Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Learning from life: Exploring the potential of live projects in higher education

Sara, Rachel


Rachel Sara


This paper introduces the educational issues surrounding live project work, exploring the potential benefits and drawbacks of these teaching projects. It draws on the findings of a University of the West of England Teaching and Learning Grant funded project to explore the potential for live project work across disciplines in Higher Education. The study drew on two case studies – one architecture design project and one information systems consultancy project – to develop a wider understanding of the educational outcomes of live projects across disciplines.
In the case studies presented, students developed a range of attitudes and skills that can be seen to enrich, critique and develop those found in traditional academic work; in particular skills in communication, negotiation and professionalism which are hard to simulate within the academy. Students were actively engaged in an integrative learning process, which should result in ‘deep’ learning. In addition, students’ enthusiasm was often higher than in their university-based projects, which has the potential to impact on the quality of their learning. The projects are conceptualised as a form of transformative pedagogy, based around experiential learning, which is located between two worlds, the university and the community. It is this in-between location that affords live projects particularly powerful learning opportunities across a range of disciplines.


Sara, R. (2011). Learning from life: Exploring the potential of live projects in higher education. Journal for Education in the Built Environment, 6(2), 8-25

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Dec 1, 2011
Journal Journal for Education in the Built Environment
Publisher Taylor & Francis
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 6
Issue 2
Pages 8-25
Keywords architecture education, transformative pedagogy, experiential learning, motivation, client engagement, self-directed learning, professional skills, community engagement
Publisher URL


You might also like

Downloadable Citations