This study will deliver an innovative learning platform and an approach to develop practitioners who are well-placed to improve the energy performance of existing buildings through interdisciplinary collaboration. The key innovation is the exploitation of various features of C-mapER to develop an agile and sustainable learning platform. These features include the ability to:
switch from highly complex models to simplified ones, according to the level of user knowledge;
be adapted and transformed for continuous use, according to user needs;
be implemented and updated, through user interaction.
CmapER is novel on a number of levels.
Firstly, it makes a concrete contribution to dealing with integration and complexity issues in energy retrofit by developing a platform which will enable its users transcend professional silos and develop the necessary skills to manage complexity. It addresses the lack of educational programs dedicated to interdisciplinary learning, which helps develop the capacity to transfer information and knowledge between disciplinary boundaries and to deal with the tensions between social, economic, environmental and technological dimensions of sustainability.
Secondly, it builds on and, for the first time, integrates existing knowledge in three relevant disciplines, i.e. energy retrofit, cognitive psychology and pedagogy in order to solve the societal problem of reducing energy demand.
Thirdly, it takes a longitudinal approach to training and education by testing and evaluating the platform with users with different levels of prior knowledge and experience, i.e. undergraduate and postgraduate students, and practitioners. It also offers opportunities for the outputs to be exploited at these levels within universities in different countries and in particular, in the Brookes University.
Fourthly, it utilises the cognitive approach to nurture creativity in a collaborative setting as opposed to the individualistic design process.
Inter-disciplinary approach underlies this proposal both in terms of the process of ‘training-through-research’ and the outputs. Integration of existing knowledge in the relevant disciplines of energy retrofit, cognitive psychology and pedagogy to develop a platform which facilitates interdisciplinary learning is at the core.