Future Learning Environments

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Aligning Physical Learning Spaces and Contemporary Curricula in Health Professions Education

For most people it’s quite obvious that a modern application for a smartphone is not compatible with an old Motorola cellphone from mid 1980s’. The hardware is simply not compatible with the software. However this insight does not travel well to other contexts.

Many medical schools around the world still use classrooms and other physical learning environments designed for monologue-driven teaching provided by an expert teacher, at the same time as health professions education is shifting to a more learner-centered approach to learning. Even worse: new medical school buildings or hospitals being currently planned for and built still reflect the same old fashioned ideas about learning. Software and hardware is simply not compatible, or formulated differently, the physical learning environments are not aligned with contemporary curricula in health professions education.

Dialogue and peer-to-peer learning are central dimensions of contemporary discourse in education, however not reflected in most physical learning spaces. Modern technology has also changed where, when and how students learn. This has a strong impact on physical learning spaces to accommodate these new learning patterns.

Rather than thinking about learning as an activity to be conducted in a classroom at schedule time we have to re-conceptualize and think about learning and learning spaces on various scales interconnected in the overall networked learning landscape: formal learning spaces (classrooms / labs / seminar rooms); buildings (with its informal and connecting spaces in between formal learning spaces; campus; the urban landscape. All these scale levels offer distinct spaces for learning.

Karolinska Institutet initiated the project Future Learning Environments in 2009. The aim was to re-align our curricula in health professions with our physical learning spaces.

The concept

Three principles based in best evidence in medical education and adult learning have guided the program to redevelop existing learning spaces and to develop the program for new buildings. Physical learning spaces should foster:

  • Dialogue (between faculty members and learners, as well as in-between learners in a formal classroom setting)
  • Visualization of learners previous knowledge and experience
  • Peer-to-peer learning and collaborative learning.

Listen to "Formal Learning Environments" on Spreaker.

Listen to "Informal Learning Environments" on Spreaker.

Listen to "What is the Future lab? Dr Maria Watter explains" on Spreaker.

 

How Space Impacts on Learning Part 1 - Plenary speak at AMEE 2014

How Space Impacts on Learning Part 2 - Plenary speak at AMEE 2014

 

Built Environments or Currently Under Construction

  Redevelopment New Production
Karolinska Institutet
Formal Learning Spaces
>100 classrooms at campus Solna and campus Huddinge 3rd and 10th floors Biomedicum Laboratory, Campus Solna
5th floor Neo Laboratory, Campus Huddinge
Karolinska Institutet
Informal Learning Spaces
>15 informal learning environments at Campus Solna and Campus Huddinge 3rd and 10th floors Biomedicum Laboratory, Campus Solna
5th floor Neo Laboratory, Campus Huddinge
The New Karolinska University Hospital, Solna
Formal Learning Environments
  Student- and Conference Center; formal learning environments in clinical areas
The New Karolinska University Hospital, Solna
Informal Learning Environments
  Student- and Conference Center; Informal areas

Planned but not yet built

  Redevelopment
Karolinska University Hospital, Huddinge
Informal learning environments
2 large informal spaces
Stockholm South General Hospital (Jägargatan)
Formal and informal learning environment
>20 classrooms
>10 informal learning spaces
Stockholm Eye Hospital
Formal and informal learning environments
1 learning hall
1 large informal learning environment
Stockholm North General Hospital
Formal and informal learning environments
3 classrooms
1 large informal learning environment
 

 

Architectural papers

 

Rosenberg Architects (now Varg Architects). 2011. Future Learning Environments: Formal Spaces. Rosenberg Architects, Stockholm.

White Architects. 2011. Future Learning Environments: Conceptual Manual for Informal Learning Spaces. White Architects, Stockholm.

Walldin V. 2012. Future Learning Environments: An Ethnographic study on behavior, needs and design. White Architects, Stockholm.

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