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  • Author or Editor: Leanne Rose-Munro x

At-scale Innovative University Learning Spaces of the Future

An Approach to Evidencing and Evaluating What Works


Leanne Rose-Munro and Saadia Majeed


This chapter explores a concept and an emerging methodological approach being used to inform the design development and evaluation of next generation university learning spaces. The methods of evaluation aim to capture evidence of the physical design affordances that facilitate student-centred collaborative learning experiences. The underpinning concept model provides justification for the mixed methods interdisciplinary approach, which includes the use of prototyping to interrogate the learning space design from the perspective of the interrelationships between pedagogy, spatial affordances and technology (Radcliffe, 2009; Finklestien, Weston, Ferris, & Winer, 2016).

During the design development phase, informed student voice is used to cultivate the design affordances. Informed student voice is once again used during the post occupancy evaluation phase to determine the success of inhabiting the next-gen learning space.

Next generation learning spaces (NGLS) are associated with physical spaces that are augmented with technology, aiming to enhance the learning opportunities for students (Brooks, 2012). NGLS’s can be described as innovative spaces that promote the mixing of the physical and virtual, with both individual and group learning, and a blended mobile presence that facilitates the personal engagement of each student with the learning process (Crisp, 2014).

The intersection of the pedagogical approach, spatial design and technology attributes in NGLS’s in primary and secondary schools aim to invite participation in personalised learning experiences through the use of differentiated teaching and learning practices and tools, thus enabling student-centred learning (Rose-Munro in Imms et al., 2015; Radcliffe, 2008; Blackmore et al., 2011). At this time, little is known about NGLS’s in higher education.

Commentators however report that transformational change in Universities are driven in part by an employability skills gap, with critics reporting that higher education institutions have failed to impart the necessary business and soft skills for graduate employment in economies that are increasingly complex and competitive (Collet, Hine, & du Plessis, 2014). It is imperative that all university stakeholders respond to transformational change and the development of innovative learning spaces with a clear vision of the expected return on investment, and build campus infrastructure with the confidence that the physical design affordances will have a significant impact upon enabling student success.