Take a step back in time with your learning space. Author David Thornburg is someone I learned about a few years ago when designing an office space for our start-up. He maintains that in order to engage and motivate, institutions need to offer a balance of key space types. Thornburg is an education consultant and provides an education learning theory based on his background as an engineer. Throughout his career, he experienced how learning and innovation went hand in hand.
Published in 2013, From the Campfire to the Holodeck provides learning metaphors that inspire the world of 21st century design. Readers discover how space plays a role in learning. Thornburg provides insights on workflows, engagement, empowered learners, and technology integration as well as heavily unpacks three critical concepts using metaphor.
The Learning Metaphors
People gather around and listen at the campfire. Large groups come together to tell stories or listen to a lecture. This space is open and designed to allow a presenter to share information (verbal & visual) with the audience. Storytelling, background information, questions, and answers are all part of this experience.
The Watering Hole
This is a social and comfortable place to share ideas. The watering hole is for peer conversations and brainstorming. It allows for sketching and conversations. Many need this space to process and verbalize what they learned or to talk through the next step.
Quiet and reflective time is critical to the creative process. The cave allows individuals to take time to think through problems or processes on their own. Many organizations do not provide this space. A cave can be made from dividers or curtains.
This space is designed to apply and experiment. There is no right way and in this space, there can be various approaches to solving the problem. Taking what has been learned from the other spaces learners can test and apply to their designs.
As you think about your space, consider how these might be incorporated into your environment. Start small and use inexpensive materials, and get your team or students involved with the process.
Designing the space together should be part of the special redesign process, and shared buy-in increases motivation every step of the way.