National Academies Press: OpenBook

Continuing Education for Construction Professionals: Summary of a Symposium (1994)

Chapter: FOUNDATIONS FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE AIA's CONTINUING EDUCATION SYSTEM

« Previous: HOW THE ACADEMIC COMMUNITY VIEWS CONTINUING EDUCATION
Suggested Citation:"FOUNDATIONS FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE AIA's CONTINUING EDUCATION SYSTEM." National Research Council. 1994. Continuing Education for Construction Professionals: Summary of a Symposium. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9138.
×

FOUNDATIONS FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE AIA’s CONTINUING EDUCATION SYSTEM

Michael A. Price, AIA

University of Oklahoma

Compared to other professions, little is known about continuing education (CE) for architects. The Research Center for Continuing Professional and Higher Education maintains an index of over 1200 research articles concerning continuing education in thirteen professions. Only seven of these articles address the field of architecture. Architecture also lags in requiring CE for registration to practice. Currently only two states, Iowa and Alabama, have such requirements, which in both cases are “umbrella” laws imposed on all professions licensed by the states. In contrast, physicians have required CE in 23 states, lawyers in 40, pharmacists in 46, and accountants in 50. The merits of mandatory CE have not been conclusively demonstrated, but resistance on the part of architects appears to be symptomatic of a more general disinterest in formalized continuing education. This symposium sponsored by the Federal Construction Council is a positive step toward addressing this shortcoming.

About four years ago, the American Institute of Architects began reexamining its role in providing continuing education for its members. The Institute wished to move away from developing profit motivated programs and toward facilitating professional development. Two studies of existing conditions were conducted and a program to give recognition to outstanding education in firms was initiated. In 1991 delegates to the national convention authorized an additional study of the merits of mandatory CE. The resulting report, which drew upon the previous architectural work as well as research in adult learning and the experiences of other professions, led the following convention to adopt CE requirements for membership effective January 1996.

Perhaps more significantly, the mandatory study brought about a change in the Institute’s basic perceptions of continuing education. These new assumptions have been incorporated into the development of a unique system to record and accredit CE activities of the members and provide guidance to program developers.

Suggested Citation:"FOUNDATIONS FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE AIA's CONTINUING EDUCATION SYSTEM." National Research Council. 1994. Continuing Education for Construction Professionals: Summary of a Symposium. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9138.
×

The AIA Continuing education System will be pilot tested from June 1993 through January 1995. The following are research findings and concepts guiding AIA’s approach to CE:

  1. Research indicates that architects are active learners who annually gain knowledge in an unusually varied number of subjects. It is unlikely that any central organization could identify and prescribe the content of programs that would benefit all architects. Ultimately, the assessment of learning needs rests with the individual architect. The role of AIA, firms, schools, and other CE providers should be to assist the architect in this endeavor.

  2. The primary barriers preventing architects from participating in CE activities are time, money, and perceived quality. Time and money are common concerns, but the perception of poor quality is greater among architects than with most other professionals. The AIA has identified criteria for quality which will improve learning in the profession and enhance the architects, ability to assess quality activities. Quality is defined in terms of learning processes which research indicates are likely to foster changes in practice. These include having a professional purpose, using appropriate informational resources, matching program objectives with the individual’s perceived and objective needs, providing interaction with resources for learning, and providing feedback concerning the learner’s progress. These criteria can be applied to any educational media or provider including self designed learning activities. The AIA system will award credit based on the degree to which programs or self designed learning activities meet the criteria.

  3. Continuing education in architecture is currently ad hoc and invisible. The AIA system will provide a consistent credit system which will promote order while maintaining variety in learning activities and providers. It will also provide a means of reporting programs into a central database which architects and related professionals can access through the new AIA Online computer information system. Program developers will also be able to identify existing programs and avoid duplication of efforts.

  4. The AIA recognizes that the purpose of continuing education should be to bring about positive change in the profession. Research indicates a basic relationship between change, learning, and the motivations of the individual professional. Professionals are more likely to engage in learning and put knowledge gained into practice when they perceive an immediate personal or professional purpose for doing so. Architects, therefore, must be involved with setting learning goals and selecting appropriate learning activities.

  5. Significant learning--learning that results in changes in practice--depends more on the self designed curriculum of individual professionals than on the reputation and resources of continuing education providers. The AIA system

Suggested Citation:"FOUNDATIONS FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE AIA's CONTINUING EDUCATION SYSTEM." National Research Council. 1994. Continuing Education for Construction Professionals: Summary of a Symposium. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9138.
×

will support the natural learning pattern of architects by recognizing and encouraging the use of both formal and informal learning resources.

This brief overview provides a glimpse of the AIA’s new vision of architectural continuing education. The emerging continuing education paradigm emphasizes learning rather than teaching and encourages greater learner autonomy. The AIA’s recent research efforts have increased our understanding of continuing education and learning of architects, but much more can and should be done. Architects along with other construction industry professionals should continue the dialogue begun by the Federal Construction Council. Hopefully, this will lead to the establishment of a common research agenda and a formal means of exchanging knowledge and ideas.

Suggested Citation:"FOUNDATIONS FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE AIA's CONTINUING EDUCATION SYSTEM." National Research Council. 1994. Continuing Education for Construction Professionals: Summary of a Symposium. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9138.
×
Page 25
Suggested Citation:"FOUNDATIONS FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE AIA's CONTINUING EDUCATION SYSTEM." National Research Council. 1994. Continuing Education for Construction Professionals: Summary of a Symposium. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9138.
×
Page 26
Suggested Citation:"FOUNDATIONS FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE AIA's CONTINUING EDUCATION SYSTEM." National Research Council. 1994. Continuing Education for Construction Professionals: Summary of a Symposium. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9138.
×
Page 27
Next: CONTINUING EDUCATION FOR CONSTRUCTION PROFESSIONALS--PROGRAMS FOR NON-FEDERAL OWNERS »
Continuing Education for Construction Professionals: Summary of a Symposium Get This Book
×
MyNAP members save 10% online.
Login or Register to save!
  1. ×

    Welcome to OpenBook!

    You're looking at OpenBook, NAP.edu's online reading room since 1999. Based on feedback from you, our users, we've made some improvements that make it easier than ever to read thousands of publications on our website.

    Do you want to take a quick tour of the OpenBook's features?

    No Thanks Take a Tour »
  2. ×

    Show this book's table of contents, where you can jump to any chapter by name.

    « Back Next »
  3. ×

    ...or use these buttons to go back to the previous chapter or skip to the next one.

    « Back Next »
  4. ×

    Jump up to the previous page or down to the next one. Also, you can type in a page number and press Enter to go directly to that page in the book.

    « Back Next »
  5. ×

    Switch between the Original Pages, where you can read the report as it appeared in print, and Text Pages for the web version, where you can highlight and search the text.

    « Back Next »
  6. ×

    To search the entire text of this book, type in your search term here and press Enter.

    « Back Next »
  7. ×

    Share a link to this book page on your preferred social network or via email.

    « Back Next »
  8. ×

    View our suggested citation for this chapter.

    « Back Next »
  9. ×

    Ready to take your reading offline? Click here to buy this book in print or download it as a free PDF, if available.

    « Back Next »
Stay Connected!