5 Tips to Design an Active Learning Space
- November 24, 2021
- Anthony Bowie
When building a new school, it’s important to design a building that not only fits the academic needs of modern learners, teachers, and administrators, but that also is equipped with features to support the school’s mission. Many schools are now focused on incorporating active learning principles into the design of their learning environments, as this methodology offers flexible spaces to support modern learners.
The design process for an active learning space should include a focus on student engagement, which can be accomplished through contemporary, alternative seating and furniture options. For students to be actively involved with their learning, spaces should include options outside of the traditional desk-and-lectern classroom setup. With this in mind, there are a few steps school leaders and designers can take to create effective active learning spaces.
Consider a variety of modern, innovative, and comfortable furniture options. Soft seating options can be rearranged to utilize the space for different learning needs. Design an active learning space where students can choose between floor seating, standing desks, rocker stools, or traditional tables and chairs in order to focus on their learning rather than being uncomfortable or being distracted by the need to move their bodies. Address the diversity of learners by considering students’ unique learning needs when choosing options for seating and other classroom furniture.
A learning hub is one way to create an active learning space that enables students to collaborate and engage with more complex courses and projects. In one of these spaces, you can include presentation tools (like a TV or projector), various seating options, tables of various sizes and types, and more to encourage engagement and small-group learning.
Distinct, separated areas like a learning hub can also be useful for special sessions, social-emotional learning groups, and other interventions. These spaces offer a private, distraction-free zone for one-on-one or small group sessions. For example, a therapist who is working with a student can have complete privacy in this learning space, but the space can still be utilized for other learning needs when necessary.
Extra space in hallways, corners, and nooks throughout the school don’t have to go to waste––utilize them as additional active learning space or meeting area. Creating little “inlets” in these spaces can accommodate small groups and one-on-one learning sessions. Installing small couches and tables can further make these spaces conducive to this type of learning.
Add in features to your learning spaces where students can have fun. For example, one MiEN customer added a slide in their media center that they use throughout the week for fun rewards. Don’t worry about it being unconventional, consider the age of your students and add elements to your active learning space that they will find fun!
A design partner like MiEN Environments is a valuable resource when designing active learning spaces in your school. Whether you’re working with builders to create a new learning facility from scratch or refreshing your current school building to improve active learning, MiEN is a great partner from design to installation.
To learn more about designing an active learning space, read the SmartBrief article: 7 design tips for active learning spaces