Utilising space depends on what you are hoping to achieve within the ‘learning space’ – Is it a lecture, seminar or workshop? Are you wanting students to sit, listen and take notes, or are you wanting students to collaborate on a task or project – Maybe a bit of both… Once you’ve identified the desired learning outcomes you can adjust the learning space accordingly.
I like the idea of flexibility – identifying what students need and experimenting to discover what works and bringing digital and physical spaces together. Ultimately the most important learning space is the one between the ears – We need to know our students and ensure they are engaged and receptive to the learning opportunities whether physical or digital.
A key consideration related to any space should be accessibility – The space must be accessible for all learners. I think it’s also essential for the teacher to remain aware of all aspects of the learning environment. If a teacher / facilitator is present in the learning environment, they need to be able to navigate around the space to ensure that all learners are actively involved and encouraged to participate in the lesson.
As teachers, we need to ensure our lesson slides and resources are available for students to access away from the traditional teaching environment. We also need to support and encourage learners to maximise the opportunities they have within the spaces available to them – eg Field Trips / Collaborative learning experiences where students can apply their learning within real life contexts
I like the idea of starting a session with an empty space and building and adapting the learning environment throughout the session. Having participants move around encourages interaction and helps break down barriers. It also appears to be a very good way to embed an initial assessment point by asking participants to rate themselves according to their existing knowledge levels. I’m not sure the term ‘cabaret layout’ is appropriate unless the facilitator intends to entertain through song and dance! I think ‘collaborative layout’ or ‘professional layout’ would be a better description for the intended learning outcomes!
As I mentioned previously, I think it’s really important for the teacher to remain aware of all aspects of the learning environment. Structuring the environment around the learning activities does enable the facilitator to navigate around the space to ensure that all learners are actively involved and encouraged to participate in the lesson.