The design qualities and spatial organisation for higher education informal learning spaces

Wu, Xianfeng (2018) The design qualities and spatial organisation for higher education informal learning spaces. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Abstract

The impact of student populations, the technical revolution and social change have influenced innovations of future campus planning. Along with the evolution of pedagogical theory, the impact reflects the spatial configuration of the learning environment and the consequent student experiences therein. More specifically, the higher education informal learning spaces are increasingly being considered as essential to spatial expansion, meant to enrich the student experiences. How to design successful higher education’s informal learning space raises a broad spectrum of perspectives on different realms. This thesis reviews the considerations for designing informal learning spaces from four perspectives: The Architectural Perspective; the Pedagogical Perspective; the Building Management Perspective and the Spatial Configurational Perspective. The literature review reflects a dearth of empirical research on the impact of the design quality of the spatial organisation of the informal learning space on student experiences. Hence, the aim of this study is to critically assess the design quality of the spatial organisation of informal learning spaces that shape higher education students` spatial perceptions and activities within them.

The study provides evidence relating to where, when, what, why and how students behave in informal learning spaces, while identifying the impact of student satisfaction with the design quality of the spatial organisation of informal learning spaces, with regard to the frequencies of student activities. It also explores the spatial design strategy for these contexts to better support the development of higher education’s ideal informal learning space.

The case study method is employed to achieve the research aim. A mixed methods design, including the questionnaire, observation, interviews and focus groups, has been employed, at the Diamond at the University of Sheffield and the Newton at Nottingham Trent University. These were meant to study student activities, to obtain student preferences toward the design quality of the informal learning spaces, and to discuss the impact of the design quality upon student experiences.

Consequently, the proposed framework of evaluating the informal learning spaces, including seven design quality aspects, the Physical Comfort, the Flexibility, the Socialising, the Openness, the Functionality, the Spatial Hierarchy and the Other Support, are discussed from a student perspective to identify and design better strategies for higher education informal learning spaces. The summaries could become a guideline for the architects and campus planners with the aim of creating better higher education informal learning spaces.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Borsi, Katharina
Heath, Tim
Keywords: Design Quality; Spatial Organisation; Informal Learning Space; Higher Education
Subjects: N Fine Arts > NA Architecture
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Engineering > Built Environment
Item ID: 52362
Depositing User: Wu, Xianfeng
Date Deposited: 13 Jul 2018 04:41
Last Modified: 08 May 2020 08:18
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/52362

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