Framework for the implementation of an enhanced virtual design studio in the architecture education curriculum of the United Arab Emirates
: the virtual creative and collaborative studio

  • Amal Al-Ali

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    Being a rapidly developing country the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has realised the need for highly qualified and properly skilled manpower to cope with the country‟s ambitious development plans. This has resulted in high investments in education and training in the UAE. The government facilitated high technological tools for education. These tools suffered from underutilisation and a failure to be properly integrated in the curricula. The literature review indicates that today‟s knowledge-driven economy demands a workforce equipped with complex skills such as creativity and collaboration. Universities must not only teach the necessary technical skills and knowledge, but also the culture of creativity and teamwork. The learning theories emphasise the importance of learning by doing and collaboration processes to achieve effective learning. Learning theories also emphasise the importance of teaching creative skills to the students. These approaches are congruent with use of technologies, such as visual design studio (VDS), for the purpose of architecture education in design courses, but such use is lacking in the UAE. The present research focuses on implementing and evaluating technologies such as the VDS in architecture education in an attempt to formulate a framework for implementing technologies combined by creative and collaborative skills in the UAE. Since implementing a new technology into education practice is complex task, this work will formulate a framework that will help in shifting from the traditional learning to learning with technology. This work will take into consideration factors such as pedagogical issues, collaboration creative work and architecture practice and industrial needs in the UAE. The aim of the current research is to formulate a framework for implementing VDS at the conceptual end of the architecture design education in the UAE. This research will apply an action research method framework. The action research will be generated into three phases. Each phase will consist of three stages, the descriptive stage which will analyse the need and criteria of the method, the constructive stage which will include the process involved in constructing the framework and the evaluative stage which will include the testing and evaluation. The resulting framework should satisfy the UAE‟s needof advanced technological tools for enhancing design education taking in consideration the socio-cultural dimension of the UAE. As technology is changing rapidly; future research should concentrate on adding further technological tools such as mobile learning. Also as this work provided a framework for integrating technology in architecture design education, yet it is not limited to this discipline only. Other disciplines could benefit from this emerging model and further research could be conducted.
    Date of AwardMar 2010
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorRichard Randall (Supervisor), Pradeep Sharma (Supervisor) & Steve Powell (Supervisor)


    • Architecture
    • Study and teaching
    • United Arab Emirates
    • UAE

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