Learning Cycles

What are “People-Centred Learning Cycles”?

“People-centred Learning Cycles” (PLCs) are the key innovative contribution of the PEOPLE project. They present a novel pedagogical approach bringing together students, university educators, business professionals, and users of products and services to foster balanced exchange of knowledge, skills, and experience. Applying different people-centred development approaches, local development teams of students, academic mentors, business professionals/mentors, and users will be cooperating in the development and testing of new industry solutions tailored to the needs of communities in the area of sustainable living. Interdisciplinary teams of students will be working on real-life business challenges to develop or improve the industry partners’ products and services.

What will we do in the PEOPLE project?

The project will implement and evaluate two 6-months learning cycles, the first cycle starting in Month 11 (September 2017) and the second in Month 23 (September 2018).

In each PLC, we will implement four Case Studies, each being a node of the project’s knowledge alliance and a partnership between the higher education/research institution and the industry partner. The four industry partners will also take over the role of Case Study Leaders, thus ensuring a business push towards realization of common goals (click on individual case studies for a more detailed description):

How will we do it?

In each country, we will identify and recruit 4 students at Masters (level 4) programmes (or higher) with diverse disciplinary backgrounds within sociology, psychology, anthropology, or related disciplines. Prior to the launch of PLCs, training in entrepreneurship will be provided to university staff, while training for business professionals will introduce research and development methods, case studies, and the potential of people-centred development approaches. Students will then engage in research with the local partner company, applying the identified people-centred development approaches and tools developed by the PEOPLE project. The students’ work will be jointly monitored by Academic and Industry Mentor (PEOPLE partners), who will provide guidance and feedback. At the end of each PLC, a Co-Creation Camp will be organised, bringing together students, academic and industry mentors from 4 participating countries to share and discuss the results and to present the methods and project results to an international external public from academic, research and business environment. The PEOPLE approach and methodology in different Case Studies will be thoroughly evaluated during and at the end of PLCs, finally combining and generalising the outcomes to guide the further refinement of PEOPLE results as well as to create lessons learned and best practices on implementing people-centred learning cycles.

What are the expected impacts of PLCs?

In terms of impact the case studies will:

  • coach students in adopting an applied perspective on theory and methods, by incorporating business requirements in research design;
  • enable students to carry out practical observations by working alongside company employees and gain qualitative insight in their daily work and business processes;
  • enable students to do participant observations and field-experiments in customer contexts (e.g. household, SMEs, larger industries etc.);
  • offer opportunity to contribute and expand customer-led tools that are already used and /or introduce new tools or methods;
  • bring practical and interdisciplinary experiences in the way theory and methods from social sciences can be applied in customer-led innovation.Overall, each specific People-centred learning cycle (PCL) will have an impact on 3 different segments:
  • Impact on Business (criteria: “Viable”): the results produced will be economically sustainable over time.
  • Impact on Technology (criteria: “Feasible”): the solution developed will be achievable through existing technology, best demonstrated through a working prototype.
  • Impact on People (criteria: “Desirable”): the solution will solve a key identified industry problem and will create a value for a group of stakeholders/customers/users.

4 Cases:

Case of Slovenia (IRI UL/SAZU and Metronik)

Metronik is the leading system integrator for industrial and building automation in Slovenia. People-centred approaches will be used to develop a new generation of energy management system, which is able to influence the user behaviour. More

Case of UK (Durham and Kemuri)

The goal of the case study for implementing a People-centred development approach is to understand why householders or managers of SMEs might purchase equipment that enables their electricity supplier to control some appliances through direct control via the Internet. More

Case of The Netherlands (VUA and Alliander)

Alliander is a monopolist Distribution System Operator, which offers its customers a pre-defined and politically prescribed recipe, in terms of connection capacities for gas and electricity, based on nationally unified categories and socialised tariffs. More

Case of Czech Republic (CUNI and VUPS)

VUPS is accredited Certification Body providing services to all in the building industry and in the production of constructions products. More

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