Category Archives: Designing spaces

Researcha nd information for the INF536 unit Designing Spaces.

‘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

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

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