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We present here the content and structure of the new international training project, Housing+, in the housing sector and the real estate field, with a start date in September 2020 and with a duration of 36 months, ending in August 2023. Housing+ is encompassed within the Horizon 2020 framework, Erasmus+, call “Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices”, specifically in “Strategic Partnerships for higher education” with code KA203-7A2BBF39.
In recent years, several elements have impacted the housing sector, shaping the following needs:
- The technological revolution gives rise to new business models, innovative work dynamics, greater connectivity and technological advances, which means new skills, especially digital and different ways of working.
- Pandemic that shows the need to adapt our learning methods to online and globalized environments and in terms of education and soft skills relationships.
- The application of the European Professional Card for real estate agents as well as the Implementation of the Directive for the regulation of financial services call for greater professionalization in this sector, characterized by an ideal equal regulation among the EU Member States.
- The lessons learned from the 2007 financial crisis force the housing sector to review skills and knowledge gaps so not to repeat the same mistakes in the future.
- The resolution of the EU Parliament on social rights recognizes housing as one of the social pillars of the EU and asks for the Member States to fulfill the right to adequate housing by guaranteeing access to affordable and quality housing.
Based on these challenges, the main objective of the project is to improve academic training on housing and the real estate field among professionals in the sector, stakeholders, policymakers, educators and students from different disciplines by providing training materials such as courses, textbooks and videos along with a layer of gamification and new technologies.
Aiming to these goals, the project has a broad and interdisciplinary consortium, from universities to technological companies which we are part of. Specifically, the team members are: Universitat Rovira i Virgili, from Spain, Uniwersytet Slaski, from Poland, National University of Ireland Galway, in Ireland, Union Internationale de la Propriete Immobiliere, from Belgium, Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology, from Luxembourg and finally, Gecon.es Foundation.
The contents of the project are divided into 6 different tasks, called Intellectual Outputs (IOs), distributed among the members of the consortium and with specific objectives related to the aforementioned global objectives. Let’s see each IO in summary:
- IO1. Housing+ on-line set of OER.
The first Interactual Output is the design and construction of a virtual course on housing and the real estate sector, internationally agreed, with 4 training modules: “Housing, human rights and the peaceful enjoyment of property”, “Housing tenures”, “Real estate stakeholders” and “Proptech”. It will also have gamification elements to increase student motivation and retention
The online housing course meets the need to address skills gaps within the industry value chain, systematizing the needs and values in different areas of the EU. This will contribute to raising educational qualification and standards and, in general, achieving greater professionalization within the Housing sector.
- IO2. Guidelines for the implementation of gamification in HE practices.
In this IO it is expected to design and build a gamification guide to empower teachers and help them in the design and applications of gamification in their classes. Hoping to expand the beneficial impact of this technique at an educational level, within the housing sector. This guide will include both a state of the art of gamification with current examples and best practices as well as the gamification framework that Gecon has been using for years with proven success: the Gamification Model Canvas (or GMC).
In this way, Housing+ covers the horizontal priority of “Supporting educators, young workers, educational leaders and support staff” and “Open education and innovative practices in a digital age”, thus contributing to the professional development of educators.
- IO3. Gamified Mobile micro-learning platform.
This IO will consist of the development of a gamified mobile microlearning platform as a tool to promote student engagement with Housing+ and help consolidate the course content, as a complement through experiential / emotional learning techniques.
This will explore how online gamified learning interventions can have a positive impact on learning outcomes and demonstrate, again, how game design elements can be used as a tool to improve the engagement and motivation of the students.
- IO4. Course book on “Housing studies”.
As discussed, one of the main drivers of Housing+ is the need for a holistic perspective of Housing studies that cover a wide variety of interconnected housing issues. This is especially relevant in countries with little or no tradition of housing studies. Therefore, the textbook presented in this Intellectual Output, linked to the online course, is a fundamental pillar to develop and implement this completely new vision on updated housing studies at a European level.
- IO5. Documentary films on housing.
The idea of this IO is the creation of 2 films or documentaries on the housing sector topic with the aim of promoting transferability, connecting Housing+ to a large public attracted by audiovisual material.
The first film is based on showing basic characteristics of housing, beyond property, such as shared property and temporary property, with a “viral multimedia production” format, while the second film will deal with housing pathologies: touristification of the housing, illegal occupation, empty housing and precarious housing through “Short film” format.
- IO6. Seminar “Condominium under the microscope”.
Finally, this Intellectual Output meets the growing demand for specific training on condominiums, according to the International Union of Property Owners (UIPI) and is mainly aimed at real estate professionals. The content of the seminar will be related to the content of the online course and the textbook, but this time it will be more oriented to a short training experience with the aim of covering these training needs of the target groups of the project. This will help them to differentiate and recognize the different types of multi-unit buildings (shared properties) currently coexisting in the EU.
On the other hand, we also mention the configuration of different activities such as internal training meetings on different disciplines, project monitoring meetings and participation in international events (such as the International Conference Housing in the EU or Brussels Housing Stakeholders’ Event), as Complements to the IOs in order to raise awareness of the project and providing a professional enrichment of the project members.
Finally, due to the configuration of the different IOs as the training core of the project, the expected impact is to address the skills gap presented as well as to raise the qualification and education standards to achieve greater professionalization within the housing sector, accompanied by new technologies and in a fun and motivating way thanks to the use of gamification techniques.