“Those people who develop the ability to continuously acquire new and better forms of knowledge that they can apply to their work and their lives will be the movers and shakers in our society for the indefinite future” – Brain Tracy.
People learn new skills to survive in the fast blooming social paradigm, where each day is a new turn leading to a variety of new opportunities. The world has come a long way from being static and standardized to be a globally connected network of people and spaces. This globalization is brought about by a variety of factors, but most of all it starts with exposure to developing technologies.
However, these developments didn’t come up overnight. It took efforts and an organization of the different skills and aspects into a streamlined development-oriented vision. It was the point when man realized the need for a body imparting guidance for people willing to learn these skills, which eventually led to the birth of the knowledge imparting system. Its main aim was to educate the people on the intricacies of functionality and philosophy. This type of concept of teaching where the educator imparts knowledge on what they know best is what Professor Gurudev Singh talks about (among many things) in his interview titled “Learning by Doing” and “Learning by Abstraction.”
At Mudra Takshashila Institute of Design and Architecture, a practical approach to learning is adopted over theoretical knowledge. It develops the college based on how the students perceive the space (client-oriented development). A broad layout of the space is demarcated (without setting up any sort of fixed boundaries), which is later set by the students according to their needs. This type of work involves the student to do things and learn at the same time increases their practical knowledge and helps them understand the space in a better way. Learning by doing takes into account the natural environment and the people involved, which form structures that remain forever.
Sense of Pride
Students are given practical assignments throughout their study, involving new establishments or space created within the campus areas. These structures remain for use inside the campus and become memory strains that develop a sense of pride in the student’s mind. The faculty, as mentioned by Professor Gurudev, work towards developing the ideas of the students, which helps them gain confidence and instill the feeling of “I did it.” This confidence helps them realize their work and have practical knowledge of the activities happening around them.
Professor Gurudev Singh brings in his experiences from being an architect and academician across the Middle East, Australia and India into the teaching curriculum of the institute. Students must strive to learn from each other, essential to value different work and expand the existing skill sets. It is a sub-part of learning where the student takes in values and inspiration of all that is around them to develop into their own ideas. Professor Gurudev argues: “Why can’t an architect become a fashion designer or an interior designer become an architect?”
Paul rand says – “The designer does not begin with some preconceived idea. Rather, it is the result of careful study and observation, and the design of a product of that idea.” A design is developed from a set of guiding principles and often follows a flow of thought. It may begin from the decision of materials or the philosophy or the historical context of the site. This is what is looked upon in the institute. The student must have a clear idea of the process and stick to it.
The process may be jumbled in different projects; some may have the philosophy as the starting point, while some may have the building material as the starting point. Doing these simple activities captures the essence of learning by doing. An idea needs to be abstract but understandable, it must involve variations, from which the student learns new things. In his interview, Professor Gurudev emphasizes the importance of abstraction and diagramming. The student must understand the importance of social equity and problem-solving.
The teacher plays a crucial part in the life of students. But this is a very critical role to play. The teacher must learn from their experiences, and impart their unbiased ideas to all students. As Professor Gurudev explains, the teacher must not take the students’ ideas as their project and make changes in the design like owning it completely. It is best to let things unfold as the student understands new concepts and implements them. Ownership of the idea must remain with the student and the teacher must give ideas in such a way that the student feels it is their idea.
Learning by Doing
The interview not only reflects on the thought process of the concerned individual but adds a philosophical understanding of the various processes going on in the world. It elaborates on various human instincts and lets us look at things with an open mind. Learning by doing lets people understand the little things which are sometimes overlooked in theoretical learning. These little things are but what make or break a design. As Vincent Van Gogh said, “Great things are done by a series of small things brought together”, design learning must not be an isolated process but must involve the symphonic coordination of different elements. This series of videos would guide a viewer into a deeper understanding of the design and all associated activities. It will also provide a deep insight into the Indian scenarios and at the same time give a better understanding of terms like abstraction.