22 SES 05 B, Teaching, Learning and Assesment in Higher Education
With the advent of an increasingly ‘fluid’ approach to learning in HE, exemplified by the development of advances such as e-learning and blended learning, the ubiquity of teacher centred, transmissive classroom based learning experience is no longer sustainable. Similar concerns in the school sector have already led to a keen interest in the study of learning environments (Jonassen & Land, 2000; Fisher & Khine, 2006), and a fusion of the fields of physical learning space development (growing out of architecture, e.g. Dudek, 2000; Taylor, 2009),. When these are added to recent research in to active, constructivist learning (from educational and neurosciences research, e.g. Jarvis, 2009; Cigman & Davis, 2009), we can see a growing interest in research into ‘learning spaces’ in Higher Education too. This evaluative project focuses on the development of more flexible and configurable learning spaces at the University of Leicester and the subsequent experiences of those teaching and learning within them. The project research questions are therefore
1. How are staff and students utilising this new learning space?
2. How are staff and students interpreting the new learning space?
3. What are the underpinning notions of teaching and learning that forms the basis of the learning studio design?
4. Does the provision of media-rich reconfigurable teaching spaces open up the possibilities for transformative learning potential?
5. What are the training needs of staff to maximise the transformative learning potential of the new learning studio?
A number of developments within the university allow us to look at the effects of creating more flexible learning spaces, involving different levels of technological intervention and expenditure. At the greatest level of intervention, is a new ‘learning studio’ located in the University of Leicester Museum Studies department (MSLS – Museum Studies Learning Space) offering a clear opportunity to investigate the intentions, experiences, successes and pitfalls inherent in designing and using such a ‘learning space’. A mid-range and cheaper example exists in a refurbished general seminar room where a lower level of technological enhancement has been incorporated into the learning space. At the bottom end of the range and based on minimal technological intervention, , is a reconfigured small teaching room designed to give a flexible physical space. In examining the different effects of all three levels of intervention and investment, the current research focuses on evaluating and suggesting developments in the experiences, uses and longer term potential inherent in such spaces.
Cigman, R. and Davis A. (eds.) (2009) New Philosophies of Learning Chichester, Wiley-Blackwell Dudek, M. (2000) Architecture of Schools: The New Learning Environments London, Architectural Press Fisher, D. and Khine, M.S. (2006) Contemporary Approaches to Research on Learning Environments New Jersey, World Scientific Jarvis, P. (2009) Learning to be a Person in Society, London, Routledge Jonassen, D.H. and Land, S.M. (eds.) (2000) Theoretical Foundations of Learning Environments New Jersey, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Patton, M. (2008) Utilization-focused Evaluation – 4th Edition. London, Sage. Saunders, M. (2000) Beginning an Evaluation with RUFDATA: Theorising a practical approach to evaluation planning. Evaluation Vol.6 No.1 p7-21 Taylor, A. (2009) Linking Architecture and Education – Sustainable Design of Learning Environments Albuquerque, University of New Mexico Press
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