What is an Educated Space?
A learning space or learning setting refers to a physical setting for a learning environment, a place in which teaching and learning occur. It is designed with the intent for growth and development.
There are many articles saying there is limited evidence to support the idea that making physical changes to classrooms boosts learning outcomes. They conclude that the outcome is found solely in the teaching model, and the impact of it is derived from the practices of its educators.
Despite this, there has been a boom in re-designing education spaces. Why? Well we can look at how technology and the appreciation of collaborative working has driven a need to be more flexible, and create more task-orientated designs.
In workplace design the creation of open, agile and collaborative spaces has been successful by creating ecosystems of zones depending on the nature of work. The mistake is applying this same approach to designing for education. Younger people need more structure in an environment as their brains grow, not just learning curriculums but also how they best learn.
The phrase ‘everyone learns in different ways’ remains true person to person. Visual, auditory and kinaesthetic styles are all known and students develop their best learning style naturally as they grow. Educators have in recent years embraced this diversity using more technology, group learning and visual aids in best teaching practices. In education spaces the different zones for types of learning needs to be strictly outlined. Individual desks for independent classwork, canteen tables for group work, in libraries and open areas for example.
“Everyone learns in different ways”
It remains that rows of desks work in most teaching spaces because the structure is needed. What we can look at is flexible furniture so that classrooms and breakout spaces can be changed for the different learning zones. Folding and moveable tables are ideal to change from individual task work to group clusters. Stacking chairs to optimize space, and create room for large discussions, mindfulness workshops or project space.
In open areas and libraries soft seating and laptop tables allow students to move around and create a space that works best for their need.
By combining the knowledge of current teaching practices, and what is physically needed to define spaces, we can create agile and efficient educated spaces.