A New Approach to Learning Spaces
LCCC is developing plans to create new types of learning spaces across campus. Learning spaces include classrooms, study areas and meeting spaces. The overall concept is to develop areas that keep educational issues, learning experiences, and the role of technology and information resources at the center of space plans. The basic premise is that the effective design of learning spaces can facilitate student engagement, and thereby enhance teaching and learning.
The Learning Studio model has emerged to replace the traditional “space‐challenged” classroom. It features flexibility, collaborative social interaction, integrated technology, comfort and ambiance, and facilitates engagement between teachers and students.
After the College Center building construction is completed in 2010, the current Multipurpose Center (old LCCC library) will be developed into classrooms that will use new approaches to learning spaces. These new learning space approaches will also be incorporated into classrooms across the campus.
In January 2009, LCCC invited two higher education consultants (Dr. Homero Lopez and Dr. Linda L. García) to facilitate the process in “Setting the Vision” of the Multipurpose Center. The process included:
- Large Group Presentation: “Setting the Vision”
- Facilitation of up to five Focus Groups (includes preparation)
- Meeting with LCCC's Learning Space Design Team
- Large Group Presentation
Types of Learning Spaces
Three types of learning spaces were highlighted:
- Traditional Classrooms Transformed into Learning Studios
- Large Enrollment and Specialized Spaces
- Open and Informal Learning Spaces.
These learning environments feature flexibility, space for collaborative and social interaction, integrated technology, comfort, and ambiance
Five focus groups, which included students, faculty and staff, provided input on the creation of new learning spaces at LCCC. Participants described their “ideal learning environment” in regard to six themes: Appearance, Technology, Teaching Style, Emotions, Classroom Mood/Personality, and Interactions.
Based on the ideas generated from each theme, a “vision statement” was developed to guide the development of new learning spaces in the Multipurpose Center. A vision statement is a declaration of a shared sense of purpose. It expresses ideas about how LCCC views the learning space to be created. The following vision statement was created from the participants’ feedback:
Lorain County Community College will create innovative state-of-the-art learning spaces where design is driven by pedagogy, and technology supports learning by being embedded, seamless, and on demand. In our learning spaces, teachers facilitate student engagement through deep learning experiences.
Key features of our learning spaces include:
- Flexibility & comfort
- Technology, power, and access on demand
- Support of a wide array of social and collaborative learning activities
- Aesthetically and visually stimulating environments
- Creative use of space
- Ample space for movement and circulation
- Adaptability to future improvements and changes
Criteria for Utilization of the Multipurpose Center
Collectively, the focus groups identified the following criteria (guidelines), which they recommend for faculty to commit to when utilizing the learning spaces in the Multipurpose Center:
- Comfortable with technology
- Problem solver/trouble shooter with technology
- Demonstrated commitment to technology
- Open to flexibility and embraces a wide array of teaching styles
- Encourages group and team work and hands-on learning
- High-demand and high-enrollment classes
- Participate in assessments, feedback, blogging, and classroom research
- Preferred courses: Hybrid and blended courses/College 101
- Values strong faculty‐student relationships
- Demonstrated use of multiple teaching tools
- Exhibited creativity in approaches to teaching
- Level of preparedness to teach in an innovative learning space
- Expressed desire to successful teach in an innovative learning space \
- Commitment to share best teaching practices with other faculty
- Provide evidence of active and collaborative learning in their syllabi
More to Come
We will update this page regularly to keep you informed of our progress on the Innovative Learning Spaces project.