2008-07-23

How To Design A Learning Space

I helped Dan Gilbert to create this process chart as a tool for his Designing Learning Spaces class at Stanford University:


(Click To Enlarge)

This is a map that students would follow as they design their own learning spaces - the main project of the class. Now, this process was designed for the context of this class, but I believe it presents a nice general process for designing any learning space.

The basic process is that one begins by understanding the learner - who they are, what they believe, how they act, etc. One then moves toward figuring out what the learning goals are - what they will be learning and doing. The next step is to generate many many ideas and possible solutions for how the space can support this learning. These ideas should be shaped by the understanding of who the learner is. Then, through a process of prototyping and refinement, these steps are repeated until solutions can be proposed. Along the way, there are particular skills, questions, and tools to be used to accomplish each step. In Dan Gilbert's class, this process was applied to projects with outside partner institutions such as museums and schools.

But - how does this relate to the design of "mobile learning spaces"?

For my own research-design project, I'm seeking to understand children's mobile phone use in order to design learning interactions in public spaces. I view this project as fitting nicely within the learning space design process - the distinction being that I'm looking specifically at mobile technologies. The questions I'll be asking are: How can I design public learning space such as a museum so that it supports the use of mobile phones and mobile technology? And, how can I design mobile technologies and interactions that enhance learning in such a place. I don't have a good answer for these questions yet, of course, but my first step will be to understand who these children/ learners are, and how they use mobile phones.

--rolf

1 comment:

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