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Innovative learning platform for knowledge integration in Energy Retrofit

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - C-mapER (Innovative learning platform for knowledge integration in Energy Retrofit)

Reporting period: 2017-09-18 to 2019-09-17

Energy retrofit of existing buildings is complex. This complexity mainly emanates from the need to integrate disciplinary knowledge and expertise, both technological and managerial, in an interdisciplinary context to find buildable solutions that improve actual energy performance. However, training and education in professional silos, and the resultant fragmentation of the industry, is a significant barrier to integration.
Globally, and in particular in Europe, research on Energy Retrofit is recognized as both timely and of central interest. Integrating knowledge as the principal strategy for promoting and developing the identity and energy performance of existing buildings has been a common theme in previous EU-funded research.
Therefore, this project focuses on the development of an advanced educational approach founded substantially on a novel application of cognitive maps and meaningful learning activities in designing technological solutions for energy retrofit. An innovative learning platform for Knowledge Integration in Energy Retrofit (C-mapER) is the main vehicle.
The development of C-mapER as an Open Educational Resource will allow widespread dissemination, with the ambitious goal to educate a new generation of practitioners involved in the field of energy retrofit towards the creation of local identities. These are important aspects for European society and sustainable development.
The objectives are to:
1) develop a conceptual framework of the key concepts and relationships that influence Energy Retrofit projects in work-package 1 (WP1)
2) develop the beta version of the platform (WP2)
3) test, refine, verify and disseminate the platform (WP3)
This report concerns the period from 18th September 2017 to 17 September 2019. The first part of the report refers to the WP1; the second part regards to the WP2; the third part is about the WP3.


In order to develop the contents of the Innovative Learning Platform for Knowledge Integration in Energy Retrofit (i.e. CmapER), a systematic process of content analysis was developed.

The main results consist of:
a) An Innovative Transdisciplinary Energy Retrofit Concept (TERCF) composed of 5 categories; 15 lines of research (three in each category); 50 relevant concepts providing an answer on what constitutes current research on trans-disciplinary Energy Retrofit. The contents of TERCF refer to the qualitative analysis of 213 journal papers.
b) 10 case studies (i.e Text Report, Data Sheet, Thematic Map) which illustrate a full range of values characterising the ER concept in the context of urban transformation processes. As results, a multitude of implications between Energy Retrofit and built environment transformation processes were pointed out. A preliminary list of concepts was added to each case study. These concepts, hierarchically organised, were integrated into the TERCF and 10 Focus Questions were identified. These Focus Questions have pointed out how the adopted methodological approach was useful for integrating diverse ER disciplinary perspectives starting from the analysis of case studies as representative of real-problems.


In the second step, in order to elaborate the Beta version of the CmapER, the TERCF was transformed in a cognitive map, integrating the case studies elaborated. Contents of the CmapER and its use were discussed within 2 seminars, held on 23 October and 13 November 2018, which involved 10 experts in Pedagogy and 10 expert in Learning with Technology.

The main results consist of:
c) TERCF, Thematic Maps, DATA SHEET and Text Report of case studies were transferred in computer environment.
d) Beta version of CmapER as an Open Educational Resources, including the Instructional guide for Meaningful Learning Activities.
e) (as results from seminars) Strengthens and weaknesses of learning approach elaborated to support knowledge integration and transfer among disciplines; and, b) opportunities and threat regarding the integration of this approach with the traditional curricula. Members of 4 Universities took an active part in the seminars (i.e. Goldsmiths University of London, Reading University, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford University).


In order to test and disseminate CmapER as an Open Educational Resources 4 workshops were organised dedicated to Researchers/Professionals, Postgraduates and Undergraduates students. Students received an incentive (i.e £40 in Amazon Voucher) to attend the workshop. Each participants signed a Consent Form.

The main results consist of:
a) 20 Researchers/Pratictioners, 20 Postgraduate Students, 20 Undergraduate Students engaded in the implementation and adaptation of the cognitive tool based on the participants’ prior knowledge.
b) 4 workshops to assess the affordance of cmapER in terms of its capacity to stimulate knowledge integration and transfer between different fields of expertise and thus to go beyond disciplinary boundaries. Specifically, it emerged that CmapER is useful: a) to better comprehend how concepts are used in different disciplines and develop a common vocabulary; b) to establish a boundary for an interdisciplinary discussion, which are often too dispersive or generic; c) to stimulate the identification of new focus questions and the introduction of new concepts and relationships in a complex framework.

Final Conference was organised in association with the International conference Architecture Across Boundaries, Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, Suzhou, China, 19-21 June, 2019
This study delivered an innovative learning platform and an approach to develop practitioners who are well-placed to improve the energy performance of existing buildings through interdisciplinary collaboration. The key innovation is the exploitation of various features of C-mapER to develop an agile and sustainable learning platform.
This project is novel on a number of levels. Firstly, it makes a concrete contribution to dealing with integration and complexity issues in energy retrofit by developing a platform which will enable its users transcend professional silos and develop the necessary skills to manage complexity. It addresses the lack of educational programs dedicated to interdisciplinary learning, which helps develop the capacity to transfer information and knowledge between disciplinary boundaries and to deal with the tensions between social, economic, environmental and technological dimensions of sustainability. Secondly, it builds on and, for the first time, integrates existing knowledge in three relevant disciplines, i.e. energy retrofit, cognitive psychology and pedagogy in order to solve the societal problem of reducing energy demand. Thirdly, it takes a longitudinal approach to training and education by testing and evaluating the platform with users with different levels of prior knowledge and experience, i.e. undergraduate and postgraduate students, and practitioners. It also offers opportunities for the outputs to be exploited at these levels within universities in different countries and in particular, in the Host Institution. Fourthly, it utilises the cognitive approach to nurture creativity in a collaborative setting as opposed to the individualistic design process.
TERCF in form of Cognitive Map