Artevelde University College Ghent launches brand-new educational concept 3ID Labs

3ID labs artevelde university college belgium ghent

On 10 September 2018, Artevelde University College launched its brand-new curriculum 3ID Labs. Via the principle of studio learning, an international group of students from diverse study programmes will collaborate during one semester to find the solution to a complex social problem. No auditoriums, no assignments or courses, but learning through teamwork and design thinking.

A First in Flanders

Tomas Legrand, Rector (top left in photo): "At Artevelde University College, we're constantly innovating our educational approach. We believe that studio learning is a very powerful teaching method to help the students achieve the much-discussed 21st-century skills which they will need in society and the professional field of tomorrow.'

Artevelde University College got this idea in Finland, among other places, from the founders of the LAB studies at Oulu University of Applied Sciences. Imran Uddin, Director of Education and Student Policies: "We visited the Finnish OMK Labs with a delegation, we observed, spoke with wildly enthusiastic students and lecturers, and saw with our own eyes the learning outcomes and possible pitfalls of this innovative teaching method. A visit to the Zone Learning project at the Canadian Ryerson University inspired us as well and gave us the knowledge we needed to start 3ID Labs.

Design Thinking for Complex Social Problems

Coordinators Isabelle Vandevyvere and Lieven Desomviele: "The process starts from a complex social problem, suggested by an external organisation. For example: How can children with a disability be motivated to participate in (adaptive) sports? Or how can citizens be encouraged to choose for a green garden instead of a paved one? The students get started via design thinking and work towards a solution in several steps."

The students need to take the initiative to obtain the missing knowledge in their team. They can use literature, but they can also invite a specialised guest lecturer. The lecturer assumes the role of coach: he or she is present, monitors the group process and adjusts where necessary. The students have one semester to work on this project and can gain 30 credits via the programme.

Interdisciplinary and International Teamwork

3ID stands for international, innovative and intergenerational: a diverse team essential to reach a well-thought-out and innovative solution. The team is composed of students from diverse disciplines: socio-cultural work and healthcare; communication, design and media, and business. By comparing different perspectives, your thinking process will be richer. The first edition of 3ID Labs has 18 participants, between 22 and 60 years old, with 7 nationalities, from Brazil to Russia. Their background is equally diverse: 'regular' students, job seekers in a VDAB track and a few non-Dutch speaking newcomers.

Enthusiastic Employers: From Barco to VDAB

Employers seem to be very enthusiastic about the skills the students develop in such a programme. Organisations such as VDAB, Barco and Mediaraven have volunteered to be partners for our project. The best teams no longer are those teams with the most specialised knowledge. After all, today, knowledge is outdated in no time. Only teams who have mastered the fine art of collaboration will come to creative solutions.