Digital Design Collaboration in higher education

Funders: Erasmus +

Project term: 12/2022 - 03/2025

Digital transformation is one of the EU's top priorities as it strengthens Europe's capacity for new digital technologies and creates new opportunities for businesses and consumers. Digital transformation should benefit everyone, put people at the centre and provide new business opportunities. The digital transformation in construction is thus changing an entire sector of the economy.

Universities must meet this changing demand with new training programmes. Building Information Modelling (BIM) plays an important role in the digitalisation of construction. BIM is the digital model and working methodology for the design, construction, operation and deconstruction of buildings. It is not only about building more digitally, but also about using the digital transformation to build or reconstruct in a better, more resource-efficient, climate-friendly and quality-assured way.

BIM-related lectures are now offered as a subject at many universities in almost all countries, but the focus is rarely on the practical application of what is learned. Experiencing and designing with the help of virtual models should be much more to the fore. Learning to work collaboratively on a model is best achieved in decentralised teamwork.

The Digital Decathlon is an interdisciplinary and intercultural competition for students of architecture, civil engineering, building services engineering and related disciplines to train digital design skills using BIM tools and methods in a collaborative way of working. In addition, the Digital Decathlon is a unique training that provides participating students with an easy introduction to digital design and prepares them to work together in international teams. The competition connects higher education institutions in Europe and promotes European identity. It opens new horizons of knowledge and perspectives of collaboration.

The Digital Decathlon is based on the idea of the BIM Game, which was developed as an Erasmus+ project 2016-2019. As the Digital Decathlon, this game idea is now being internationalised, curricularly integrated, expanded into a competition that is predominantly free of presences and anchored in the European higher education landscape.

In the initial phase, the competition will bring students from different European countries together in one place. The collaboration will take place when the students are back in their home cities, using communication tools on a working platform that is being developed and will accompany the competition. The virtual working platform requires active participation of the students and guides them through the phases of the competition, supported by lecturers and trainers who accompany the project. Learning modules are developed and made available for self-organised learning, offering participants content that meets their needs. The competition lasts one semester and ends with the second meeting of all participants. At this time, the results are presented and after evaluation by a jury, an award ceremony takes place, along with the start of the virtual exhibition of the results.

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