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Make Space for Learning 創建學習空間

MakeSpaceforLearning

English中文
While we are expecting our students to acquire 21st century skills, it is believed that our traditional school setting would be changed to accommodate the need. Spaces are themselves agents for change. Changed spaces will change practice. Today’s classrooms seek connectivity and collaboration by seamlessly integrating pedagogy, technology and learning space design that create social learning (JISC, 2006). A lesson that is alive with action in analytical thinking, creativity, reflection and exploration may result from the redesign of our learning spaces.

A traditional classroom setting has an authoritative structure that we have taken for granted. The focal point is at the front of the room with the projection system behind the lecturer’s lectern, and desks arrayed in single file directing attention to the action in front. This design is in fact suggesting a teacher-centred and passive learning environment. This lecture-type setting still serves its function but the narrative of the classroom should be reshaped to maximise student engagement and active learning.


Traditional classroom setting.
(Microsoft Word clip art)

Transforming Classrooms into Learning Spaces

Learning space design in the 21st century is going for a holistic approach with an emphasis on human-centred design and embedding technology into learning and teaching spaces. Teaching should no longer be a kind of ‘broadcast’ of course content with students as ‘receivers’. Learning is made more meaningful when the learners participate actively through interactivity, multiple roles (such as listener, critic, peer mentor and presenter), and social engagement (such as group work, discussion and peer learning). Learning spaces are not mere containers but environments for people (Brown & Long, 2006).

Redesigning of learning spaces has emerged as an important consideration and institutional activity for universities and higher education institutions. It is important to have a vision of space before designing a learning space (Oblinger, 2005). So what is the applications on Vocational and Professional Education and Training (VPET)? How does the learning space fit in the institution’s teaching philosophy? It will be a collaborative effort and decision by the leaders and stakeholders of the institution. However, we may take example and learn from good practices of others. In a recent visit to the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) College Central in Singapore, its mega campus certainly impresses, but its learning space design inspires.


ITE College Central campus.
(Photo courtesy of CLT, 2016)

Enable Active and Collaborative Learning through Space Design

An institution’s philosophy about learning and teaching is suggested through its learning spaces. Standard lecture halls and classrooms with immovable chairs convey an image of power and authority that disrupt the motivation for peer collaboration and active participation (Oblinger, 2005). Make spaces flexible and accommodating to group work and idea building. Being able to learn in an authentic workplace context or setting is especially important in VPET. When space might not be readily available for major transformation due to geographical and land restriction, careful planning can still be done to enhance spaces for integrating knowledge acquisition and hands-on practice.


ITE College Central – An Aircraft Systems Maintenance Class in Aerospace Hub.
(Photo courtesy of CLT, 2016)


ITE College Central – Aerospace Hub.
(Photo courtesy of CLT, 2016)

Utilise Every Space for Learning

In the process of designing a collaborative learning space, all available areas count. One of the easier transformation is to use classroom walls and desks as writing spaces. Foldable and movable desks and chairs allow flexible seating for adjusting spaces depending on the purpose of the lesson. We can also take advantage of pod or satellite stations for fostering an interactive, student-centred learning experience. Ideas are around but it takes action to make things happen.


ITE College Central – Writable walls and desks.
(Photo courtesy of CLT, 2016)

Reflection

When recent learning research indicates that competence is developed in active, exploratory, and social setting, it implies that classrooms may need to be designed differently than they were in the last century (Oblinger, 2005). Space has always been an issue in Hong Kong but learning should be the focus. Knowing the content and working alone is not enough in today’s standard. Synergy building and using collaborative effort for problem solving and advancement in competitiveness in the global market would be a commendable vision. Among all other efforts and changes to realise the vision, it will also require new learning space design, not in the future but now. Let’s make our students be at the centre of learning space design.

References:

Brown, M., & Long, P. (2006). Trends in learning space design. In D. G. Oblinger (Ed), Learning Spaces (pp. 9.1-9.11). EDUCAUSE.
   Retrieved 2 June 2016 from http://www.educause.edu/research-and-publications/books/learning-spaces

JISC [Joint Information Systems Committee]. (2006). Designing spaces for effective learning:
   A guide to 21st century learning space design (p. 30). HEFCE. Retrieved 1 June 2016 from
   http://www.westernsprings.school.nz/New%20School/becoming_a_new_school/Resources/jisc_effective_learning_spaces.pdf

Oblinger, D. (2005). Leading the transition from classrooms to learning spaces. Educause Quarterly, 28(1), 14-18.

當我們一方面期望學生得到二十一世紀的技能,傳統的學校環境亦要作出適當的配合。空間成就改變的出現,改變空間就改變常規。現今的課堂,為了追求「連繫性」和「協作性」,須完善地融合教學法、科技和學習空間的設計,以培養學生的社交能力 (JISC, 2006)。重新設計學習空間有助學生從分析思考、創意、反思和探索中學習。

傳統課室環境講求權威性,焦點在課室的正前方,老師的講台面向學生,後面設有投影設備,桌子單向排成直線,使學生注意力集中於前方。這設計塑造了以老師為教學中心和被動的學習環境。這種講課式的環境仍可達到其目的,但課堂的內容必須重新調整,以提升學生的投入感,主動學習。


傳統的課室環境。
(Microsoft Word 美工圖案)

將課室轉變為學習空間

二十一世紀學習空間的設計講求整體性,著重以人為本的設計,將科技融入學與教的空間。教學不再是老師「傳播」課程內容,由學生「接收」。學生藉著積極參與互動學習,扮演多重角色 (如聆聽者、評論員、朋輩導師及演講者),投入社交活動中 (小組合作、討論及朋輩學習),使學習變得更富意義。學習空間不單是學習的地方,更營造了學習的環境 (Brown & Long, 2006)。

重新設計學習空間成為了大學及高等教育院校的重要考慮及活動。設計學習空間前,必須先對空間抱有願景 (Oblinger, 2005)。那麼職業專才教育的願景是什麼呢?學習空間又怎樣配合學院的教學理念?這將會是學院管理層及持份者的共同決定。然而,我們可先從其他院校身上汲取經驗。最近我們到新加坡的工藝教育學院中央校園參觀,寬敞的校園令人難忘,學習空間的設計更啟發思維及觸發深思。


工藝教育學院中央校園。
(相片由教學中心提供,2016)

空間設計促進主動及協作學習

一所院校學與教的哲學,從學習空間便可略知一二。標準授課形式的禮堂和課室中固定的椅子傳達了權力與威信的形象,卻破壞了朋輩間合作和主動投入學習的動機 (Oblinger, 2005)。設計空間時應盡量靈活,方便小組合作和構思意見。職業專才教育尤其注重在真實工作環境或場地學習。當空間受地理或土地限制而無法大規模改動時,小心規劃,擴闊空間,就能結合傳授知識和實務操作。


工藝教育學院中央校園─
於航空樞紐中心進行飛機系統維修班。
(相片由教學中心提供,2016)


工藝教育學院中央校園─航空樞紐中心。
(相片由教學中心提供, 2016)

善用每個空間學習

設計學習空間作協作用途時,宜盡用每一個角落,例如利用課室牆壁和桌子作書寫用途。摺疊式和活動式的桌椅,容許老師就課堂的目的,隨時調整空間,靈活安排座位。我們更可參考衛星站的特性來營造互動及以學生為本的學習體驗。意念處處,有待我們付諸實行。


工藝教育學院中央校園 ─
可供書寫用途的牆壁和桌子。
(相片由教學中心提供, 2016)

反思

近日有研究指出,只有透過主動、探索性和社交的環境,才能建立能力。這正揭示課室的設計需要重新考慮,而且要有別於上世紀的設計 (Oblinger, 2005)。雖然空間問題於香港經常出現,但都不能因此而窒礙學習。單單知道工作知識和具有獨立工作的能力,仍未達到現今社會的要求。同心協力,共同努力解決問題,並在全球市場競爭中前進,才是值得推崇的願景。為了實踐這個願景,除了付出努力和積極改變外,我們還需要重新思考及設計學習空間。讓我們從現在起一起構思以學生為中心的學習空間吧!

參考文獻:

Brown, M., & Long, P. (2006). Trends in learning space design. In D. G. Oblinger (Ed), Learning Spaces (pp. 9.1-9.11). EDUCAUSE.
   Retrieved 2 June 2016 from http://www.educause.edu/research-and-publications/books/learning-spaces

JISC [Joint Information Systems Committee]. (2006). Designing spaces for effective learning:
   A guide to 21st century learning space design (p. 30). HEFCE. Retrieved 1 June 2016 from
   http://www.westernsprings.school.nz/New%20School/becoming_a_new_school/Resources/jisc_effective_learning_spaces.pdf

Oblinger, D. (2005). Leading the transition from classrooms to learning spaces. Educause Quarterly, 28(1), 14-18.