LEARNING AND TEACHING SPACE IN HIGHER EDUCATION
evalag (Evaluation Agency Baden-Wuerttemberg, Mannheim, Germany) as a partner together with seven European higher education institutional partners, including the project coordinator Birmingham City University, was granted a Strategic Partnership for Higher Education within the Erasmus+ Program under the key action Cooperation for Innovation and the Exchange of Good Practices. The project had a duration of 36 months (December 2019 to November 2022) and was carried out by its seven partners from seven European countries, namely Austria, Germany, Kosovo, Poland, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom. (The eighth partner University of Milan, Italy, participated only in the first Intellectual Output.)
LEARNING AND TEACHING SPACE IN HIGHER EDUCATION
Project Duration: 01-12-2019 - 30-11-2022
Project Reference: 2019-1-UK01-KA203-061968
EU Grant: 253102 EUR
This project developed a set of core principles that (higher) education institutions can use to help them design, construct and develop new learning and teaching (L&T) spaces. Increasingly, quality assurance (QA) in higher education is expanding to include a wide range of aspects of university life that includes buildings and the environment. The physical space of universities has often focused on the activities of L&T. This project provides a framework for (higher) education institutions to work within to ensure that they make best use of their resources.
The aim of the project was to develop a set of comprehensive design principles that institutions can draw on to inform the development of new learning spaces. The project aim was achieved by addressing the following objectives:
- To identify the meaning of ‘innovative L&T’ in different contexts across Europe;
- To identify existing policy and practice towards L&T space and related issues across EU and national HE sectors;
- To identify existing practice and principles across the partnership institutions;
- To share practice and examples across the partnership;
- To highlight examples of good practice in design and development of L&T space;
- To explore the extent to which QA includes the built environment of higher education institutions.
Description of activities
The principal output of the project is a set of core principles that institutions can use to help them to design new L&T spaces, whether developing existing buildings or constructing new spaces. This output is built upon two core sets of data: wider, national explorations of policy and practice followed by a series of case studies that explore the issues facing universities in building new L&T spaces, determining what works and what does not work and highlighting good practice. In addition, on-site visits and assessments of traditional and innovative L&T spaces at four partner universities in Aveiro, Birmingham, Pristina and Vienna add empirical evaluative knowledge about the design, implementation and use of L&T spaces.
Methodology to be used
The project took a pragmatic approach, where each stage of the project was informed by the previous stage. This approach has proved successful in several of our previous EU-funded projects and is logical for the proposed project. The first stage of the project was to undertake a set of studies to identify policy and practice across national higher education sectors. The second stage of the project was to focus on the partner institutions and explore what activity is currently in process, what approaches are taken to building new L&T spaces and stakeholder perceptions of the space available to them. These two stages of work informed the core output of this project, the basic principles of constructing L&T spaces. The resulting output has to be piloted and evaluated and is used in the partner universities.
The key tangible result of this project is a set of "Principles and Guidelines for the Design, Implementation and Use of Higher Education L&T Spaces" derived, among other things, from scholarly literature and seven SWOT analyses of "Politics, Institutional Policies and Practice of the Design, Implementation and Use of Higher Education L&T Spaces". These SWOT analyses refer to Birmingham City University, University of Aveiro, Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Public University of Navarre, AAB College Pristina, Stuttgart Media University, and Vienna University of Economics and Business.
The main impact of the project would be to encourage wider consideration of how the design of learning spaces contributes to the implementation of innovative and effective L&T practice across the EHEA.
Potential longer term benefits
The project attempts to share good practice in facilitating innovative L&T, taking account of the rapid acceleration of technological innovation and how this is driving L&T and student engagement. This could also include relatively new developments such as how learning analytics is contributing to a greater understanding of how learners use resources. In other words, design of learning spaces has to take into account technological development and changes in L&T delivery as well as responding to student engagement evidenced through data collection.
The creation of these resources has been (partially) funded by the ERASMUS+ grant program of the European Union under grant no. 2019-1-UK01-KA203-061968. Neither the European Commission nor the project's national funding agency are responsible for the content or liable for any losses or damage resulting of the use of these resources.