New Learning places and spaces have risen in popularity in recent years as has the interest in their definition and design. Most Universities have a variety of new learning spaces to meet different needs and many larger organisations such as the big retailers also have learning places and spaces for their staff.
So what is a new learning space? In our experience, their first function is to give people a range of study spaces supported by technology and they usually comprise the following spatial types,
1. Highly active areas such as cafes and coffee shops
2. Active area to meet informally
3. Collaborative spaces – focused places to work together on projects and presentations
4. Solo space – quieter areas for more traditional forms of study
5. Secluded spaces – places for quiet reflection
&, depending on the institution,
6. Creative spaces – places which support creative activities such as making and performing.
The other key ingredient is flexibility or adaptability. Flexibility is the trickiest aspect of a brief as space can be too flexible; we often use the analogy of a big stretched woolly jumper which looks a bit messy and does not fit anyone in particular. These are the essential ingredients that make up a new learning space, but we know there is more to it than that and that we must work with each group to understand what they need and want from their new learning spaces. We want to know what you think about your learning spaces on campus, which work, which don’t work and why and what do you truly need and want from your learning spaces? Leave your thoughts and comments here, speak to our team when they are on site next week and watch out for the ‘Learning Places and Spaces?’ poll next month.