A Learning Plaza is characterised by a varied and shared use of the space. The plaza offers a mix of functions for formal and informal learning, and for students and staff: instruction, discussion, group work, meetings, lunch, independent study, flexible workspaces, Active Learning Classroom concepts, and relaxation. These activities take place in different zones. The idea is that the space should be available as a place to study if it has not been fully booked as a location for formal education. An information screen at the entrance will show when the space is available. Instructors will be able to book the space for teaching. Depending on the number of students in the course, multiple instructors may be able to use the space at the same time. Different learning activities may take place in the various zones of the space simultaneously.
WHICH PHASE IS THE PROJECT CURRENTLY IN?
This project is currently in the initiation phase. A draft list of functional requirements and requests has been drawn up, but it needs more consideration. Students and instructors with whom the idea has been discussed are enthusiastic about it; instructors especially appreciated the alternation between teaching methods. They also stated that such a space would be ideal for large groups of students working in projects. Students were mainly enthusiastic about using the space as an informal learning space. Both groups expect that acoustics may be an area of concern.
Before we furnish a complete, large-scale Learning Plaza, we aim to learn as much as we can from experiences gained where the concept has been applied at a smaller scale, such as the Coll@b and the PPE Commons room in Utrecht. Maastricht University has also recently launched a pilot with a Learning Plaza. Naturally, we will include their preliminary results in the follow-up, and we expect that we will be able to experiment with the concept in the Innovation Lab once it is complete.