The Role of Model Making as a Constructivist Learning Tool to Enhance Deep Learning in a Building Technology Module

Niall Holmes, Dublin Institute of Technology
Una Beagon, Dublin Institute of Technology

Document Type Article

Irish Journal of Academic Practice, Vol. 3, No. 1, Article 11, 1-27


This paper explores how the use of model making assignments in a Building Technology module encourages deeper learning of a particular topic compared to traditional lecture style teaching using 2D drawings or 3D models. It also investigates how student engagement can be improved as a result of creating a ‘constructivist environment’. The assessment tool, which involved students building a model of a window jamb and cill, was designed to encourage creativity and included elements of best practice such as reflection and development of written communication skills which are important graduate attributes for employability. Quantitative analyses based on surveys carried out amongst the students indicated that, students generally enjoyed making the model and felt, as an activity improved their attention levels. Furthermore, results showed that students felt more confident about recalling the specific detail as a result of the model making exercise compared to creating 2D drawings or merely observing a 3D model. Student feedback confirmed that model making goes some way to bridge the gap between lecture material and an understanding of how buildings are constructed on site.