Learning Places Project: Introducing, constructing and evaluating active learning environments

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As the global higher education landscape undergoes change at an unprecedented rate, are learning spaces evolving in tandem, leading or chasing the change? Learning spaces are no longer bound by physical or time constraints; advancements in information and communication technologies have penetrated all academic disciplines and formal bodies of knowledge (Usher, 2010). Within the higher education learning landscape, technological advancements have made possible hybrid models of interactive learning; promoting access, collaboration, sustainability and global awareness. As educationalists the learning spaces we create for our students need not be bound by physical or time constraints. How we shape, re-shape, use and re-use spaces can be transformative to the students learning experience. This presentation will examine the integration of space, teaching approaches, facilities and resources to support student learning across the Faculty of Art, Design and the Built Environment, Ulster University. The ‘Learning Places’ project includes a number of cross-school and programme activities with both staff and students. They include the design and fitting of a pilot classroom to test the SCALE-UP (Student Centred Active Learning Environment with Upside-down Pedagogies) approach to teaching large group teaching, student compilations of their learning experience through the use of ‘Photo-voice’, print and digital publications, joint staff and student drawing workshops, networking events, project website and blog. All of the activities will investigate the role of the learner as an active agent in their learning experience and consider the role of the teacher as an expert facilitator of learning (Race, 2011). Our professional challenge is to build a sense of belonging and community among students. Space becomes place as when endowed with value (Yi-Fu Tuan, 2001). The construction of learning places that foster high-quality learning through inclusivity and equity of all learners is dependent upon our understanding of and responsiveness to how students use such places. Assessing the elements, structure and impact of those places (physical and/or digital) through discussion with both staff and students will inform and inspire the pedagogies of the future.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUnknown Host Publication
PublisherSociety for Research into Higher Education
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 8 Dec 2015
EventConverging Concepts in Global Higher Education Research: Newer Researcher perspectives - Newport, Wales
Duration: 8 Dec 2015 → …


ConferenceConverging Concepts in Global Higher Education Research: Newer Researcher perspectives
Period8/12/15 → …


  • Learning spaces
  • environments
  • active learning
  • technology
  • new pedagogies
  • social media


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