Learning Environment Research: Institutional Conversations and Data-Driven Decisions

Andrea Lisa Nixon, Linda A. Jorn, University of Minnesota and Carleton College

Minnesota Learning environment research project team lead work at Minnesota. Wrote all questions down that wanted to ask. Written up in Fall 2010 Educause quarterly – whole issue is on learning environments.

Built a new science building which has 13 interactive classrooms. Had positive data on staff usage. Office of classroom management worked with them – took data to Senate advisory sub committee, wrote a letter of support that more interactive spaces needed. Using data in faculty development programme.

Carleton Presenting data innovatively to faculty – had scientists working with artists etc. Had UG research students working with them too who had done well in statistical methods. Co-hearing and co-listening exercise – went through material for case studies and then analysed together with student researchers, faculty and support teams.  How engage students when working on assignments – reflect on experiences that they found familiar and challenging. Built a map of experiences.  Tried to educate students that asking for help when arrive on campus not a failure.  Get more nuanced information that enables them to transcend institutional boundaries.  Active learning classroom defined how they redesigned new space.

Lessons learnt:

  • align learning space design with curriculum needs, institutional strategic priorities and institutionally specific data
  • engage students and faculty in LER as researchers and research students
  • encourage learning environment researchers to partner with other institutions
  • use institutional LER data to elevate campus conversations about learning environments and foster transformative conversations in faculty development programmes and the delivery of student services

Not linking physical and virtual at moment – research on physical not in relation to VLEs etc. Looking at hybrid learning environments –where online learning is used in classroom.

Links www.oit.umn.edu/research-evaluation apps.carleton.edu/curricular/support

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