Thinking Differently About Learning Spaces

One of the many challenges of teaching can be coming up with creative ideas to engage the learner. Dan Gilbert, co-founder and creative principal from Learning Innovations, Inc. recently led a workshop in the Marshall Student Center about creating learning spaces. Most of the attendees were faculty who are involved in one of the five Faculty Learning Communities on campus. Creating flexible learning environments where learning can be maximized was a focus of the workshop.

Dan engaged the Faculty in several activities that included physical movement, changes within the physical space, interacting with one another and collaborating on ideas. One of the activities was exploring the path each of us takes to learn something new. As you would have guessed there were differences and similarities at different points among the participants. Different subject matters also revealed variations in how we learn. The path to learning to play the guitar might look different than that for learning Japanese. Every individual’s path for each of the learning goals may look different than yours. Faculty then shared their ideas for creating learning activities and conversations that are interesting and focused on the experience of learning. According to Dan innovative learning involves creating a space where it is OK to take risks.    

Professor of History, Dr. Bill Cummings, attended the workshop and said, "Dan Gilbert's workshops were unique because they gave faculty from different departments and colleges a rare opportunity to work together and discuss how space and learning influence each other. The biggest insight I took away was how we can use physical space to make difficult concepts visible for students."

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