STAY, INTERACT, AND LEARN: RESTYLING UNIVERSITIES’ EDUCATIONAL ENVIRONMENTS
1 Kingdom University (BAHRAIN)
2 Knowledge Media Research Center (GERMANY)
About this paper:
Conference name: 8th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 4-6 July, 2016
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Abstract:Universities are required to adapt not only their academic programs, but also facilities and educational environments in order to graduate new qualified generations. Within this framework, the impact of the physical environment and applications of new technologies on students’ learning outcomes is particularly important.
Dealing with educational environments and technologies requires to consider the lifestyle and learning habits of the new generation. They are active users of new communication technologies, they are more movable and socialized and they have their own preferences towards the physical environments and facilities. The educational environment at universities may mismatch with their needs, capabilities and expectations and hinder the progression in their studies and the achievement of learning outcomes required to succeeding in their career after graduation.
This theme has been introduced to graduation students in B.Sc. interior design program. The students were guided to develop appropriate questionnaires, structured interviews, and observation techniques to work on the design of two universities’ campuses in Bahrain. Based on those methods the behavior and learning habits of students from different disciplines were investigated and as well as their perceptions towards teaching and learning methods, where they prefer to interact for their study and accomplish courses’ assignments and projects, use of technological tools and applications, and current design and features of different spaces within the universities’ campuses such as Classrooms, labs, cafeteria, and halls.
The study provides insight into the students’ learning habits and preferences such as:
-There is a variation in the learning styles and moods according to the nature of the studied disciplines and the implemented teaching and learning methods. The law students are still relying on traditional learning style of using printed copies of text books and lecturers’ handouts; also writing their synopses and highlights in block notes and white papers. Architecture and design students use their own laptops more than fixed computers in the laps. IT and Engineering students are in a need for experimental and simulation labs.
-The cultural backgrounds have an impact on the formation of working and study groups, which has been reflected in forming male and female groups in and outside the classrooms and one of the universities was pressurized to separate part of the cafeteria for the female students.
- A considerable percentage of students involved in the survey spend their breaks outside the universities’ campuses and leaves directly after the classes. They prefer to study and accomplishes the assigned tasks in cafes or at homes.
The paper discusses the studies’ findings in order to define and highlight the most common characteristics of new students’ generations and learning habits. It purposes that considering students’ lifestyle, learning characteristics, and technological capabilities and accessibilities shall ensure the integrated design and development of educational frameworks, technology applications and physical environments. Restyling universities within formal and informal context will attract and encourage the students to stay/remain longer hours at universities, interact collaboratively in learning activities and enhance the overall outcomes of the educational processes.
Keywords: Universities’ Campuses, Educational Environment, Technology, Students’ Characteristics.