I recently listened to an interview with Dave Jacke (One of the co-authors of the amazing two volume series Edible Forest Gardens) and Cliff Davis (Director of Spiral Ridge Permaculture Gardens) via the C-realm podcast (Episode number 278: Functional Interconnections available at http://c-realmpodcast.podomatic.com/
if you care to check it out - I'd highly recommend it). Dave and Cliff offer permaculture courses at the Farm in Tennessee and during the interview they discussed, among many other very interesting topics, the purpose/utility of a PDC. Specifically, they called into question the information dense nature of most PDC courses and suggested that it might be more beneficial to future designers to learn how design concepts relate to their specific locale. In addition, they emphasized the importance of the PDC as being more of a paradigm shifting exercise which breaks down pre-conceived notions and opens one up to new methods of seeing the world (these are not their exact words, but I feel that it is the gist of their argument). As a result the course would be less information dense and they argue that this would be acceptable because of the nature of the information age we now find ourselves in.
I know that most PDCs are not location specific and tend to be very information dense so what these guys are suggesting seems to be somewhat different than what is normally offered. Any thoughts/opinions on this approach? I do think that it would take a really good teacher to facilitate this approach so many PDC teachers might not have the ability to do this. Also, I don't think this is an either/or question but it would be nice to know others peoples opinions (especially Geoff) on what a PDC should be - which would you prefer? I have yet to take a course and I am hoping that Dave and Cliff will still be offering courses down the road as I will be living in the area and am really keen on their approach. For people like myself, who have read a lot of the literature, the kind of course they are suggesting might be more beneficial.
I should note that although I have yet to take a PDC I have watched the PDC DVD series available from tagari.com. While it is information dense it is not 100% information. The most valuable thing I got from the course were the stories and real world examples that were not part of the Big Black Book. Some reviewers have criticized the series because Bill tends to go on long winded tangents, but I think that many of the stories he tells help the students to do exactly what Dave and Cliff are aiming to do.