If you can design the physical space, the social space, and the information space all together to enhance collaborative learning, then that whole milieu turns into a learning technology and people just love working there and they start learning with and from each other. – John Seely Brown¹
Planning learning spaces becomes more complex every day. Whereas once this process amounted to providing mainly places for quiet, individual concentration, today it means creating more places that accommodate a wide range of activities, technologies, and participants – both in-person and connected virtually. In these spaces, people need to be able to create, retrieve, combine, display, share and information, then do it all over again, all in a space that they can easily reconfigure and is well supported by staff that meet and anticipate their needs.
North Carolina State University (NCSU) Libraries and its Distance Education and Learning Technology Applications (DELTA) are partnering with strategic consultants brightspot strategy and AECOM to design, share, and promote an updated model for institutions to plan and support technology-rich informal learning spaces. This Learning Space Toolkit will include a roadmap to guide the process along with tools and techniques for assessing needs, understanding technology, describing spaces, planning and delivering support services, and assembling space, technology, and services to meet needs, even as they change.
The Toolkit will be freely available as a resource on the web and will be developed using a collaborative process that shares thinking early and often from the broader community. The resources developed will support the full lifecycle of a project, from defining the goals and needs early on to constructing the space to supporting and assessing it. By using the Toolkit, institutions will be better equipped to orchestrate the planning process so that learners are better supported and space, technology, and services are effective.
¹ Creelman, D. (2000). Interview with John Seely Brown and Paul Duguid based on their book The Social Life of Information