06 SES 17, The Tried and Trusted or Designing for Innovation? Risks, Benefits and Participation in Developing Innovative + Flexible Educational Facilities Part 2
Symposium continued from 06 SES 16
The Learning Spaces phenomenon has been widely embraced by the Higher Education world for several years (Oblinger, 2006). Universities seek to renovate their teaching and learning experience and support innovative pedagogical practices in order to adjust to the habits of students familiar with the digital era (Lomas & Oblinger, 2006). Related practice changes include Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and blended learning, and collaborative pedagogy that is regarded to align to the expectations of the working world (Imms, 2016). Global and national/state level policy motivations (Imms, 2016), and the demands of competitive Higher Education systems encourage institutions to proceed on a strategy of developing non-traditional spaces (Oblinger, 2006). Between these pressures on the one hand, and the promise and expectation of these new facilities on the other, University stakeholders face a significant list of risks, especially as these developments seem experimental and break with the general and trusted pattern of past change. This is especially so as the design and effective pedagogical uses of Active Learning Classrooms (ALCs) (Karasic, 2016) and Flexible Learning Spaces (FLS) require significant integration into overall campus strategies. Other challenges include identifying classes suitable to be moved into these facilities, engaging staff and providing them the support to fundamentally change their teaching practices, and applying an evaluation and assessment framework (Baepler, et al., 2016). How these strategic choices are integrated and the risks they represent are overcome, are the focus of an on-going international comparative study of innovative physical learning spaces in Higher Education. The study considers changes to formal spaces – Active Learning Classrooms; Flexible Learning Spaces; Collaborative Lecture Theatres; and informal spaces – Learning Commons and Learning Centres. It covers four continents and includes observations in 150 institutions in the United States of America, Canada, Europe, Japan, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand, and interviews of stakeholders, practitioners and users in these locations. As a key outcome, this comparative study seeks to identify the best practices around the world to move beyond the cultural and Higher Education systems’ differences. Initial results have already highlighted the difficulty for Higher Education institutions to accurately define the success of such initiatives. Further, they have confirmed the human and strategic aspects of such projects as being (at least) equally important to the material/technological components that often receive most focus. Findings also show a progressive merging of the formal spaces (ALCs/FLSs) and informal spaces (Learning Commons and Learning Centres)
Baepler, P., Walker, J.D., Brooks, C., Saichaie, K., Petersen, C., Cohen, B. (2016). A guide to teaching in the Active Learning Classroom: History, research and practice. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing. Karasic, V. (2016) From commons to classroom: The evolution of learning spaces in academic libraries. Journal of Learning Spaces, 5(2), 53–60. Imms, W. (2016). New Generation Learning Environments: How can we find out if what works is working? In W. Imms, B. Cleveland, & K. Fisher (Eds.), Evaluating learning environments (pp. 21–34). Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sense Publishers Lomas, C. & Oblinger, D. (2006). Student practices and their impact on learning spaces. In D. Oblinger (Ed.), Learning spaces (pp. 5.1–5.11). Boulder, CO. Available from https://www.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/PUB7102.pdf Oblinger, D. (Ed). (2006). Learning spaces. Boulder, CO. Available from https://www.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/PUB7102.pdf
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