Part of the 4TU.Federation
4TU.
Centre for
Engineering Education

Project introduction and background information

Learning spaces

In this project, learning spaces are defined as locations in which students can produce an innovation related to their study field. That ranges from maker spaces, facilities to experience entrepreneurship, up to geographical areas where students interact with actors to solve pre-defined problems or solve problems which first have to be defined with actors (living labs). In maker spaces, students can work alone or in teams to construct a physical product (like a solar car) that is innovated within specifications.

Sometimes, active learning classrooms or flexible learning environments, are also referred to as ‚Äúactive learning spaces‚ÄĚ. But they have a different definition: "spaces with interior design and or technology aimed at synchronous communication in student groups (with or without teachers)".
In this project, we have not highlighted spaces according to that definition. But rooms with flexible interior design and technology can play a role in any learning with a student team mentioned above.

Objective and expected outcomes

Visiting the Learning spaces at the 4TU to gain a new perspective on education:

  • Amsterdam Metropolitan Institute (TUD&WUR) ¬† 24-1-2019
  • Wageningen University & Research ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 12-3-2019
  • Eindhoven University of Technology¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†¬† ¬†8-10-2019
  • University of Twente¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†¬† ¬† ¬† 4-2-2020¬†
  • Online excursion: Alto Design Factory¬†¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† 14-12-2020 ¬†¬†

Results and learnings

In the last decades, maker spaces have played a clear role in technical universities. Training practical and teamwork skills, increasing motivation, and promotion of the program by international challenges (like) are important benefits that will remain.

More recently team interaction with real-life actors is gaining recognition as being essential for higher-level learning goals that are important for future careers. That implies that all students should have access to this type of learning. However full-cohort implementation has always been a big challenge. Fortunately, examples like the Academic Consultancy Training type approach of WUR shows that it is possible.

The most ambitious interaction with real-life actors is offered by the living-labs shown in the first two visits. The logistics of this type of learning makes it unsuitable for very large groups. But it can be done with a single MSc program as shown by the Master program Metropolitan Analysis, Design and Engineering (MSc MADE).

Recommendations

When choosing any learning space option;

  • Organize it for a large number of students
  • Learn from the many examples presented below
  • Plan the steps that students have to make

       Examples of those steps:
       - Conceive Design Implement Operate (CDIO)
       - Plan, Co-creative design, Implementation, Evaluation, Refinement, Dissemination 
          (AMS-institute).

Practical outcomes

Amsterdam Metropolitan Institute (TUD&WUR)   24-1-2019
Results           Program

Wageningen University & Research                                 12-3-2019
Results            Program

Eindhoven University of Technology                                 8-10-2019
Results            Program

University of Twente                                                                    4-2-2020
Results            Program

Online: Aalto Design Factory                                             14-12-2020