In-service training for computer-aided design in building surveying
The investigation was undertaken firstly to identify, classify and assess requirements and methods for in-service training in the use of computer-aided design (CAD) systems in UK building surveying practice. The second purpose was to develop, test and assess alternative instructional methods for practitioners to acquire and develop capabilities for appropriate use of CAD. Requirements, opportunities and constraints were informed through discussion with practitioners, suppliers of CAD systems or associated services, and a postal survey of 50 UK building surveying practices. Collated information was considered within Romiszowski's (1984) framework for problem solving in the organisation. Conventional methods for CAD training in the UK construction industry, and relevant instructional theory, were investigated in a literature search. Alternative instructional models and methods were identified and developed through an action research methodology based upon Cohen and Manion (1989). Proposals were assessed conceptually using the first three of Popper's (1959) four tests for theories. Prototyping core components, substantially by computer-based methods, and classroom experiments with students of building surveying, or clients of the Leicester CAD Centre, both at De Montfort University, were used in place of Popper's fourth test. The research findings contribute detailed analysis of requirements, provision and constraints to a sparse knowledge base for use of CAD in building surveying. They also provide a critical review of conventional methods for developing users of the technology in this domain. Three core principles are proposed to guide the policies and actions of building surveying practices in relation to CAD, emphasising integration of staff development within an overall CAD strategy. An alternative instructional model, synthesised from results across the research programme, is recommended for developing relevant practical capabilities with CAD. Corresponding specifications are made for a hybrid of manual, interpersonal and computer-based methods for its implementation. The model is set in the context of wider considerations for effective use of CAD technology, and is independent of particular software systems, types of workplace and trainee. Theoretically the model is capable of rapidly enabling staff in any practice to apply relevant CAD hardware and software effectively to authentic tasks, and subsequently contribute to developing application methods in the workplace. In conjunction with recommended operational principles the alternative instructional model improves significantly upon conventional methods identified for in-service training in CAD by provision for strategic integration, system independence, and responsiveness to local requirements. The investigation concluded by identifying four foci for further research and development to overcome constraints on implementing the model by the methods prototyped. A fifth focus recommends investigation of an optimal model and methods to develop capabilities of staff in building surveying practices for appraising, implementing, managing and developing the use of CAD systems.
- PhD