This project by the Future Self and Design Living Lab (FSDLL) is a collaboration between research teams at Swinburne University and Melbourne University, including three PhD students, and various industry partners: Master Builders Association (MBA) (Victoria), BuildSMART AustralasiaVictorian Building Authority (VBA), and Sydney Coastal Councils Group.

Our research, titled ‘Learning for Low Carbon Living: The Building Quality Passport – mobile learning for Australian built environment trades and professionals’, addresses the M-learning challenge of on-site sustainable construction and evaluation.

Embedding sustainability in construction processes

The Cooperative Research Centre for Low Carbon Living (CRC LCL) Research Project (RP) 3015: Increasing knowledge and motivating collaborative action on Low Carbon Living through team-based and game-based mobile learning (2014-2018) addressed a challenge to the adoption of low-carbon construction processes, products and services: How might we facilitate a sense of responsibility toward embedding sustainable practice into the culture of the tradespeople and builders? 

Research was conducted through workshop inputs from project industry partners, and semi-structured interviews and surveys with trades instructors. It found that builders and students supported the contention that situated peer-to-peer and authentic learning on the building site, combined with social learning strategies, would be well-suited to address these issues.

Mobile learning in contextualised settings can help maximise a person’s understanding. 

Image: ‘Figure 1: Components of Mobile Learning’ [image], in P Graham, T Winfree, M Sherkat, A Mendoza, T Miller, G Melles & P Goldacre 2019, RP: 3015 Learning for Low Carbon Living: Mobile learning for Australian built environment trades and professionals, CRC for Low Carbon Living, p. 16.

The technical questions that drove this research were how M-learning (or mobile learning) could: 

  • capture ‘actions’ being taken on building sites in a way that integrates with the learning taking place in that moment
  • capture evidence of code compliance actions that could be of commercial benefit to builders 
  • support course trades instructors and courses to achieve better learning outcomes. 

Our research considered findings from the National Energy Efficient Building Project (NEEBP) on the need for mobile applications for a building passport package, and the need to address barriers to low-carbon and sustainable building.  

We further focused on how to capture works that are compliant with energy efficiency provisions of the National Construction Code (NCC), and more specifically improve engagement among building trades apprentices in learning about low-carbon construction.  

The outcome: a M-Learning interface application changing how apprentices learn 

The project outcome is a design for a M-Learning interface application for smartphones that facilitates documentation of code compliant construction works by trades apprentices, and is automatically assigned to a project, so builders can compile an electronic “building-quality passport”.  

The captured evidence (as photos or videos) is also automatically assigned to the apprentice’s student I.D. or course code. It can then be compiled and uploaded as assignment or reference material through a training provider’s learning management system.  

This enables credit to be attained for skills acquired outside of formal course schedules and helps instructors better track student progress to provide more relevant and timely feedback. 

The design of the M-learning interface and user ‘journeys’ was informed by research into the emotional needs of technology users.  

It was further refined by a professional design firm and presented to the project as Invision wireframes.  

To view the final wireframe designs, see below: 

These wireframe designs can now be further developed into a working application that can be field tested with industry partners.

Research team

  • Peter Graham (CI Swinburne University CUT, now Monash University)

  • Gavin Melles (CI Swinburne University, CDI)

  • Tomi Winfree (PhD Swinburne University)

  • Mohammadhossein Sherkat (PhD Melbourne University)

  • Antonette Mendoza (CI Melbourne University)

  • Tim Miller (CI Melbourne University)

  • Paul Goldacre (PhD Swinburne University)

  • An example of one of the training assessments created in this project.
  • FSDLL Project mLearning learner image library
    Images uploaded can be filled with relevant information and assigned to specific people.
  • FSDLL Project mLearning cert IV assessments 3.9
    Users can upload their own photos/videos for assignment or reference material to apprentices.
  • FSDLL Project mLearning cert IV courses
    Gamified dashboard representing each user’s progress through training.
  • FSDLL Project mLearning learner learning activities
    The M-Learning application comes with many learning activities.

See more projects from Future Self Living Lab

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We always welcome new partners. If you are interested in transforming ideas into commercially competitive outcomes, need the support of our research or have any other queries, contact us on +61 3 9214 6072 or email cdiadmin@swinburne.edu.au.

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