Seven Principles for Classroom Design: The Learning Space Rating System - Malcolm Brown
Organizing your thinking when beginning a major classroom project, whether renovating or building from scratch, can be a daunting task. Like most construction projects, a wealth of considerations and details need to be taken into account, disagreements settled, and coordination established. Typically these are high-stakes projects, with substantial resources in play and much visibility. Beyond the construction project lurks the challenge of managing the institution's classroom "fleet," ensuring that they contribute to academic strategic directions and aspirations.
Over the past year, a pair of resources have become available for classroom management: the Learning Space Rating System and the FLEXspace project. In two closely related articles you'll learn about these resources, appreciate their complementary fit, and understand how they might assist you in working with classrooms on your campus.
Why a Rating System for Learning Spaces?
As its name suggests, the Learning Space Rating System (LSRS) is a tool that enables scoring a classroom's design to see how well it supports active learning. Why create a classroom rating tool? What motivated development of the LSRS?
According to the adage, there are few certainties in life. Yet some things are hard to doubt because of the copious evidence testifying to their existence. The same can be said about the value of active learning. A great body of evidence makes a strong case for the value of active learning compared to its transmission-based predecessor, lecture-based learning.
The National Academies Press book How People Learn, first published in 1999, summarizes learning research and makes a strong case for active learning, based on the constructivist model of how we build and maintain our knowledge about the world. Most recently, an invaluable meta-analysis has again shown how active learning is more effective across a variety of science disciplines.