Learning Spaces

July 13, 2019

 

As part of my year two experience of my Masters of Arts in Educational Technology program, we began talking about learning spaces as the place where learning takes place. We previously discussed four learning theories (behaviorism, cognitivism, constructivism, and connectivism). The learning space I explored was The Hub. On first look, it an open room with cozy nooks, whiteboards, and plenty of workspaces. Once I explored the space, there was a lot more to it. There are many different types of learning spaces. When you first walk in, there is a modern bistro sitting area. Across one wall of windows are café style tables and chairs. There are also cozy sitting areas, work tables, coffee, and printers.

 

My favorite space within the space are the individual work rooms. It looks ordinary at first glance; a normal workspace with a desk and four chairs. They each have a tall window to allow natural light in. The rooms are painted a bright green. I then noticed the walls looked dirty. It looked as if someone had been writing on it. Upon closer look, they had! There is a note posted to remind the users of this room to erase the walls when they are done. This space allows for learners to explore, collaborate, visualize, and connect ideas.

 

This learning space says that learning is active. It supports the constructivism theory. In this theory, learning happens when the learner is actively engaged. In the space, the learner is encouraged to work with others. While collaborating with either their own ideas or others, the learner is making new connections. Thus the learner is seeing the content in a different way than they have before, unleashing understanding of new knowledge and perspective.

 

I enjoyed the room with the whiteboard walls because it allows the learner to have a visual mind dump to create these connections between different pieces of knowledge. I think this room is a great place for learning and creativity to happen here. It is a great way to show your thinking, keep track of what worked and what didn’t, and to see the bigger picture.

 

The one thing I did wonder about was how accessible is this space to the general public? Is anyone allowed to come and work in this space? Can you reserve rooms in this space like you can at the library? It seems like I great space for students to come and work, however it feels more like it's an office space with exclusivity to who can use the space. Even as I toured the space on my own, the people whose office this was asked if I needed anything, as if I was at the wrong place. Maybe I did look lost and they were trying to be friendly and helpful. I hope this is a working space students can use as this please. I believe there needs to be more open spaces like this around MSU's campus to instill a climate of collaborative learning.

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