Designing Learning Environments To Encourage Collaboration – An afternoon fringe event to the Learning Environments Conference

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The day before the main Learning Environments conference, Dom Pates and I ran a new Pedagogy of Space workshop, subtitled; ‘Why Do We Put Furniture in a Learning Space?’ This is a new addition to our portfolio of active workshops focussed on learning environment design and development.

Our brief to delegates was this, learning environment design decisions should be based on an informed set of educational principles. After a guided set of interactive sessions, delegates at this interactive workshop were introduced to a set of 7 guidelines for learning space design.

I gave delegates the task of designing furniture that would accommodate a group of students involved in a collaborative activity within a typical seminar University room.

There was then an interesting discursive activity about why and how we put furniture in a classroom, delegates were invited to consider the term ‘active learning’ and took part in a lively collaborative session where they discussed and then designed in groups an intriguing set of furniture and considered spaces for group-based learning.

The feedback Dom and I received was very positive, one comment from a delegate who had never attended an event such as this workshop wrote “To say finally made it and was fabulous. Met some interesting people and learnt quite a lot in a short time” 

Another delegate wrote an excellent summary of the event here,

“Part of the beauty, and most of the benefit, isn’t delivered by a lecturer, it is co-created by the participants. It’s an ecology of learning. You just had to have been there! ” 

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