Space, whether physical or virtual, formal or informal, institutional or personal, indoor or outdoor, private or public, identified or anonymous, stationary or mobile can have a significant impact on learning. As a simple example, the kinds of reflections students may be willing to make in a public space may be quite different to those that they are willing to make in a private, secure space.

Not surprisingly, learning is most effective when an appropriate blend of learning spaces is used to enhance the student experience - but what kinds of spaces does your course require, and how can you incorporate these in a consistent way to create bridges between subjects and ensure your students aren't constantly having to negotiate new spaces with each new subject?

When you are thinking about this perspective, while it is closely linked to ICTs, you might benefit from thinking in more general terms rather than in terms of specific tools. For example, 'We need a blog space that allows for private and public reflection, which starts as a secure institutional tool but moves into freely-available social media in the final year as students transition into professional life' rather than any specific product.


Learning from others' experiences...

talk.jpgIn April 2011, FLI interviewed 9 of our Teaching Fellows who have been exploring blended and flexible learning in their courses/subjects. The interviews looked at what the fellows had been working on, and what they had learned in relation to BFL and in particular, to each of the five perspective areas. The videos of these interviews are currently being edited, and will be available from this site very soon. We are also currently writing up a series of case studies that highlight the approaches others have taken to blended and flexible learning. These will be added here, as soon as they are available.

In the meantime, this example from the University of Edinburgh may be of interest. The university has redesigned learning spaces in response to learners' needs. The Science and Engineering campus has a new learning and teaching cluster which offers a variety of learning and teaching settings designed to promote collaborative work, together with a large informal study and social area. The main library has undergone major redevelopment to support a range of learning and research activities.

For further examples, check CSU's 'About ICT Integration' and 'About ePortfolios' sites on Interact, and check the 'case studies' and 'examples' tags in FLI's bookmarks on Delicious.


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What kinds of learning spaces are working most effectively in your subject/course, and to what purpose? Please share here or, if you want to leave a general comment (e.g. what you need from this page that isn't yet here), use the discussion tab at the top. You'll need to request membership of the wiki to be able to edit this page.



Some questions for course teams to consider

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What kinds of learning spaces do you utilize throughout the course and why?
  • Incorporate a rationale for blending learning spaces into subject outlines.
  • Consider the needs and purposes of students, teachers and learning outcomes, and match these to the affordances of various learning spaces, including physical, virtual, formal, informal, blended, mobile, personal, outdoor and professional.
  • Include both public and private (personal) learning spaces.
  • Provide metaphors and analogies to personalize and humanize the transactional space.

Are different spaces used more extensively at different times during the course?

What level of control do your students have over their learning spaces?

Do you support private as well as public learning spaces?

Do you allow students to use their own spaces (e.g. social media)?

How do you support students to participate effectively in these spaces?

How effectively do you use various learning spaces with your on-campus students?
  • Utilise Interact tools for revision, archival purposes and student interactions (e.g. wiki).
  • Utilise PebblePad for the development of subject and course student portfolios.
  • Utilise DOMS to upload and share student exemplars with peers.

Could you apportion your online/f2f time differently to achieve better outcomes?



Toolbox

tools.jpgRemember that there's a wide network of your peers who are more than willing to offer guidance and resources on the Yammer community.

We're collecting the best of what we find in our Delicious site, tagged to make it easier to find what you need. The most recent additions are included here: