LSC Roundtable on Informal Learning Environments – Jefferson


10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

To register, please fill out the online survey form.

Jefferson East Falls Campus (formerly Philadelphia University)
Tuttleman Center (Room 209), 3983 Vaux ST, Philadelphia 19144


  • Jeffrey Ashley, Director of the Center for Teaching Innovation and Nexus Learning — Jefferson (Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University)
  • Danuta A. Nitecki, Dean of Libraries, and Professor, College of Computing & Informatic — Drexel University

This LSC Roundtable is one of an ongoing series of conversations, begun in 2016, orchestrated by the Learning Spaces Collaboratory (LSC). They are an opportunity for a small group of academics and architects to explore and make the case for new questions to be addressed in the process of shaping spaces for learning that serve users today and into the future, spaces that reflect broad institutional goals and the changing context.

This Philadelphia Roundtable will focus on a particular spatial type—informal learning environments or spaces where self-directed learning occurs beyond the classroom, studio, or lab.  It will be of interest to planners, architects, educators, and users with the challenge or opportunity to design, use, assess and advocate for informal learning spaces.

Formal learning environments like classrooms, studios, labs and even coffee shops, have clear measures of success— student engagement, educational assessments, creative objects, and for retail settings, volume of sales.  Although attention is increasingly being given to informal learning spaces on campuses across the country, there is not yet common means by which to gauge the impact of such spaces on student development.

Undergraduates no longer develop their skills and knowledge of the world around them   only in spaces designed for formal learning. Learning today happens anywhere in which learners can engage in social interactions, be they self-directed, enhanced by peers or technologies. Learning also happens when there is opportunity for self-reflection. Roundtable participants will explore questions to ask in coming to understand the relationship of informal environments and learning.  Ideas will emerge to articulate the value of informal learning spaces and ways to assess them.

This LSC Roundtable will engage selected stakeholders—faculty and administrators from a diverse set of institutions, representing different disciplines and spheres of responsibility. These academics will be joined by five architects in sharing experiences in imagining, designing, using, observing, and (if possible) assessing informal learning. They will be prompted at the beginning to respond to the question, what keeps you up at night when thinking about informal learning spaces.

During the four-hour roundtable, small working groups, assembled around a shared challenge or concern, will be charged to outline strategies for assessing the impact of informal spaces on learners. Each group will present and make the case for its strategy to the larger group. The roundtable will conclude with a conversation about next steps—including individual take-home ideas. A paper will be drafted following the roundtable. It will include an illustrated summary of roundtable discussions, recommendations for future actions, and ideas for applications made after the session.  Reports from each of the Roundtables will be integrated in the LSC Roadmap: A Guide for Focusing on the Future of Planning Learning Spaces, thus benefiting the broader LSC community.