What is a learning space?
At Siena College, a learning space is defined broadly to refers to the physical or virtual space where learning takes place via the mediation of technologies. It can be referred to: The traditional classroom; the class sessions under a tent; the quiet corner in the study hall in the library; field trip; or the hallway where impromptu conversations take place.
Learning Space Design
The broad definition of a learning space allows us to unpack key factors that contribute to the design of an effective learning space. (Brown, 2005)
A paradigm shift in learning theory, i.e., the scientific understanding of how people learn. Through the lens of the constructivist theory, learning takes place when “learners construct knowledge by understanding new information building on their current understanding and expertise.” (Brown, 2005) Unlike the transmission theory that consider the learners as passive receivers of information and knowledge, the constructive theory puts learners at the center of learning and emphasizes the active role played by the learners to enhance the learning outcomes and improve the learning experiences.
Affordances enabled by information technology have expanded the temporal and spatial confinement of learning. The technology-mediated learning environments have also enriched and transformed the teaching and learning experiences.
Together, they contribute to new pedagogical approaches. Learning is most effective when it is (Brown, 2005):
- Contextual—taking into account learner’s prior understanding and providing intrinsic motivation for learning
- Active—engaging students in learning activities that use analysis, debate, and criticism (as opposed to simply memorization) to receive and test information
- Social—using discussions, direct interaction with experts and peers, and team-based projects
Learning Spaces at Siena College
At Siena College, we categorize learning spaces into three types:
A typical classroom/lab is equipped with the following technology:
A computer lab may include additional technology:
Installed computer systems for each users
A typical meeting/seminar room is equipped with the following technology:
Brown, M. (2005). Learning Spaces. In D. G. Oblinger & J. L. Oblinger (Eds). Educating the Net Generation (chapter 12). EDUCAUSE. https://www.educause.edu/research-and-publications/books/educating-net-generation/learning-spaces
FLEXspace: FLEXspace.org provides best practices, detailed examples, and a community dedicated to improving learning spaces around the world.