Collecting quantitative data
This can take a number of forms, for instance:
- Numbers of users over time – can be collected automatically by magnetic swipe or Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) sensors
- Equipment loans (such as laptops or PDAs) – dates of loans, length of loan, course of study
Collecting qualitative data
This can also take a number of forms, for instance:
- Video diaries
- Written diaries produced by users
- User blog sites
- Web forum
Methods for collecting both quantitative and qualitative data
- Feedback questionnaires
- Graffiti (or low tech comment wall) wall as used at York St John University as can be seen on the photograph.
- Focus groups – using the variety of stakeholders described in the section on Working With Others
- Behavioural observation – how do users interact? What group sizes are most common?
- Photographic studies – The University of Dayton in Ohio has used the photographic study approach in three innovative spaces. Photos are taken every hour for a week recording the configuration of furniture and the uses to which the space is being put. The study will continue at intervals over a number of years and changes in the use of space will be recorded.
- Edge Hill University chose to take an ethnographic approach to evaluating their SOLSTICE Space, focusing on student and tutor experiences on a particular foundation degree module over ten weeks. This approach included observation of sessions, student focus group interview (followed by further paper-based questions) and tutor reflections. A presentation by John Davey, Manager of SOLSTICE (up to Mar 2008), complements the Edge Hill case studies.
By including experimentation and an appropriate means for measuring success into the design process of a learning space, the planning team can create an opportunity for greater longevity and flexibility in the learning places. In the best cases, it may also observe an evolution of practices that are associated with a new learning space.
Johnson and Lomas, 2005