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) partnered 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 includes 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 is freely available as a resource on the web and was developed using a collaborative process that shares thinking early and often from the broader community. The resources developed 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.
The core team of the Toolkit included:
- Kristin Antelman, Former Associate Director for the Digital Library, NCSU Libraries, PI
- Jason Casden, Former Lead Librarian, Digital Services Development, NCSU Libraries
- Patrick Deaton, Associate Director for Learning Spaces and Capital Management, NCSU Libraries
- Kim Duckett, Former Associate Head, Digital Technologies and Learning, NCSU Libraries
- David Woodbury, Head, Learning Spaces & Services, NCSU Libraries
- Maurice York, Former Head, Information Technology, NCSU Libraries
- Lisa Fiedor (through year 1), Former Learning Technologies Support Specialist, DELTA
- Mike Cuales (year 2), Associate Director, Creative and Multimedia, DELTA
- Elliot Felix, Director, brightspot strategy
- Jung Hoon Kim, Senior Consultant, Strategy+ at AECOM (formerly DEGW)
The project was guided by an Advisory Board:
- Robert Beichner, Professor of Physics and creator of SCALE-UP, North Carolina State University
- Malcolm Brown, Director, EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative
- Joseph Cevetello, Director of Learning Environments, Technology-Enhanced Learning and Assistant Professor of Clinical Education, University of Southern California
- Joan Lippincott, Associate Executive Director, Coalition for Networked Information
¹ Creelman, D. (2000). Interview with John Seely Brown and Paul Duguid based on their book The Social Life of Information