a framework for designing student learning environments for the future

Practical Guide


Designing Student-Centred Learning Environments:

Six steps for the Production of Future-proofed spaces for Knowledge Generation

1. Identify constraints and opportunities, including student needs  

This will include considering budget possibilities, institutional regulations, staff sensitivities about space use, student needs and wishes. It will be useful to run some focus groups.

2. Research other good practice frameworks and solutions to your needs

These might include ALTC resources, institutional websites, published findings such as journals and  books. Visits, either virtual or physical to good practice learning spaces are useful.

3. Invite speakers who have travelled the road before you

Your research into good practice frameworks should indicate who some of the major players in the field are. It can be useful to have them visit your institution to talk about their experiences, not least because this helps to develop a core group of informed participants. Appropriate invitees might include AV and Buildings and Grounds staff, student leaders, educational designers, innovative teachers, Teaching and Learning Managers, Heads of Departments etc.

4. Run concept and development workshops with some student facilitation

Now you have a sense of what the potential is and what other responses have been, you can begin to explore your own needs. What sorts of spaces are required? What sorts of learning experiences are planned? What are student needs? What does the climate/ culture/ institutional structure require/ allow?

5. Collate your findings and plan your response.

Bring it all together: what sort of spaces will fit the bill? How will you go about resourcing the production? Who will do the gopher work?

6. Design and implement your concept.

Draw up layouts; build in theSeven Principles of Learning Space Design; plan power needs, technological needs, social needs, furniture, refurbishment, reconfigurability,  access security. Order fittings, organise refurbishment.

Launch Space!

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