Category Archives: INF536

INF536 – Designing Spaces for Learning

‘Tis better to have played and lost then never to have played at all

A critical reflection

I came to #INF541 – Game Based Learning ready to be challenged and was not disappointed. I had read and studied Prensky and had  read some of Karl Kapps work about Gamification so was up for a new style of unit, especially as I wanted to employ some of the information into training  I currently deliver.

Early on I set myself a personal goal of creating a resource about a gamer and their perspective on games with a feature on Ingress (Niantic Labs, 2015). I set this personal task so that I could explore not only the game but also see some of the drivers and motivations behind why people play games, which has given me much material to reflect on. It was slightly more difficult than I imagined as I had chosen a hardcore Ingress (Niantic Labs, 2015) player as my subject. He was very forth coming with his views, I only wish I had the time to do a series of video pieces as it was fascinating. This self-imposed task  had me filming, writing questions, and editing the film a whole new set of skills bagged thanks to #INF541, surely that means I level up!

I have developed a richer understand of games and the role that all forms of gaming can have in an educational context. The critical review exercise was challenging and made me drill deep into distinctly different papers. This was extremely difficult, but it made me feel comfortable about refusing to accept on face value what is said but to confront, and counter the arguments as my points are fair and valid.

Twitter conversation about #GBL between @aus_teach and @Yvette_elearn March 18, 2015
Twitter conversation about #GBL between @aus_teach and @Yvette_elearn March 18, 2015

The practical and experimental activities including virtual field trips has my learning experience a rich, dynamic and rewarding one. These field trips along with the immersion into Ingress (Niantic Labs, 2015) has had, I feel, the greatest impression on my thinking about games. I can use and demonstrate game based learning to colleagues in the Vocational Education and Training sector from first-hand experience of the technologies, warts and all, and have a wide selection of robust tools and literature that demonstrates the effectiveness of game based learning.

Simulations have excited me, especially immersive serious simulations that learners are engaging with the content to build skills for the workplace. Simulations and serious games where the trainer can actively redesign the scenario for students to be challenged every time they use the simulator are an exciting prospect for me, especially where the problems are designed for the student to be challenged but can achieve or ‘win’, unlike the Kobayashi Maru,  are  an exciting assessment prospect for VET.

Yet the most critical point for me in the adult learning space is that I need to be able to train VET trainers to facilitate pre and post game or simulation debrief sessions (Moore & Pflugfelder, 2010) and help them learn how to deal with the loss of control in being a ‘guide on the side or meddler in the middle’ rather than the ‘sage on the stage’ (Day & Kumar, 2010).

It frustrates me that the VET sector has come so far with elearning and yet there is still a chasm of thought around the use of games based learning, and it really does not matter what type of game you are referring to: serious games, commercial off-the-shelf games or simulations to support student outcomes there will be considerable pockets of resistance. As this is a major issue for the VET sector I wrote my final assignment around implementation of games for organization and trainers. For this I sourced as many examples as I could find of effective use of simulations to support training, as I personally feel simulations will be the first acceptance point for VET trainers.

Thanks to this unit I feel that I have grown my knowledge base and personal understanding of GBL. My next self-imposed challenge is to turn that knowledge and understanding into a productive output for the VET sector, which will be for a sector win.



CBS Studios Inc. (2014). Kobayashi Maru. Retrieved from

Day, J., & Kumar, M. (2010). Using SMS Text Messaging to Create Individualized and Interactive Experiences in Large Classes: A Beer Game Example. Decision Sciences Journal of Innovative Education, 8(1), 129-136. doi:10.1111/j.1540-4609.2009.00247.x

Moore, K., & Pflugfelder E. H. (2010). On being bored and lost (in virtuality). Learning, media and technology, 35 (2) pp. 249 -253

Niantic Labs (2015). Ingress [Android software]. Retrieved from

Twenge, J.M. (2006), Generation me: why today’s young Americans are more confident, assertive, entitled – and more miserable than before. New York: Free Press

Critical Reflection for INF536

As this subject comes to an end it is time to reflect on my learning journey throughout this unit. I came to this subject with some previous experience developing high end digital resources and teaching online for a number of years. In some ways the hardest part during the early stages of the subject was to check this past ‘baggage’.

The most frustrating, but worthwhile experiences were the non-assessed assessments. These were the tangible areas of the course where I played and gained experience from real life situations such as the creative mornings. We were given the opportunity to observe and immerse ourselves in locations that would inform our case-studies. By learning to look at spaces critically with an outsider’s perspective opened my eyes up to different possibilities that the site I work on could offer. As a direct result of the immersion task I have managed to revitalize and re-purpose underused spaces on our site which are going to be crucial for an event later this year.

Design thinking (Brown, 2008) has many similarities to my work, creating resources and professional e-learning experiences for the VET sector where we now use rapid development tools to create ‘just-in-time’ information packages rather than large multimedia projects. I now come to design meetings with different perspectives on why something may not work and with options for improvement.

I have setup and actively use a ‘brain trust’, comprised of design specialists and VET trainers who will put great solution on the table quickly (Catmull, 2014). This group in turn does make me think smarter and has improved my ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking skills when brainstorming, making me more productive and creative with my work.

Prototyping is now a key in my work (Kuratko, et al. 2012). Prototyping has had a positive impact on the team I work with, and we are often heard saying “let’s try that option and see what we learn”. This has been particularly useful in trialing new mobile technologies when we are using them not for the original intended use, for example using a mobile phone as an external party microphone for a virtual conference situation.

This subject has validated the reasons behind how I design digital spaces for adult learners. This includes spaces that allow ‘real life’ experiences and allow the users to take ownership of the learning space. I have learnt the strength of parody to form design solutions (Schrage, 2013). My department was having problems with the look and feel of the home page on our Learning Management System (LMS) and did a mockup that looked similar to a Microsoft™ Windows© tablet. From this we found a theme that was customizable and the new site was born.

Finally I have learnt that digital learning spaces, are never be fully completed (Milne, 2006), but if you view it as an organic evolving space – a work in progress, with many voices of a community designing it. Technology will do nothing to improve ineffective teaching (Jasinski, 2006), but in the hands of an e-learning specialist it can become a place where life-long learning happens in dynamic and rich communities.


Brown, T., & Katz, B. (2011). Change by Design. Journal Of Product Innovation Management, 28(3), 381-383. doi:10.1111/j.1540-5885.2011.00806.x

Catmull, E. (2014, April). Inside the Pixar braintrust, Fast Company. Retrieved from:

Jasinski, M. (2006). Innovate and integrate: Embedding innovative practices. 1st ed. [pdf] Canberra: DEST, Commonwealth of Australia. Available at: [Accessed 6 Oct. 2014].

Kuratko, D., Goldsworthy, M., & Hornsby, G. (2012). The design-thinking process in innovation acceleration : transforming organizational thinking. (pp.103-123). Boston : Pearson.

Milne, A.J.(2006). Designing Blended Learning Space to the Student Experience. Retrieved November 19, 2011, from

Schrage, M. (13 Feb, 2013). How Parody Inspires Great Design, Harvard Business Review Blog: Retrieved from:

Wang, Y., & Chen, D. (2011). Instructors as Architects-Designing Learning Spaces for Discussion-Based Online Courses. Journal Of Educational Technology Systems, [online] 39(3), pp.281-294. doi:10.2190/ET.39.3.e [Accessed 8 October 2014

Creative morning breakfast – Theme 22 ‘Colour’

Assessment 5 (2nd post)

Creative morning – Theme 22 ‘Colour’
Colour is ageless – disrupting hierarchies and creating connections

Guest speaker – Jo Pollitt

At 24 Jo Pollitt convinced Qantas (airlines) to lend her a plane at Hobart airport. Since then she continued to follow up insistent ideas, including having 3 children. She is the co-creator of BIG Kids Magazine, featuring the work of artists and children side by side and fronts the dance-writing project co-works. She mentors emerging artists nationally and teaches her response-based improvisation to final-year dance students at WAAPA. Her roles as dramaturge and choreographer are driven by a relentless curiosity to reveal the physicality of imagination.

What happened at #cmper

This particular creative morning had the amazing choreographer and artist Jo Pollitt talking about her journey with colour and its impact on her creative life. She spoke around the challenges of being a creative person in a modern world, and showcased some marvelous works around the theme of colour and how it impacts on the design and feel.

The audience was from all walks of life and all ages, which lead to interesting discussions and very different points of view when design and the use of colour was discussed. It was fantastic to have one of the organisers children introduce Jo, in-particular  as a focal point of the presentation was about the Big Kids initiative. This is a magazine where kids worked as co-collaborators with artists to produce the Big Kids magazines. The kids held crucial roles in the magazine such as senior editor. The senior editor has now become to old so has passed the leadership of the magazine over to the new senior editor (5 years old). Not only were children engaged in the design of the magazine and the layout of the content but were also part of the creative team where many children’s artworks were used as the response art project alongside ‘main stream’ artists such as Stormy Mills.

Cover image for into the dark magazine
Into the dark

One outstanding activity was all about our personal favourite colour (we had identified this on registration as part of our name tag). Jo had us pull out from under our chair a copy of Big Kids magazine we opened it to a specific page, which was blank but related to ‘pitch black’ darkness of night. Jo let us know we were going to draw our colour using only the graphite pencil under our chairs and we had to have our eyes closed. After our 47 seconds of drawing time we showed/shared our results.

Thoroughly enjoyable and dynamic morning that held a great deal of inspiration for everyone (see below link for photos).

Some images from the event:

Twitter chat

Event takeaway thoughts:

  • Location, location, location. It was an interesting choice of a venue as it is not open to public (in the BankWest Place) but it was close to public transport and easy to find and access. This made it very easy for all attendees to make the 8:00 AM start time.
  • Good food. It always helps to ensure that food is filling and tasty, which was met in abundance. As this was a breakfast event egg and bacon muffins and vegetarian options were available as well as fresh fruit.
  • Creative name badges: The name badges not only had a place for you to write your name but a place for your favourite colour, which then created a starting point for your first conversation with new people.
  • Last point – colour matters, it shapes our lives and everything we do.

My comments on other blogs

Comment 1 – Matt

Comment 2 – Monique

Comment 3 – Heather

Creative Coffee Morning Tea – Creating and designing online effective PLN spaces for VET training

Assessment 5

Focus of the morning: Design of online spaces to improve Personal Learning Networks to support training in the VET sector

I held my Creative Coffee Morning Tuesday 16/09. I was lucky enough to have a wide group of online facilitators, managers and administrators from the WA Vocational Education Training (VET) sector in Perth for another event so piggy backed my Creative Coffee morning with it.

I had members from the DTWD elearning team host the event and participate in small breakout group work around ‘Design of online spaces to improve Personal Learning Networks that can support training’ in the VET sector.

I kicked off with a quick look at how students are already building personal networks, then straight into morning tea where it was great to hear enthusiastic discussion from attendees around the topic. 

Creative Coffee Morning tea opening slide
Creative Coffee Morning tea opening slide

After tea and coffee were drunk and the sumptuous morning tea eaten we broke into small groups to discuss and reflect on how the attendees could use this idea in someway in their training. It was good to see ‘heated’ debate around the subject as it made people consider and think about the topic. Each of the small groups were encouraged to brainstorm on butchers paper to share back, which you can see an example of in the flicker album.

From speaking with everyone who attended they went away afterward with some inspiration as to how to either trial this idea or to open discussion with their teaching cohort and management to move the idea forward, which is fantastic.

Not only that but because of the networking everyone came away with contact details of like minded participants who can become part of their own Personal Learning Network.

Some images from the event

Event takeaway thoughts

  • Timing is everything! This group were able to come together very quickly as we had them for another event, which meant that they were more than happy to join in on an added mini-event
  • Location, location, location. The choice of a venue was driven by our other event and was in the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Perth. This was close to public transport and parking, which made it so much easier for delegates.
  • Good food. It always helps to ensure that food is filling and tasty, which was met in abundance we had outside catering which provided amazing food and a very small cost..
  • Last point – WiFi DOES matter (no matter what people say). Unfortunately CCI had told us we had access to WiFi for the event, but this was not forth coming. As a result we did not push twitter.

The final fantastic outcome was that my boss see’s the power of this type of event for engaging people and as a result we are going to continue with ‘pop up’ events throughout the year as a tag-on to our large events.

My comments on other blogs

Comment 1 – Matt

Comment 2 – Monique

Comment 3 – Heather

INF536 Assessment 3 – Design brief


As outlined in my initial immersion activity, Giuseppe Corica Pastries is in a converted corner shop in Northbridge, Perth, Western Australia. The bakery is in the heart of Northbridge near the nightclub district and is opposite a very large tavern. There is very limited street parking in the area but is located near two parks. There is a large amount of high density housing near the bakery and some very old small houses. The clients for this bakery range in age from the very young to the young at heart (80+). It is a dynamic and multicultural area that has seen much done to improve the streetscape and general feel of the Northbridge zone by the municipal local government.

The building has recently gone through a major refurbishment; including the exterior being painted lime green, which the bakery more noticeable. Inside there are new counters and the walls have been painted a deep aubergine and there is a bulkhead over the counters, from which the suspended lighting is attached, that is also painted lime green. The colours work well with the new wood fixtures overhead lighting is designed to highlight the display cabinets and to give a warm feeling to the clients.

Immerson blog post

Immersion notes floor plan

Image of building

Design problem

Knowing that this building was originally a corner shop both the interior design and the frontage of the building means that there are a number of potential issues, some of which are outlined below:

  • no seating

  • no coffee or beverage area

  • two sets of curved stairs that are slippery in the wet weather

  • no adequate signage

  • security grid giving imposing frontage to building.

Design brief


To make the shop floor design and shop front setting for Corica Bakerybe better utilized by customers.


Known unknown

  • Permissions needed to change building structure

  • Building codes for entrance doors and stairs for coffee shops

  • Building and health code permission to change to an eating place

  • Actual number of ‘accidents, spills or injuries’ resulting from clients using stairs

  • Outcome of risk assessment conducted by workplace (OHS access and egress).

Knowns knowns

  • Twin staircases are slippery when wet

  • Limited signage means clients unaware of accessibility ramp.

  • Entrance door allows wheelchair access.

  • Only one entrance door allows wheelchairs as the other door leads only to a staircase


Primary considerations:

  • The shop front needs to be aesthetically pleasing and inviting to clients as well as being functional. Pehaps even the consideration of sidewalk cafe seating to exapnd on the original foot print of the bakery (Lawrence, 2014).

  • Shop interior needs seating for people, either waiting for orders or consuming baked goods, which would include the consideration for expanding the business to include hot beverages.

In light of the “How might we” questions document (D.School, Stanford) some alternative questions related to this project come to mind:

How might we…

  • make the bakery more like a cafe?

  • make the shop front more inviting?

  • redesign the stairs to make more accessible to people in all seasons?

  • create the auditory environment to be something that will add to the ambience?

Ideation – Ideas for Redesign of Bakery

  • Change shape of staircase

    • Modification to the existing staircase. It is recommended that the staircase is built to follow the curve of the structure already in place. this will assist with the entering and exiting of the building (, 2014)

  • Change location of signage for access and egress,

    • Redesign the signage to make it clear the location of the  accessibility ramp and and entrance. (, 2014)

  • Change layout to include cafe seating

    • Move counters further back into the shop freeing up floor space towards the front of the shop creating a space for cafe tables

    • Close off completely and convert that door to a window space for light. Once this door is closed off it will assist in freeing up further floor space

  • Implement music to improve environment stimulation

    • Human Environment relations is a very crucial factor in the interior design process of a successful eatery. Environmental stimulation within the bakery is lacking with no consideration given to either visual or auditory stimulation. Music is often a create the ‘mood’ of a space (Clark, 104). As the interior design has just been updated a sound track in the background could augment the environment and make the clients experience within the bakery even more pleasurable.

Brain trust members

Shannon Campbell

Liz Crowder

Yvette Drager

Other blogs commented on

Wollies gets a make over

Hurtsville station design brief

Beachside cafe

References, (2014). Entering and Exiting. [online] Available at: [Accessed 12 Aug. 2014].

Desai, A. (2011, May 1). Function and design of cafe’s throughout time. Retrieved from

Oldenburg, R. (1989). The great good place: Cafes, coffee shops, community centers, beauty parlors, general stores, bars, hangouts, and how they get you through the day. New York: Paragon House

Clark, T. (2007). Starbucked: A double tall tale of caffeine, commerce, and culture. New York:Little, Brown

KU Work Group for Community Health and Development. (2014). Chapter 26, Section 8: Creating Good Places for Interaction. Lawrence, KS: University of Kansas. Retrieved 12 August, 2014, from the Community Tool Box:

 D.School, Stanford University, How might we? Method Card: [online] Available at: [Accessed 10 August, 2014]

INF536 Assessment 2 – immersion task

30 minute immersion task – Design for a purpose

It is interesting task to observe a place that I have frequented often over the past 9 years to buy the famous Corica Strudel for our team’s morning tea. Giuseppe Corica Pastries is located in Northbridge, Perth. It is in a converted corner shop with family dwelling at the rear.

The building has recently gone through a major refurbishment; including the exterior being painted lime green, which the bakery more noticeable. Inside there are new counters and the walls have been painted a deep aubergine and there is a bulkhead over the counters, from which the suspended lighting is attached, that is also painted lime green. The colours work well with the new wood fixtures overhead lighting is designed to highlight the display cabinets and to give a warm feeling to the clients.

On the outside Corica’s is very imposing (flickr image) because of the security fencing around the outside of the building. Though this is functional it does give you the feeling of entering a jail.

I observed many patrons coming and going over the 30 minutes. It was interesting to note that there is an access ramp to the left hand side of the building; however, none of the elderly patrons used it to access the shop. The patrons chose instead to climb the stairs, which were slick due to the rain and concrete surface.

The layout of the shops refit has really streamlined the space and everything was fit for purpose. There is no designated in or out door, as there are two front doors people did seem a little confused by this entering and exiting the building. Children took delight in running through the opposite door to their parents.

There is no seating area or designated ‘waiting zone’ for pickups of larger orders, which added to the confusion of the mid-morning rush that I watched. Also it is purely a bakery and does not offer coffee or any cold beverages.

Floor plan
Floor plan sketch of Corica bakery

Link to Floor plan on Flickr

Very interesting experience, I look forward to any comments.


Comments on other’s blogs

Comment 1

Comment 2

Comment 3

INF536 Assessment 1 – WiFi roll out


A. I work for a Government Department in WA, so have little ability to modify the physical space without a large amount of committee meetings. We have many problem spaces, which we can do very little about. The physical computer lab is a training area is functional to a point, but very restrictive in its configuration. The key issue was the lack of internet connectivity for more than 12 people in the room as it is an Ethernet connection (hard cable) to our LAN (local area network). The problem with the use of LAN is that the external clients could not plug in and use their own devices as they were not authenticated against our Departments security protocols. Many of our clients bring in their own computers so they can work ‘live’ in their own online environments, as we only had the LAN available they wither could not use their own computers or had to provide their own 3/4 G connection to the internet. Though it is a technology issue it is one that impacts on the space as we can’t change the physical configuration of the room nor have more than 12 participants.

B. In the fast paced world we live in the design of spaces, especially learning spaces, must be forced to become flexible to keep up with the world we live in, such as in my example of the problem space of internet ‘dead zone’ for external clients. However as Brown said in his Ted talk, design is too important just to be left to a designer, because small design is the result. Small design came about because of consumerism and if you consider now the design thinking approach design become a two way street with participants rather than consumers. It is extremely important to bring in the human and cultural element in the design thinking process. The design thinking process is important as it gives us new ways of tackling problems. It allows us to explore multiple and new options that have not been open to us before. Linking that back again to my example internally the key stakeholders were not ‘seeing’ what the external clients needs were. To bridge that lack of awareness we canvassed as part of our session evaluation process if they would like access to Wi-Fi. This data provided a supporting case for the phased approach outlined later in this posting.

So let’s have a quick look at my personal thoughts on the characteristics that anyone needs to become a good designer, to see a project from conception through to completion:

  • Creative thinking – The ability to think outside the boundaries or the ordinary.
  • Project management – A good understanding of project management and the fundamentals of seeing a project through to fruition.
  • Curiosity – The ability to explore which leads to understanding. This separates the wheat from the chaff
  • Networking – Have a wide professional network across the globe that will help keep them informed of trends.
  • Context – the ability to bring idea’s to the table that is relevant to the client, local culture and trends
  • Global awareness – Understanding how the global market impacts on clients and their market places
  • Talent – It has to be said that there is a need for talent in a designer. However a less talented designer but one with a good solid background in the above points will be a better choice as they will look at the wider picture.

Design in learning spaces I feel can lean on the prototyping phase or play phase (Kuratko, Goldsworthy & Hornsby 2012). This could simply be that a pilot test group in involved to evaluate and inform bigger design choices on your space.

C. Phased approach to implementation (based on client requirement surveys).

Phase 1

Firstly we trialed ‘4G hotspots’ to prove a proof of concept, which of course demonstrated that the flexibility of the space meant that we were not tied to a ‘chalk’ and talk sage on the stage presentation style computer lab sessions. This meant that finally I was able to:

  • use the large round table at the back of the room for brainstorming design sessions (see flicker image);
  • have more than 12 participants in the room for training;
  • participants could use own devices for training (as they were familiar with them; and
  • class space could be reconfigured from a formal classroom style to café style seating when required.

Once the test pilot phase was over (lasted 6 weeks) we had enough data and participant feedback to take a formal business case to the Senior Leadership Team for approval to implement Wi-Fi across our site.

Phase 2

Implementation of site wide Wi-Fi access for external clients and corporate devices. This roll out has meant that I am able to have technology enhances sessions, while not having to book the computer lab (which is not always available). It has achieve a greater site wide flexibility of teaching and training spaces with 100% approval from our client base.

The next big trial of this will be a major training event later this year where we will be combining both online and face to face sessions. This event is now only possible because of the small modification to the training environment – the implementation of Wi-Fi. Further expansion will be to general staff for personal BYOD, but that is still a way off due to policies having to be created.

D. – Comments on other people’s blogs (links) – please note not all these comments are on the Assessment 1 blog post purely because not everyone has released their Assessment 1 posting.

Comment 1

Comment 2

Comment 3


Kuratko, D., M. Goldsworthy, et al. (2012). “The design-thinking process in Innovation acceleration: transforming organizational thinking.” pp.103-123

TEDGlobal – David Kelley. (2012). How to build your creative confidence. [Online Video]. Mar 2012. Available from: [Accessed: 21 July 2014].

TEDGlobal – Tim Brown (2009). Designers – think big!. [Online Video]. Jul 2009. Available from: [Accessed: 21 July 2014].

Essa Academy – a triumph of design for learning

It is a very interesting thought on how if given the possibility that we could have the repurpose our spaces to interact more effectively and learning spaces for our students.

This thought that education could benefit from a redesign of its building spaces is not new. The Essa Academy, Bolton, UK is one example of how opportunities in elearning actually became the design change agent for their whole school space.

At this school in 2009 they saw 70% of their students failing their subjects. The teaching space was dingy and teachers were doing their best.

By some radical changes to the structure of the school, firstly becoming an academy which enabled them to access different funding. However, the power of technology was understood by the new administration and they committed to turning Essa into a hub of technology-assisted learning.

This truly is a wonderful success story of a school which rose phoenix like from the ashes and achieve a 100% pass rate in 2011/12. However for me the key feature is that their success as a school enabled them to design a whole new building that was built around and designed for learning and complete integration with the technology.

No longer did they see classrooms in a traditional sense but have built what they call a complete learning ecosystem.

More information here