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Get the Most Out of Your Learning Space
Corporations can learn much from higher education institutions when it comes to utilizing physical learning spaces. When used properly, they can facilitate better learning.
Learning and development professionals put a great deal of thought into how they strategically deliver learning through a range of methods. Not as much thought is put into how to utilize the classrooms and other physical settings in which learning is administered.
Neglecting the potential of a learning space is, simply put, a waste of space. And learning professionals in the corporate world can seek design tips from those organizations with the most classrooms around — higher education institutions.
Working with higher education and corporate learning spaces are “one in the same,” said Tracy Fouchea, leader for the learning spaces pilot research program at Herman Miller, an office furnishing company.
“What universities are uncovering and what they’re testing [in their learning spaces] are also the same issues and trends that corporate learning leaders are wrestling with and trying to integrate into their own organizations,” Fouchea said, adding that schools are joining corporations in trying to understand what kind of technology to put into learning spaces.
“Universities are trying to figure out how these spaces can be multi-use so that 24-7 they can get the most use out of these spaces,” Fouchea said. “Corporations are asking the same things of themselves.”
Learning is happening in both formal and informal manners in both companies and universities.
“Learning is happening anywhere,” Fouchea said. “That’s the same for companies and that’s the same for universities. Students have tools to plug in and connect in ways they haven’t before. Those blurring of lines where people can work anywhere — you can work at the coffee bar — [mean] there’s so many places to be plugged in. Think about informal and formal learning and ways that the physical space can support that.”
When it comes to evaluating a space, one must think of what is being delivered and what is needed in that space. Another thing to keep in mind, Fouchea said, is if the space is meant for large or small groups and can be supportive of social interaction. Can learners look at each other and the learning facilitator eye-to-eye?
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