As we begin to think about remodeling learning spaces in Erickson Hall, one of the key thoughts that comes to mind is how learning spaces relate to learning design. When we think about learning design in face-2-face, online, and hybrid courses, student outcomes and pedagogies play an integral role in how design fits into course planning. So as we think about how learning spaces affect student learning, or opportunities to learn, design becomes more than just a plan on an interior design layout. Learning space design becomes an iterative process of creating spaces where students can collaborate, create, write, explore, and push the boundaries of the learning process. Does the space present a wide boundary of comfort for students to explore variable levels of learning process?
Applying the principles of backward course design to learning space design can be considered a good start to conceptualization of the learning design of a new or remodeled space.
- Analyze the space for physical characteristics, size, and possible layout options. Crowdsource feedback from stakeholders if necessary.
- Design the space in terms of learning outcomes. What learning experiences do you want students to have in the space? How will the design affect student learning experiences? Does the space accommodate different learning styles?
- Create/Construct according to the learning design
- Assess the space through student feedback and adjust when possible
One of the key points that I’ve learned through several learning space design design and feedback cycles is that learning design needs to be as flexible as the furniture in the room. As learning outcomes and pedagogy change, the space should be easy to adapt to those changes. It may mean removing physical items or adding more learning tools, but remaining flexible at a university is a key characteristic to supporting the teaching and learning process.