In a blended learning world, learning spaces need to adapt

Teachers who are moving to a blended learning paradigm soon realize that their traditional physical “classrooms” need modification. In most cases, traditional furniture in a traditional room with a whiteboard at the front doesn’t support any of the blended learning models.

This can produce a loss of momentum and enthusiasm as the teacher struggles to find a solution. Teachers who are implementing blended learning have to “mark time,” get frustrated or attempt to “get by” with what is available while flexible learning spaces are designed and built.

Thus, an organization that is moving to a blended learning model needs to be aware of a number of important planning, design and timing aspects of flexible learning environments. Some of the areas that need consideration are covered in this article. A radar graph is provided to allow an organization to determine its understanding of and commitment to the changes that are needed. (Other aspects of an organization wide move to blended learning, namely infrastructure, leadership, mindset, and organizational staffing structure, are outlined in previous articles in this series.)

Graph 1 Peter West Flexible Learning Spaces

While reading these points, rate your organization’s readiness on a scale of 1 (Poor) to 5 (Excellent) on each of these points.

Next page: A planning outline for creating flexible spaces

About the Author:

Peter West is Director of eLearning at Saint Stephen’s College in Australia. He has over 15 years’ experience leading K12 schools in technology enhanced education, particularly blended learning using online learning environments. He can be reached at pwest@ssc.qld.edu.au or at www.blended-thinking.com.

Jamie Dorrington is Headmaster of Saint Stephen’s College. He is an advocate of using technology to enhance learning, and has a particular interest in the design and development of flexible learning spaces to support blended learning. He can be contacted at jdorrington@ssc.qld.edu.au