A DESIGNER`S GUIDE TO THE UNIVERSITY LEARNING SPACE

R. Støckert1, P. van Der Zanden2, V. De Caro-Barek1

1Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NORWAY)
2Delft University of Technology (NETHERLANDS)
Covid-19 has been forcing students, teachers, and universities to step into unfamiliar territories of new learning landscapes. The fast change from regular face-to-face (F2F) human interaction, sharing a physical space like an auditorium towards a screen to screen (S2S) shared online learning environment, exposed new challenges and unexpected transition artifacts. As a result, the term "hybrid" emerged to cover the gap in connecting physical and online learning environments, providing students the flexibility of attending a F2F lecture held at the university or participating digitally (face to screen) F2S.

Many universities invested in various technologies to equip auditoriums and group rooms with hybrid features enabling synchronous attendance of remote students. However, the physical space and frontal pedagogy remained the same.

To explore and evaluate changes and transitions happening within Higher Education, there is a need to categorize the various emerging learning scenarios in order to discern the parts that work well and those that did not. One must not just go back to “normal” and continue with the conventional frontal pedagogy while forgetting the changes and challenges we all have been through.

The Education Spaces Framework (ESF) consists of collections of empirical research, developments, and shared experiences collected by the Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). This technological and pedagogical framework merges the continuum from the physical over the hybrid up to the virtual space. It defines three levels of increasing interactive or collaborative education practices on the vertical axis and three onsite, hybrid, and online domains on the horizontal axis. It is within these transitions that our new learning landscape evolves.

This paper explores a special case within the ESF framework and contains design, construction, and use of a cross-university learning space built for a joint international master's in Music, Communication and Technology (MCT) between the University of Oslo (UiO) and NTNU.

Findings show that adding technology per see is not enough to deliver an optimal learning environment. It needs to be combined with an adapted pedagogical approach and proper learning space to enable and equalize all participants' learning and teaching experience. It is crucial to focus on physical and virtual design elements like acoustics, lights, HVAC, seating and sightlines, displays and sizes, and audiovisual qualities, which all must scaffold the universal design principles. Build on our findings we present guidelines and tools for the design of proper teaching and learning spaces.