My journey with Designing Spaces for Learning [INF536] has been a key experience that has provided an immersion into design and design thinking process, and an ongoing in-depth reflection on the research literature. If I had to choose three conceptualisations that underpin all of my learning it would be, from the following – Richard Buchanan, Tim Brown and John Hockenberry:

  • that there is no area of contemporary life where design is not a significant factor in shaping human experience (Buchanan, 1992, p.8); and
  • design thinking is not only human-centred, it is deeply human in and of itself, and we need to return human beings to the centre of the story and put people first (Brown, 2009, pp.4, 39).
  • We are all designers and design is all about ‘intent’ (Hockenberry, 2012)

As an educator and teacher librarian, I have a fuller appreciation of not only the design process but  how pedagogy and space is intrinsically linked. How the design of built spaces influences the behaviours and actions of individuals (both teachers and students) within those spaces (Monahan, 2002, p.5; Long & Ehrmann, 2005, p.48).

“We spend a lot of time trying to change people. The thing to do is to change the environment and people will change themselves.”

Les Watson, Pro Vice Chancellor, Glasgow Caledonian University in Designing learning spaces (JISC, 2006, p.24).

The course has been, in itself, an exercise in design thinking, building on personal reflections and the course readings, beginning with the early blog tasks within my Thinkspace Reflections for a digital age and a Storify Reflections on design learning journal; the literature critique and the case report to consider the processes already followed and recommendations for our own learning environment.

Storify allowed me to ‘dump’ a lot of information from course notes and readings into one space and to write initial reflections. It was very much a conversation with myself. In hindsight, a different online tool may have been better, but I appreciated how easily media and online resources were able to be inserted. I used Evernote as well, but not as efficiently as I could have in hindsight. I also need to use post it and hexagonal notes more.

The literature critique was excellent to develop analytical thinking. Even more importantly it showed me how to consider both the discord and tensions inherent between real world practices and how the literature reveals these contradictions (or supports them). The course readings themselves have been fascinating , except  for Hatchuel, Le Masson and Weil (2004) C-K Theory in practice: Lessons from industrial applications where I really had trouble and my colleagues had to come to my rescue (see also Mod 2.3 notes on Storify Reflections on Design).

Conversation is where all learning begins (Douglas Blane, 2006).  I experienced the power of communication and collaboration with my colleagues. Conversations through commentary on the discussion forum, each other’s blogs and via Twitter not only proved to be a powerful reflective tool, but also extended my PLC (personal learning community), personal relationships and global network. Informal conversations via Twitter, an Evernote group chat and off line gatherings/visits with librarian colleagues and course coordinator, Ewan McIntosh provided support and opportunities for reflection and building of my knowledge and understanding for Designing Spaces for Learning.

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