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EDUCAUSE 2004: “Learning Space Design”

This session will explore learning space design principles as a way to enhance and transform teaching and learning with technology. The principles acknowledge changes in our understanding of student cognition and faculty roles in the learning process. Well-configured Learning spaces make it possible for faculty and students to engage in active learning, thereby enhancing learning outcomes.
— Philip Long (MIT) and Christopher Johnson (University of Arizone)

(Alan’s quips in italic.)

Summary of NLII workshop on Learning Space Design, September 2004 in Cambridge. There will be another one Sept 2005 on INformal Learning Space Design in Phoenix (hey, no one told me!).

A definition of learning spaces
either a classroom or physical location dedicated for curricular activity. It is a room that is designed for face to face (.. I missed the rest)

Learning principle and Design principle

Design principles describe what some faculty and students should be able to do, their activities.
* May conflict
* Complemented by other design inouts
* not related to specific technologies

e,g “enable to allow students to move to to small groups w/o tripping on backpacks”

Designing Learning Environments based on NRC’s How People Learn:

– learner centered
– knowledge centered
– assessment centered

“Most sacrosant space is the 10 sq feet around the faculty”

Case Study from University of Arizona
UA Approx 25% of freshman do not return for 2nd year, Needed technology-advanced first-year home for new students

Visionary: “We will build a state of the art facility called the Integrated Instructional Facility”
President’s lens- imporve retention, provide world class instruction, will not cost too much, will not cause too much trouble.

As more people get involved, there are more and varied lenses
*Formed group of “Grounded Dreamers”- bring vision to reality. Find ways to implement vision. include faculty, students, instructional technologists, et al
* Next added architect and facilities planner- student and faculty role decreased
* Then building stage- contractors and sub contractors

Final thoughts
* developing first design principles helps avoid the effect of shifting lenses e.g. “Enable students to work in small groups”
* Make sure people could articulate design principles and can articulate them to others
* Be aware of impact on rest of campus (“Our new facility is the bane to the college schedulers- our needs cannot be supported by their systems”)

Phil Long’s Case Study: MIT
* Understand the institutional values
* Localize the design principles

MIT Strategic Vision
improve the experience at “home”

Room usage in one building
44% of use 9-5
32$ is 5-11 pm
25% is 11-9 am

Design Principles
* design for people, not ephemeral technologies
* enable technologies brought to spaces rather that provide tech for the spaces
* Space cycles prevail over machine cycles
* Spaces vary from hard to soft- emphasize soft spaces – movable, soft furniture, expand crowded spaces, add incandescent lighting instead of harsh fluorescent
* design for 24 hour day
* spaces should be zoned for different sound/activity (quiet/noisy, high/low turnover)
* Adaptability over fixed

New Paradigm
* new environment viewed as product to be developed
* client is expert in product/system development (faculty)
* architect is expert in space development
* (a few more bullets I missed)

Learning Mode Analysis
* clustering of learning activities and their physical/spatial dependencies
* example: Project Design
— size
— length
— space
— interaction required

Use spreadsheet to rank modes, rated priority, categorizing, relative to department mission, attributes listed that would need to be included

Education Modes
* Knowledge Discovery
* System Building
* Reinforcing Content

Community Building came out of these three

Explore: Look at other facilities- external reference

Mock up: explore ideas and test assumptions
Model ideas from different perspectives (faculty view, student view)

Key learnings
* Change is possible only with externally referenced systems
* Localize learning/design principles
* Build for change, including after the project is completed
* The entire campus is an interactive learning device

“The future of higher education lies outside the classroom”- Chronicle of Higher Ed, 1999

Build a computer classroom for $500 – Go to Walmart and buy bean bag chairs, add wireless hub. Students will

Look for presentation at

Also, see NLII – look for key theme of “learning spaces”

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Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.