WHAT ARE STUDENTS LOOKING FOR IN LEARNING SPACES TODAY?
Students are looking for opportunities to connect with each other and faculty on different levels, from in-person to social media. They are drawn to flexible spaces that support formal and informal activities. Learning is an active process, and many academic spaces today are blurring the lines between instructional time, lab time and personal time so that students can work collaboratively outside the classroom. Experiential learning supports workplace readiness, and encourages students to extend classroom learning to the broader campus, surrounding neighborhoods, regional community, and ultimately the workplace.
WHAT ARE COMMON PLANNING FEATURES THAT SUPPORT LEARNING ACROSS DISCIPLINES?
While each academic discipline is different, they all benefit from a planning strategy that supports the "see one, do one, teach one" approach. This can occur in many different learning spaces. In a science lab, for instance, a student listens to the instructor, then conducts an experiment, then demonstrates the science lesson to a fellow student. Likewise in a performing arts space, a student listens to the instructor, then practices the activity, then participates in ensemble and master class activity where students actively listen to each other's work. The "see-do-teach" process in well-planned environments creates meaningful experiences that reinforce learning concepts and build content knowledge along with skills like teamwork and communication. These positive experiences often extend beyond graduation, resulting in alumni who are better prepared for their future endeavors, more engaged with their institution, and more likely to contribute back--whether financially or otherwise.
HOW CAN RELATED SPACES, SUCH AS RECREATIONAL FACILITIES, PROMOTE LEARNING?
Wellness and healthy living are growing topics on campus. Recreational spaces that promote wellness, development of the whole person, and access to outdoors contribute to each student's physical and emotional health. Physical activity and exercise can reinforce social engagement, build comradery, and help students feel good about themselves and the college--which in turn builds synergy in the classroom and promotes better learning.