Monday, January 23, 2012

Project Based Learning (PBL) ….. PIE

This blog explores Productive Innovative Engine (PIE) framework as a Project Based Learning (PBL) platform.
This video gives a nice introduction to PBL vs traditional learning styles.  Learn NC has a page on Project Based Learning.
The concepts of Entrepreneurial Productive Innovative Engine (PIE) frameworks stresses teams as implemented in industry to create new products, services, processes, solutions or experiences.

It focuses on a six hat team as illustrated in the graphic as:
-          Business Hat (Entrepreneur)
-          Customer Hat (Marketplace)
-          Technologist Hat (Production/Service)
-          Engineer Hat (Design & Development)
-          Scientist Hat (Research)
-          Logistics Hat (Global Supply Chain)

In the blogA Better Way .... Triple Bottom Line Impacts” presents the concept of design funnel starting out with wide degrees of freedom and moving from outward thinking to critical thinking to inward thinking to create products, solutions, services with the Triple Bottom Line focus.  This concept should also apply students in their PBL projects.  

Should the focus be on Social, Economic, Environmental or a balance of alternate Impacts? Thinking through these priorities in the Design Concept stage should minimize later conflicts of SEE emphasis. 
This graphic is a 3-D way of viewing Technologies to Product and the continuous improvement associated with creating and refining products. 

In the left it shows a variety of “Y” technologies as input which were culled from the wide design funnel area.  These are then processed in the “X” process into a specific “Z” product.  Note that using the same “Y” inputs and a different “X” process results in a variation “Z” product.  The design funnel shown above can be overlaid on the Technology to Product Example; starting with a wide range of options and then refining them by critical thinking into a viable product.    

Repurposing continued ...Earth Stone Products Blog illustrates the Technology to Product with Earth Stone Processes and Products.  It is interesting that Earth Stone is a Triple Bottom Line company, in that they recycle Granite Counter Tops and also improve the quality of life with attractive products that enhance the livability of homes.
The right diagram focuses on the concept of iteration by building on the previous versions.  An example is the development of computer user interfaces that have evolved over the past decades.  When I started interacting with computers we used switches and then keyboard to type in commands followed by the earliest crude windows point and click to where we are today with touch and speak interfaces.  Each generation raised the level from crude to slick approaches of interacting with computers and communications devices.
When I was working with Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) the program managers had a very effective way of using a five viewgraphs for communicating their project goals & objectives, approach & progress, schedule & budget.  The overview Viewgraph (VG) was a four frame graphic as shown in the diagram; they had backup viewgraphs which expanded on the contents of each of the frames.
The program managers who were responsible for several multi-million dollar projects would come to meetings with a briefcase full of 5 VG sets.  I was impressed with how effective their approach was that when I was teaching at NCA&T in the 90s, I used this approach for students to document their final class project.  I propose these be used in PIE PBL projects.
Another method of managing projects is the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) as shown in the graphic.  It identifies the various tasks/costs/schedules and functional organizations associated with the project. A WBS was Required for the NCA&T end course project mentioned above.  The graphic below was extracted from the Work breakdown structure article in Wikipedia.  
It is hoped this blog will be helpful to students and PBL coaches as PIE frameworks is implemented in the Service-Learning project of Guilford County Schools. 

After writing this blog, I discovered that GCS Service-Learning was also using a similiar triad to represent Triple Bottom Line as People-Planet-Profit (PPP). Where ever I have used Social-Environmential-Economic (SEE) then PPP is equilivant, see diagrams.
Feedback is welcomed.

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