Spaces where learning takes place: rethinking contemporary approaches to learning and teaching

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Research and Development in Higher Education: The Place of Learning and Teaching Vol. 36

July, 2013, 534 pages
Published by
Frielick, S., Buissink-Smith, N., Wyse, P., Billot, J., Hallas, J. and Whitehead, E.
ISBN
Abstract 

This paper discusses a variety of approaches to utilising different spaces, places and environments to make learning and teaching in higher education more effective, socially engaging, and relevant. It starts with the proposition that, in anthropological and pedagogical sense, spaces only become places through human action and imagination, the two essential human qualities critical for acquiring, applying and creating new knowledge. In addition to reflecting on different learning spaces and places, the authors discuss students' experiences with spatial (and social) contexts applied in the postgraduate unit Contemporary Learning Environments, an integral part of Monash University's Graduate Certificate in Academic Practice. Whilst the paradigms of experiential, reflexive and blended learning have been the underpinning pedagogical philosophies of this unit, an attempt has been made to closely align learning content with learning contexts by conducting the ‘classes beyond the classrooms’—in public places such as museums, community centres and parks as well as in more traditional venues such as seminar rooms, lecture theatres and simulation labs. While providing an analysis of the quantitative and qualitative data from the students' evaluation and feedback, the paper goes beyond a mere audit of the unit—arguing that learning and teaching in higher education still remains deeply embodied and meaningful social events situated in real places rather than in some dislocated, depersonalised ‘non-place’.

Keywords: learning spaces, blended learning, experiential learning 

Spaces where learning takes place: rethinking contemporary approaches to learning and teaching

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Halilovich, Hariz & Carbone, Angela & Ross, Belinda