Mind the Gap

Co-Created Learning Spaces in Higher Education

In: The Translational Design of Universities


Learning does not just take place in the mind of the learner, nor the community in which he or she learns. It also takes place in an environment, whether it is a classroom, a lecture theatre, a maker space, or library. Emerging evidence is beginning to show that the environment in which learning takes place is an important indicator of the quality of students’ learning experiences and a building block to support deep, rich learning. Additionally, the evolution in design of learning spaces from a user-centred approach to co-designing is changing the landscape of design practice.

Consequently, the broad aim of this chapter is to explore and understand how co-created physical spaces within universities can facilitate and enhance student engagement and access. This discussion begins by reviewing the literature and evidence base that supports the importance of learning spaces for rich learning and the impact of the design of learning spaces to student success. Drawing on insights globally, the chapter concludes that co-creation of spaces should include the largest user group, that is the students. Such collaboration of the design of learning spaces can benefit students’ learning and engagement, as well as the attributes necessary for graduate employability in the 21st century.


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