Access to online information, shared spaces and cloud based documents have made it easier for learners to participate in collaborative learning. Lecture theatre styled spaces limit this type of learning and create challenges for organisations wanting to facilitate a richer learning experience.
Assessing your existing spaces can inform the creation of new areas to support engaging and productive learning. Involving tutors, assessors and learners in the evaluation and design process ensures that your spaces meet the necessary requirements.
What you can do
Start by looking at your teaching, learning and assessment strategy, and accessibility and inclusion requirements. These should ensure that technology facilitates improved curriculum design and includes an appropriate balance of tutor guided, online and mobile learning.
You should also consider assessment methods and how these will be supported in your learning spaces.
Effective project management should involve stakeholders from delivery and support teams, as well as estates, infrastructure and procurement departments.
At the early stages of learning space design it is important to:
- Imagine future processes and ways learning can be delivered
- Research current and upcoming learning space principles and practices
- Evaluate the use of technology in existing learning spaces
- Ensure new buildings are efficient
The design process involves bringing together stakeholder aspirations, the anticipated needs of users particularly those with disabilities, the way learning spaces are used and the experiences of other organisations.
It may be useful to employ appropriate techniques to develop your vision. During the design phase you can use experimental learning spaces to evaluate ideas before committing resource and finance.
It is important that at all stages development is assessed against the original purpose and aims of the learning space.
Our learning spaces guide provides a detailed framework for considering new or repurposed learning spaces.
The Association of University Directors of Estates (AUDE) and Standing Conference for Heads of Media Services (SCHOMS) communities can also provide inspiration and guidance.
The University of Wolverhampton's Learning and Teaching Test Environment (LaTTE) is a good example from the HE sector.
- EDUCAUSE's seven principles for classroom design: the learning space rating system
- Eltjam's designing learning spaces for a mobile era
- National Disability Authority's building for everyone: a universal design approach