ELI 2005 Fall Focus Session

Much of a student’s learning—and the interaction that is critical to a student's overall academic success—occurs outside the classroom. These informal learning spaces—libraries, lounges, labs, and cybercafés—are emerging as an important complement to formal learning environments. Increasingly, campuses are creating informal spaces to encourage students to mingle, collaborate, share, and network with other students or faculty. As one institution put it:

"In our shared corridors, lobbies, and outdoor spaces, our architecture should say, 'learning happens here.'" (Nancy Chism, IUPUI)

Our 2005 Fall Focus Session brought together faculty, administrators, designers, and students to explore the design of informal learning spaces. Among the types of environments we explored are those designed for:

  • group and project work
  • individual study between classes
  • student-faculty contact outside class
  • spontaneous discussions ("think stops")
  • multimedia studios and/or production areas
  • information commons

All of these spaces enable interchanges between learners, but, more importantly, they allow students to remain engaged between classes—to continue their learning in settings that invite interaction and collaboration.

Looking for upcoming events? See the EDUCAUSE Event Finder >