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When is a beach hut not a beach hut?

When is a beach hut not a beach hut?

When it’s an industry-focussed real world learning opportunity.

Real world learning is all about modelling professional behaviours and ways of being, solving problems and getting into the mindset of the industry in question. For Design Foundation students, that means learning how to think and behave like a designer. What better way to do that than to design something?

The first five weeks of the Design Foundation are devoted to this end, and they hit the ground running with a group project: designing an ideal beach hut and building a life-size model of it out of cardboard. 

Over the five weeks of the project the students to get to know each other, and learn how they – all from diverse backgrounds and various disciplines – can work and communicate with each other. They learn how to work alone and together, to communicate, to respond to feedback and to manage their time and resources. 

It’s a great way for the teaching staff to get to know the students too, and it works as an extended icebreaker.

And what an icebreaker! It sets the students’ expectations for the rest of the course, and when that involves working with construction companies, beach hut designers and chartered building engineers, those expectations will be high. 

The Foundation course has a core ethos of reflection, with points throughout the year where students can stop and look back. What’s immediately clear from their end of year reflections is that building the beach huts doesn’t just stand out, but is the best thing they’ve done all year. Yes, it was fun, but they really appreciated being able to work in a way that would be comparable to industry. 

The project culminates in judging by the industry professionals who have been involved, and constructive feedback (no pun intended) on their work. 

The overriding message is that they can’t believe these are Foundation students, and not in their final year. 

When is a beach hut not a beach hut?

When it launches Foundation students into a valued and productive year.