Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Designing Effective Learning Spaces

When you think about redesigning a classroom, it includes much more than just room height, width, and depth. In addition to the traditional measurements, one has to consider how the room matches the teaching and learning activities for the curriculum. For example, does the teaching activities require an interactive U-shaped table, does the activity require a collaborative environment for flexible work group? All of these issues need to be part of the discussion early on in the planning process. Involving key stake holders is very important. Other key elements to consider are lighting, sound reinforcement and insulation, table and chair ergonomics, line of site and projection screen placement, and technology equipment considerations. All of these elements must be considered in an interactive way. If you change or modify one element, it will likely have an impact on others. The key in this process, is frequent discussions well before the architect begins to draw the first wall boundary on paper. You should decide upon on the building or room philosophy, and then work collaboratively to design the most effective learning space to accentuate student learning or training. The extra up front work will pay huge dividends down the road.