Learning spaces

Learning spaces properly support activational education and help students develop 21st century skills. The physical spaces offer extensive didactic opportunities, stimulate learning processes and are in some cases rich in technology. But how do you develop learning spaces? How do you ensure that they are used to their full potential?

Learning Spaces (Credits: Jasper van Winden)

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Get in touch with colleagues and share your knowledge and experiences in the Learning Spaces community

Visit the website of the SIG Learning Spaces

What are learning spaces?

Teachers are increasingly using activating methods and standard classrooms are no longer sufficient. Institutions are therefore already experimenting with future learning spaces: spaces designed for a specific form of work. These include technology-rich spaces, design labs, makerspaces, studios, teaching and learning labs, active learning classrooms and huddle spaces.

What does this give the student?

Students benefit from active learning. They are expected to think creatively and divergently, to have digital literacy, and to have collaborative skills. These skills are necessary in order to keep up with the ever-changing job market. Learning spaces give students variety in their education and ensure that they are more actively involved in contact education.

What challenges do institutions face?

Institutions are becoming increasingly aware that online and blended education place different demands on their physical and digital learning environments. It calls for a different layout of teaching spaces so as to provide optimum support for didactic objectives. New technology makes new teaching spaces possible. In addition, the use of XR (extended reality - the collective term for AR, VR, and mixed reality applications) is on the rise. What requirements does this place on the (digital) learning environment?

The challenges are:

  • What requirements must you set for the physical and digital learning environment?
  • How do you develop future learning spaces? What type of learning space is suitable for what type of work?
  • How can we ensure that teachers are supported in using innovative learning spaces?

What is SURF doing to explore the possibilities of learning spaces?

In 2019, SURF organised a study trip to the USA and published a research report on the state of the art of Learning Spaces. This ultimately resulted in the establishment of the Special Interest Group (SIG) Learning Spaces. In 2020, SURF and the SIG intend to explore the developments that are relevant to the organisation - or otherwise - of the physical and digital learning environment. We are organising a pressure cooker to identify the main issues regarding the physical and digital learning environment. Based on the activities and experiences of the SIG Learning Spaces, we will develop an infographic to help institutions become familiar with learning spaces.

We will also link up with the Challenge day, in which we want to investigate, together with suppliers and students, what influence new technological developments have on the personal, physical and technology-rich learning environment.

Studiereis ELI 2019

Study trip ELI 2019. Photo: Barend Last

Together with the SIG, SURF explored the developments that are relevant to organising the physical and digital learning environment in a different way. We organised a pressure cooker to identify the main issues regarding the physical and digital learning environment. We also organised webinars, a Challenge day, site visits and discussions with experts, suppliers and students.

We investigate the influence of new technological developments on the personal, physical and technology-rich learning environment.

Much of the information on this website has been provided by and/or co-developed with the members of the SIG Learning Spaces.

Kernteam SIG Learning Spaces

Core team of the SIG Learning Spaces

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