Report from a Learning Spaces Conference

On Friday, February 24th, 65 academics and architects gathered at Minneapolis Community and Technical College for a one-day conference on Learning Spaces: Planning and Executing Active Learning Spaces

The conference was co-sponsored by the Society for College and University Planners (SCUP), the Learning Spaces Collaboratory (LSC), and the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU).

Galvanizing the discussion was a presentation, “Mining your spaces: Incremental Steps to Active Learning Spaces as noted in some Minnesota State Colleges and Universities,” by Sally Grans-Korsh. In her presentation, she illustrated a variety of ways to move from ‘mining’ to ‘transforming’ learning spaces. For example:

  • Repurposing ‘found’ spaces in existing lab space
  • Renewing a corridor to be more inviting
  • Adding natural light to update spaces for networking and causal learning.

There was an energetic discussion about how academics and architects can collaborate in tackling key planning issues, including:

  • What an institutional "planning" culture should be to ensure that the physical environment for learning enables an academic community to face its future with confidence and distinction.
  • What incremental steps can be taken to improve existing spaces; i.e. moving through the vision process to a more "useable" vision.
  • How cross-functional teams can be more functional, in particular how to advance collaborative partnerships between academics and facilities officers.
  • How to define active learning spaces in the process of planning and how to translate that definition into physical spaces that are functional immediately and into the future.

For the summary of the discussions captured during the reporting-out session, read more >>