Collaborative Learning Spaces (CLS) are designed to increase active learning and create an environment with a student-centered approach to teaching and learning. Active learning involves students in the learning process. It promotes critical thinking through analysis, synthesis and evaluation, rather than traditional styles of learning which rely on passive listening and lectures. While CLS vary in their exact characteristics depending on the students, teachers and educational institution, typically they are:
- Carefully planned to facilitate interactions between teams of students
- Technology inclusive to encourage active learning
- Designed to allow flexible use and arrangement of furniture
- Intended to enable the teacher to direct the class from anywhere in the room
Examples of CLS features:
- Tables spread across the room with chairs facing peers
- Larger tables to accommodate more students in one area
- Furniture with wheels to facilitate easy rearrangement
- Power sockets placed in the center of tables to easily charge portable devices such as laptops
- Multiple projection displays mounted on walls to facilitate less structured learning
Australasian research from Evidence for Learning shows multiple cases where collaborative learning strategies have resulted in positive outcomes and improved learning in the classroom. As a result, CLS in schools and universities are becoming increasingly popular. There are multiple benefits of Collaborative Learning Spaces:
Improved Social Skills
Establishing CLS encourages interpersonal relationships with others and encourages students to work as a group. This gives students the opportunity to bond with their peers and cultivate understanding, cooperation and respect for the opinions and capabilities of others. The interchangeable set up of furniture allows students to genuinely connect with each other and build diversity in their social circles.
CLS increases students’ self-esteem through a horizontal learning approach and develops positive attitudes towards teachers. Teachers are approachable from anywhere around the class room, and don’t have to remain at the front to establish authority. Improved cooperation between students and teachers reduces social anxiety and places a focus on the curriculum content, thereby increasing students’ potential to learn.
Better Academic Results
Collaborative and active learning enhances problem solving skills, inspires critical thinking, and helps the development of self-management skills and verbal communication skills. CLS creates healthy environments where students feel empowered to voice their ideas and are encouraged to use technology during class to support their research. In turn, CLS helps students analyse, criticise and reflect upon their work with the help and inclusion of others and ultimately optimises their ability to learn.
CLS provides different ways for teachers to assess students, for students to assess each other and assess themselves. The accessible and interchangeable space provides teachers with opportunities to observe students interacting with each other, explaining their reasoning and discussing their concepts and ideas. This method is more inclusive than traditional written assessments or exams.
If you’re looking for a way to make your classroom, university or training facility a better place to learn, talk to the All Storage Systems team. Our friendly staff members can guide you through Collaborative Learning Space options and ways to optimise your learning space. We can assist with your classroom interior or furniture fitout at your location.