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ERIC Number: EJ833675
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 7
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-1527-6619
Assessment: The Key to Creating Spaces that Promote Learning
Hunley, Sawyer; Schaller, Molly
EDUCAUSE Review, v44 n2 p26-28, 30, 32-34 Mar-Apr 2009
Learning spaces in higher education environments have received much attention in the last several years due to innovative architectural design, the movement to connect campus spaces with learning, and assessment technologies that allow for both qualitative and quantitative evaluation of relevant information. In this article, the authors describe their research which has focused on the connections among learning space, learning, and pedagogical methods and on the characteristics of successful programmatic change linked to learning spaces. Beginning in the fall of 2004, the authors instituted a multiyear study to: (1) develop a system for assessing physical learning spaces on college and university campuses; (2) explore the relationship between learning and the characteristics of learning spaces; (3) gather and examine data and information regarding satisfaction and engagement for faculty and students in learning environments; and (4) define the relationship between innovative pedagogy and learning spaces. The authors found that campus culture, social climate, and environmental press (the notion that environments shape individuals and thus their behavior within specific contexts) influence the effectiveness of learning spaces. They have also found that learning spaces can encourage or constrain behavior. Students and faculty engage in a full range of learning behaviors: (1) when environments are constructed to optimize interaction between faculty and students inside and outside of the classroom or course time; (2) when there is high engagement with course material both through class preparation, on the part of faculty and students, and through active learning inside class; and (3) when the atmosphere encourages students and faculty to behave as if "serious work" is taking place. The level of student and faculty engagement is a symptom of the effectiveness of the learning experience and represents the quality of learning outcomes. Without assessment, institutions may miss the important connections between context, institutional culture, and students' specific needs. Maximizing learning is seldom an endeavor that involves one simple approach; it therefore must be studied, experimented with, and perfected using active assessment. (Contains 2 figures and 11 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A