INF536 – Designing spaces for learning

Module 1 Reflections

As happens in so many areas of education (web design, space design, curriculum design), this first module has clarified my belief that educators are often asked to create ‘stuff’ without in depth understanding, knowledge, training or expertise in these areas. Designing amazing, innovative learning spaces is a perfect example of this.

Coming into this subject, I am aware that there is a lot to learn about spaces, how they are used, how we fill them or leave them with gaps, what colours we use and how those spaces can be changed to suit a range of uses. Personally, use of space, light and colour are big priorities. These are things that I change in every new teaching or library space that I have worked in, and every year thereafter.

And like many, I have seen spaces that really don’t work, are not user-friendly or welcoming, are poorly designed and fail to attract patrons. or they look good but fail to provide a useful working space. So does design require educators to learn new skills? Absolutely! Those who use the space daily, with the right skills, have a distinct advantage, knowing what is and is not working, what is required and how to achieve that.

Time, effort and motivation (Hattie & Yates, 2013, p. 113) is just the beginning. Our spaces really can change how we work, how we feel and how we function. And I totally agree with Seidel and Fixson (2013), when design is poorly implemented, it can lead to abandonment too soon. Of all the readings, the takeaways from Brown (2009) are the standouts for providing a starting point for the renovation of my new library and for rethinking small changes for my current one.

In the TV programme, Mary, Queen of Shops, Mary reviews the products, the service, the appearance of the shop front and then identifies a niche market to fill. What is interesting is the number of clients who prefer to keep doing what they have always done; who refuse to accept the advice of experts in their field and who fail to take advantage of the opportunities offered to them, despite the evidence that the changes will be highly beneficial. This too is a challenge when schools begin to re-imagine their learning spaces, and is what I will be keeping in mind during the process of re-imagining my work spaces.

Blog Assignment task #1 to follow shortly.


Brown, T. (2009). Change by Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation. HarperBusiness. p.37.

Hattie, J., & Yates G. C. R. (2013). Visible learning and the science of how we learn. Routledge. Available in the CSU Library.

Seidel, V., & Fixson, S. (2013). Adopting design thinking in novice multidisciplinary teams: The application and limits of design methods and reflexive practices. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 30, 19–33.

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