Developing Curriculum-Led Human-Centred Spatial Design Briefs for Next Generation Learning Environments in Higher Education

Common Ground Publishing
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Design Priciples and Practices: An International J, 2010, 4 (3), pp. 125 - 136
Issue Date:
Full metadata record
There have been major shifts in learning goals, curricula and pedagogy over the past century, particularly the last thirty years. In the last decade the area of learning space design has emerged as a key research focus, policy priority and strategic direction in both schools and the higher education sector. In response to these major shifts, innovative spatial approaches to learning have given rise to ânext generationâ learning environments. These environments address a multiplicit and fluid set of parameters and considerations. The rate of change in the sector and in technology, shifts in pedagogy and conceptions of learning, and the needs and expectations of new generations of students all give rise to a far more complex process than the design of traditional learning spaces. In the conception of these next generation learning environments the relationships between the users, curriculum, pedagogy, technology and spatial environments are recognized as fluid and evolving and influenced by a diverse array of stakeholders both within and beyond the campus. Intrinsic to these relationships are strategic directives, objectives and transformative processes acting on macro and micro levels. It is this complexity and interrelatedness that signals the need for universities to not only rethink the typology of environments for learning but also the process for conceiving, briefing and creating them. It is this need, and the paucity of research in this area, that defines the focus of this paper and an Australian Learning and Teaching Council funded research project from which this paper stems. The project is mapping a protocol for the development of curriculum-led human-centred spatial design briefs for next generation learning environments. This paper presents the designerly approach to the research project, the methods for investigation, brief development and the âtoolsâ being developed and tested.
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