The Future of Education

Edition 14

Accepted Abstracts

Learning by Doing: The Case Study of the Advanced Construction Management and Economics (ACME) Seminars

Enrico S. Mazzucchelli, Politecnico di Milano (Italy)

Mario C. Dejaco, Politecnico di Milano (Italy)

Gabriele Masera, Politecnico di Milano (Italy)

Angelo Lucchini, Politecnico di Milano (Italy)

Giacomo Scrinzi, Politecnico di Milano (Italy)

Verena Kaiser, Technische Universität Graz (Austria)

Daniel Heck, Technische Universität Graz (Austria)

Cornelia Ninaus, Technische Universität Graz (Austria)

Valentina Krivitsch, Technische Universität Graz (Austria)

Detlef Heck, Technische Universität Graz (Austria)


Since 2016, the ACME (Advanced Construction Management and Economics) seminars have been an international knowledge exchange course between Politecnico di Milano and the Technical University of Graz related to the “Agreement on strategic partnership between Politecnico di Milano and Graz University of Technology”. The seminars, that are characterized by students with different cultural backgrounds and coming from different engineering master’s courses, aim to familiarize them with all the fields of Building Design, Construction Management and Building Economics within a topic that is specified every year. The main aim of the seminars is to provide students with advanced knowledge of international engineering duties with a special focus on Austrian and Italian construction principles. In this regard, the theoretical lectures are combined with a workshop and building site visits. During the wokshop activities, students work in small teams on the assigned topics. To that end, in the first week they employ a variety of qualitative research methods, such as site visits and data collection, sketching, drawing and writing to develop advanced 2D and 3D design concepts. The second week is characterized by the fact that the working groups exchange among themselves the projects that have been developed during the first week of the workshop. The goal is to lead each working group to analyze and understand a project developed by others, which may have strengths and weaknesses. This is a challenge for the groups, which leads them to question why some choices have been made and to find solutions for the optimization of projects. The site visits are intended to convey the theoretical input in a practical way. The balance between the theoretical part, workshop activities, building site visits and social events proved to be extremely important for creating close-knit and productive working groups in a very short time and to introduce students to a cultural reality different from their own. Moreover, the mix of skills and competencies of the working group members was essential to create students’ teams rich in cultural education, in order to reach the interdisciplinary goal of the program. 

Keywords: interdisciplinary education, teamwork, learning by doing, engagement, social inclusion.


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  • Rae, D., & Carswell, M. (2000). Using a life-story approach in entrepreneurial learning: The development of a conceptual model and its implications in the design of learning experiences. Education and Training, 42, 220– 227.

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