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Education and Learning in the Built Environment Research Group

As our cities and society are being shaped around us with new internal and external spaces, the nature of learning and developing the knowledge of those who design and build such spaces is changing too. New demands are being made of professionals, through new technologies, and the trend indicates that fewer people are entering the industry.

The Education and Learning in the Built Environment Research Group has been established to consider the wider issues for built environment professionals, from young people thinking of entering the industry, to the life-long learning for people throughout their careers. We are concerned with understanding and applying innovation in the learning and development of people who are delivering the current and future built environment.

The Education & Learning in the Built Environment (ELBE) research group is led by Dr Mark Shelbourn. The main key themes are;

  • Career pathways for the built environment
  • Improving the student learning and experience
  • Life-long learning of professionals

We are outward facing and look to work with partners in education, local government, professional institutions and industry to ensure we have people to meet the industry’s future needs.

We are currently undertaking work in a number of areas

  • New models of delivery – the School of Built Environment has led the way with the trimesterisation model. We are currently investigating what this means for students, industry and the sector as a whole.
  • HE Links – in a project funded by the CITB we are currently working with teachers in schools who are delivering Design Engineering and Construction to support their understanding of current construction trends such as BIM and sustainability. The project is designed to provide stronger links between Schools and HE
  • Environments for Learning – building on the work of Clever Classrooms, we are looking at issues of environment and how they affect learning.
  • Mentoring and Leadership Development – how do we develop new leaders and succession plan in the industry? This study looks at the working of mentoring to understand how these relationships are formed and what drives successful mentoring.


In collaboration with Heriot Watt University, University of Westminster, CITB and ClassOfYourOwn, the BIM4Education project aims to build a suite of programmes & resources to support teachers, especially those who are promoting post 16 pathways; and, support teaching & learning both virtually & in the classroom through academic & industry intervention. A pilot study has been delivered at St Ambrose Barlow RC High School, and has enabled the school to be a DEC hub that is recognised for producing outstanding DEC teachers.

Shelbourn, M.A., Macdonald, J., McCuen, T. & Lee, S. (2017) Students’ perceptions of BIM Education in the higher education sector – a UK and US perspective. Industry & Higher Education, 31 (5), pp.293-304

Current members of the group include:

Associate members

Those interested in all aspects of education and learning in the built environment are welcome to submit applications to study for a doctorate at the university at any time.

Dr Mark Shelbourn

T: +44 (0)161 295 8191