5 Steps to Establish a Collaborative Learning Environment When Designing New Learning Facilities

5 Steps to Establish a Collaborative Learning Environment When Designing New Learning Facilities

Not all schools have designated spaces for collaborative learning, so sometimes student collaboration must take place in the hallway, cafeteria, or other makeshift spaces. While finding multiple ways to use a learning space can be great for space efficiency, designing intentional collaborative learning environments is more effective in promoting successful student collaboration in the long run.

Designing and building a new learning facility offers an opportunity to create the exact learning spaces your students, teachers, and staff need to meet their educational goals. The design you select for your facilities plays a significant role in cultivating greater levels of collaboration in your school––tailoring a space to your school’s unique needs can help establish the collaborative learning environment you have always strived for.

Here are five steps to establish a collaborative learning environment when designing new learning facilities:

  1. Assemble a great team.

When designing new learning facilities, it’s important that every member in the design process is on the same page. Assembling a highly qualified team of builders and architects who communicate effectively with one another––and with you––is essential to ensure that the learning spaces you create can accommodate your ultimate goals for collaboration. The right blank spaces are key to designing collaborative learning environments that will support students, teachers, and staff.

  1. Set and stick to your budget.

Whatever the breakdown of your budget is, it’s important to keep every step of the building and design process in mind when allocating funds to different parts of your project. Keeping the financial details in mind is crucial to avoid going over budget when you start to explore all the construction and design options. Your project’s budget is another reason the right building and design team is so important: Each step in the building process needs to stay within your budget to ensure funds are not deducted from the next phase of your building project.

  1. Create comfortable, engaging learning spaces.

When creating new learning facilities, you have a unique opportunity to change the status quo in your new learning spaces, bringing in joyful colors and comfortable finishes––rather than the dull shades of beige and sterile spaces of traditional institutions. It’s important for students to feel comfortable in their classrooms and joyful when they are at school, and this can be attained by offering a variety of furniture options in aesthetically pleasing spaces. This supports social emotional learning (SEL) and provides students with ownership over their learning.

  1. Partner with a flexible furniture company.

MiEN Company offers flexible and collaborative pieces to furnish your new learning spaces and establish a collaborative learning environment. Selecting the right furniture, fabrics, and colors can enhance the student experience and help students engage in collaboration. Furniture pieces should be selected with use and flexibility in mind, ensuring long-term functionality of your school’s learning environments. Students’ emotions and needs while using different learning spaces are also important to consider when selecting furniture, and the right pieces can enhance children’s sense of freedom, ownership, and collaboration while they are at school.

  1. Get teacher input to ensure effective collaboration.

Teachers’ voices are very important in the process of designing new learning spaces. They’re the ones who are going to be in the classroom or collaborative learning environment with students each day, moving furniture around and helping their students find an engaging place in which to learn. Teacher input can help you sort out the details of a new environment. After teachers have had an opportunity to use the new space, their feedback can also be helpful for understanding what design elements lead to effective collaborative spaces and if any changes need to be made for better collaboration in the long term.

Developing a school building from scratch allows you to lean on your experiences with previous facilities and use them to create the best possible space for your students and teachers. Knowing what was hindering collaboration in past spaces can guide you in designing more effective collaborative learning environments in your new space. By focusing on these details when designing your new space, you can tailor the space to the needs of your students, teachers, and staff, helping to establish the collaborative spaces they need to succeed.

To learn about how one Hillsborough County Public Charter School built the collaborative, modern school facility of its dreams from scratch, read 5 Ways to Infuse Collaboration into a New Learning Space on Spaces4Learning.