Educational principles

The Future Learning Spaces project has formulated six educational principles for the physical learning environment that support and reinforce Utrecht’s teaching vision.  These principles differentiate between learning spaces and the physical learning environment;

A ‘learning space’ can be any physical space where learning takes place. This can include formal, scheduled learning in classrooms, or informal learning in study nooks, work stations, study landscapes, picnic tables or coffee bars.

The ‘physical learning environment’ encompasses all learning spaces, in their spatial orientation and relationship to one another and with other functions in and around the university buildings.

The six principles are:

The physical learning environment:

  • offers sufficient opportunities for meeting, contact and exchange between fellow students, instructors, researchers and society, both within and outside of one’s discipline and institution.
  • ensures the continuity of informal learning in the immediate vicinity of formal learning.
  • is pleasant to spend time in.

Learning spaces:

  • stimulate interaction between the student and the instructor, fellow students, the learning materials and with special materials or facilities that are not available at home.
  • stimulates diversification of learning activities. Each formal learning space must at least facilitate instruction, independent learning and collaborative learning, and make it possible to work digitally (including on students’ own devices, if applicable).
  • are student-oriented instead of instructor-oriented. Instruction must be possible, but is not the leading work format in learning spaces.

These teaching principles exist in parallel to other principles, for example in the areas of sustainability, inclusiveness and finances.