Last week I attended the launch of a new book on learning space design, Physical and Virtual Learning Spaces in Higher Education, co-edited by my former colleagues Kay Souter and Matt Riddle from La Trobe University; Mike Keppell, the third editor, was unfortunately unable to make the trip over to Melbourne from W.A.
Appropriately, La Trobe’s Vice-Chancellor, Paul Johnson, launched the book in the newly-refurbed library space at La Trobe’s Bundoora campus. In his speech, he emphasised that learning spaces for the twenty-first century must serve the needs and interests of multiple and sometimes competing constitutents, in a changing context for higher education.
The book is an offshoot from a project on learning spaces funded by the (now-defunct) Australian Learning and Teaching Council. Learning spaces evoke complex questions that are best approached through interdisciplinary perspectives and conversations. Accordingly, the Spaces for Knowledge Generation Project, involved a multi-disciplinary partnership between La Trobe University, Charles Sturt University, Apple, and Kneeler Design Architects.
The SKG project used generative activities including an international study tour, interviews, seminars, and participatory design to create a set of principles for learning space design. Those principles – Comfort, Aesthetics, Flow, Equity, Blending, Affordances, and Repurposing – attempt to address the multiple dimensions and stakeholders involved in learning space design, use, and evaluation.
Congratulations to Mike, Kay and Matt on the book!