape and can relate this to the contemporary context of a pluralistic society. Students are sensitive to the different attitudes towards open space and also the disparities in access to landscape that exist among different ethnic or socioeconomic groups in many cities.
  • Conduct an informed and dialectical discourse on the relationship of landscape and democracy and are able to cite and analyze examples of this in a global context.
  • Critically evaluate and identify concrete situations in which democratic processes are missing from landscape decision making processes, and propose possible solutions.
  • Understand, reflect and practice participatory analysis and planning process. In addition, understand the terms related to practice and how these terms are perceived by stakeholders. Are knowledgeable about the relationship of goal-setting, visioning and strategy building.
  • Be knowledgeable about the relationship of goal-setting, visioning and strategy building.
  • Demonstrate knowledge about the evolution and common understanding of public participation. Students can relate this concept to major directions of contemporary planning theory. They have developed a critical perspective and are aware of the potentials and limits of various models of participation (ladder (Arnstein) and wheel of participation (Davidson).
  • Demonstrate knowledge about the evolution and the contemporary understanding of the concepts of community and identity. Students should be able to relate these concepts to planning practice. This includes a critical reflection on the role of the planner (as ‘expert’). Through understanding the principles they can reflect on their own values as a planner ('expert').
  • Relate context to personal community and space. They can select the most adequate methods and tools to be applied in specific challenges requiring participatory processes, understand a range of participatory planning activities, and the importance of matching techniques to community.
  • Know common communication tools supporting participatory processes as well as different examples of participatory processes and how methods and tools are applied in practice. Have a gestalt of this and can practice participatory transformation.
  • Understand, practice and reflect of participatory goal setting, Knowing the relevance of goal setting and visioning in transformative practice. Have the ability to move from individual to collective goals, and identify with common goals.
  • Evaluate in a collaborative way and set an agenda for the future.
  • Be knowledgeable about and have the ability to discuss the Landscape and Democracy using an agreed upon vocabulary employed by practitioners and researchers in landscape, democracy and public participation.

Social and Personal Competences

Participants should demonstrate a high level of understanding of the following:

  • Critical reflection of structures, conditions and dependencies with respect to own societal context and personal environment, motivation for active citizenship and identification of landscape democracy challenges and change potential.
  • Identification of landscape democracy challenges and change potential, motivation for active citizenship.
  • Motivation for active citizenship
  • Critical reflection of the role of the planner in a pluralistic society (expert vs facilitator), and what leadership means in a participatory context.
  • Identification of stakeholders and power structures in a new and unknown context, along with development of (reflected) leadership competences: empowering people to build common visions and mutual trust.
  • Active listening and high level of empathy for different perspectives and viewpoints in an intercultural context.
  • Bold, adaptable and innovative approaches, with an understanding of the role failure plays in democratic processes.
  • Self-organized, process-oriented and interdisciplinary team work, including working with virtual teams.
  • High level of communication and presentation skills, including a lingua francs such as English.
  • Self-reflection through confronting the other (disciplines, lay people, culture, local contexts) and increased awareness of own value schemes and patterns of interpretation.
  • Highly-developed career perspectives and professional goals.

Methodical Competences

Participants should demonstrate a solid mastery of the ability to:

  • Acquire relevant knowledge and information collaboratively.
  • Evaluate, analyze, synthesize and process this information, with an awarenesses of diversity.
  • Independently design a creative working process in a target-oriented manner.
  • Transfer knowledge and methods in the field of public participation to new and unfamiliar contexts.
  • Apply project management and team building methods.
  • Communicate results to different types of audiences (subject-specific and general public) using both analog and ICT-based means of communication.
  • Reflect on and assess the impact of their work in creative and unconventional ways.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the role of evaluating results and impact measurements.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the methods applied to evaluation of democratic landscape processes.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the difference between short-term results and long-term impacts.
  • Design a peer-evaluation process at the start of an activity both from his/her personal perspective and the goals of the process/project/intervention.
  • Select and justify a method for quantitative or qualitative evaluation, with a set of criteria that is tailored to the main goals of the activity.
  • Draw up an action plan for the evaluation.
  • Monitor a democratic process, reflect on it and adapt it when necessary.
  • Organise feedback from observers (outsiders, peers) and activity participants (users, stakeholders, target groups) in a way that is suited to them and include this in the collaborative evaluation.

Subject-specific competences will be enhanced by (online) lectures, literature study, case study work and self-study of learning materials.

Social/personal and methodical competences will primarily be enhanced by group work, collaborative research, design thinking, workshops, presentations and other inquiry-based / interactive learning methods.  

Process Steps for the Learning Model:

A – Democratic Landscape Transformation

Students approach the concepts of landscape and democracy in a dialectical way by means of literature readings, lectures, concept mapping, discussions, role plays, team work and polls.

B – Democratic Landscape Analysis

Students learn how public participation evolved and how it relates to planning theory. They start mapping landscape democracy challenges in their socio-cultural contexts.

C – Collaborative Visioning and Goal Setting

The concepts of community and identity are introduced and reflected upon. Methods for uncovering/mapping identity, attachment and community are introduced. Social capital theories (Putnam) are introduced and critiqued, including methods that can help us understand the functioning of community networks. Students will be asked to apply these methods, collect data, and reflect critically on how designers and planners can help shape stronger and more democratic identity processes in communities. They analyse in how far community and identity are affected in their case studies.

D – Collaborative Design, Transformation and Testing

Students learn about the rich set of methods and tools used in the fields of community based planning and design. They learn from cases how these methods and tools are applied in practice. They envision participation models for the landscape democracy challenges they have identified in their environment. They are able to speculate and map a design process and how participation may affect/alter such process.

E – Collaborative Evaluation and Future Agenda

Communication methods and tools supporting community based planning are presented. Students envision how these tools could be applied in relation to their landscape democracy challenges. Students learn how to effectively communicate their knowledge in rich, deeply engaging ways. Planning as storytelling is introduced as an effective form of translating design and planning decisions into stories that can help inform changes to community and personal lifestyles.