LSC Summer 2021 Open Conversations:
Notes from the Open Conversation: Wednesday, July 7, 2021
Question to Participants:
What is your example/definition of a biophilic space?
Resource for LSC Open Conversation #2
Wednesday, July 14, 2021
This essay captures a conversation at the 2016 LSC Roundtable at the University of Washington exploring questions to ask when planning and designing for inclusivity.
WHAT QUESTIONS SHOULD WE BE ASKING?
Questions for Students:
Questions for Architects
Questions academics and architects should be asking each other:
To achieve its practical aim, assessment has been conceived of as an iterative process—an assessment loop that involves setting goals and asking questions, gathering data and evidence, analyzing results, sharing and applying results, and using results by taking action.
Figure 1. Assessment Cycle
The full cycle of assessment must be executed to really do assessment well. Too often things get hung up at the phase of gathering evidence. Sometimes the cycle stalls here for want of better or more definitive data, and other times it is a failure to develop and implement an action plan based assessment data.
If assessment is to inform future practice and the activities of assessment– asking questions, and gathering and analyzing evidence—are similar to the goals of research, assessment is a particular kind of “action research.” It focuses on collecting data to demonstrate impact and to plan for improvement, with the practical goal to inform local action. The framework for assessment advocated for learning spaces flows from this standard statement of purpose.
Findings from Research & Practice – What Works in Planning for Assessing Learning Spaces
Assessment: A Strategy for Gathering Evidence of What Works in Shaping Spaces for Learning
The LSC Guide: Planning for Assessing 21st Century Spaces for 21st Century Learners
— Jillian Kinzie, NSSE/Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research
Assessment and Learning Spaces
The assessment of learning outcomes—defined as what students will know, be able to do, the skills and competencies that they can forward—is the current coin of the educational assessment realm. However, when it comes to the issue of the physical environment, we must ask:
What is important and possible to measure about the impact of space on the experience of learning?
Assessment results should ultimately answer this question:
How we will know the spaces we are planning will make a difference, or how do we know what difference current spaces are making in regard to the quality of the learning experiences of our students?
The assessment loop can be applied to all phases of designing learning spaces—from planning to post-occupancy, ongoing assessment and redesign of spatial affordances. In fact, planning for assessment should be intentionally integrated into each stage of planning, designing, and using learning spaces. Take care, however, that assessment results not dictate final decisions; professional judgments must be applied in interpreting evidence and taking appropriate action.
As with all assessment undertakings, assessing learning spaces is fundamentally about asking the right questions. To address the current pressure for accountability for student learning, it is critical that learning spaces go beyond traditional measures of use, efficiency and service, and detail the extent to which the space enhances the experiences of learning and teaching.