Learning Environments Conference 2014 : Future Proofing our Education Spaces


CSM IMG_1372

The conference was held at Central St. Martins College, University of the Arts London at Granary Square, London N1C 4AA.

The theme this year is how to produce learning spaces that are suitable for current needs but also flexible enough to meet the demands of future, perhaps unknown, changes in technology and teaching methods. We will be looking results from recent research and also examining recent case studies which have attempted to meet these demands.

There was a comprehensive programme of speakers ranging from architects’ case studies, to a view of the next generation of learning spaces, to observations on what lessons learned can we apply from outside the UK in the design of our learning spaces.

I gave a presentation on the impact of new learning spaces on collaborative pedagogic practice in higher education based on the outcomes from my Masters research from two UK universities.


My notes are below;

Learning environment : future proofing our education spaces.

Mark Kelly, Hassell (architects) formerly at woods baggot, working in Australia.
Next general learning places.

We are now in the conceptual age, creatives and designers.
Are we now in the sharing age? Collaboration.

Public accessibility, welcoming comfortable authentic spaces,
Socialisation of work,
Hub buildings for social interaction,
Places for meaningful encounters,

Wendy Sammells, JamTree, interior design in partnership with Coventry university.
Richard  Barrett industrial design academic.
Looking at profiles of learners and spaces,
All learners share one characteristic, losing concentration intermittently, formulating own ideas internally, only retaining about 20% of talk!

We cannot measure what’s important so what’s important is what we measure.
Lecture theatre is very good for transmission and metrics of measuring academics. But not very effective for learning experience.
Coventry space utilisation is only 30%.
Our it specialists are our students. Driven by it service provision that is out of date by people who are comfortable with the tech and infrastructure, but it doesn’t support our current generation of learners.

We interact with our surroundings as we see fit.
You cannot design out misuse, taking ownership is important.
As is POE. What’s happening on the ground.

Examine current spaces at Coventry.
Work with Cordless Consulting.

Often we think of questions after the event. Can pre load content to nudge students questions.
We need new delivery mechanisms.

Undergraduates don’t start looking for a job at Uni, they do his when they start.
Much more savvy with clearer objectives.
Huge challenge of retaining innovation during value engineering of construction process.
Involve value engineers at this design process stage as it’s cheaper to make changes for cost cutting

“Flexible” to adaptability issue, question raised by Richard Jobson.
Not really answered.

Rupert Cook, architect. Architecture plb
Teaching and Research Centre, royal veterinary college.
Social learning cafe at Camden,

Stakeholders, workshops with key staff who would then go and feedback to wider teams.
Happenstance is designed in for community of practice, serendipity of students bumping into researchers and staff, with social learning space.
Light well offering views into research labs. Visible from the point of arrival.
Rupert was fortunate as the RVC was re writing the curriculum with approach of flipped classroom style of content on line then timetabled classes for questions by students.

*Higher education design quality forum, worth joining
Soon to be a fully funded organisation.

Tim Leesman,
Functional suitability.
Measure space effectiveness benchmark service.

54% students feel that learning spaces reflect the tuition fees they pay
Data gathered so far is not great for spaces outside of the library.

Obstacles to learning , need identifying, such as ventilation, negativity impacts when people think about the space they’re going to be in later that day.
Productivity toxins…
Think about performance of people in that space, quality or not that supports the process in that room, barriers to productive work,
FM is obsessed about the built environment rather than what goes on within the space, densified spaces are not effective, sweated rooms.
People’s behaviour can be mirrored by those around us.

People – activities – place
POE, should carry our pre occupancy evaluation first.

Model designed by Leesman.
Design impact, environment and psychology aspects

Eleanor Magennis, Strathclyde Uni.
SCUP 48th annual conference San Diego, July 2013.
AUDE sponsored trip
Society for college and university planning

AUDE conference back in April at Roehampton.
Average utilisation is 27% across the sector.

EFMD the art of teaching and learning  at Vienna WU June
University of economics and business conference.
Library and learning centre, new build
Tactile guidance system at WU.

SCUP , three trends affecting HE, globalisation, demographics, technical change.

Period of rapid change, far too many classrooms are scary places!
Big increase in number of MOOCs, added value to HE not a threat, a way of lifting people out of poverty.
Helps testing ideas, etc.

How millennials want to learn,
Berk 2009, reference.

Skills for students to be successful,  Gallup poll.

Student engagement Skinner, 2008.

Scale up, http://scaleup.ncsu.edu

Supporting active learning, reduce the variables.

“Sticky space” social learning space

Learning spaces working group at Strathclyde.

Alexandra den Heijer, TU Delft.
Associate professor faculty of architecture.
Managing the university campus.nl, website.
BK city! building after the fire of 2008.
Opportunity for radical change,
Keep the best places public, design the building as a city, acknowledge visitors, sense of place, heritage, density of people,
25% reduction in space,
Invest in quality…missing text
Quality of place, interior design, VITRA !
Embrace academic history, use heritage for branding, use alumni students,
Breathe academic history, student tourism, to embrace,
Improve quality of life, more quality less quantity,

MOOCs students need hubs for social interaction, ideally in the best place that a university can offer.
Avoid individual territory, 20% occupancy in staff offices! under utilised, with a number of main reasons why, such as dysfunctional buildings,
No names on the door and clear up your Desks! For staff offices.
Office space offers diversity of spaces with quiet and meeting places, etc.
Make it feel like home, “home away from home”, it’s tolerated for take away food is allowed as opposed to cleaning bill.
Embracing external spaces. With cover for weather. Low investment costs and add to experience for good day at work.
Let students decorate their space.
Make it a showroom, show artwork, show prizes,
Make sure people can see each other’s work, for security, community building, serendipity, innovation.
Sharing space, no exclusive spaces,

Spending public money in smart ways,
We are welcome to visit Alexandra.

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