“Future learning environments will be designed to accommodate more flexible educational programmes, based on a combination of formal and informal teachings that will train children to become more independent and creative thinkers. We will see more ‘open plan schools’, where classes take place in flexible surroundings, based on a combination of specialized learning zones, to a higher extent reflecting the reality that most students will have to be able to navigate after graduation.”
These words stem from Annette Saidj, who is a Senior Architect and Designer at Rosan Bosch Studio, a Copenhagen design studio that embraces a versatile portfolio of space design and interior planning projects. Rosan Bosch is the Founder and Creative Director of the studio. According to Bosch, the core of the challenge, when speaking about creating optimal conditions for learning, is that our society develops in one direction, while our schools are almost frozen at a point that is far away from that direction.
“Schoolkids like to use digital media and technology, but when they arrive at many schools today, they have to hand in their smartphones before class starts. However, in the real world, digital media is used all the time, so it’s kind of wrong to take away the phones. Instead, we should teach youngsters how to use the digital opportunities in a more meaningful way”, states Bosch, who continues:
“We believe that learning outcomes are more meaningful to students when teachers engage their passions, unleash their creative potential and give them the opportunity to experience in ‘real time’ the meaningfulness of the topic they are studying through e.g. project-based learning. The widespread practice of a whole class in front of a teacher and a blackboard is passive. It’s one-way communication from one to many. Our society functions in a different way today, and students have extensive access to knowledge via digital channels.”
As a leading company, when it comes to designing spaces and surroundings that let users adapt to everything from changing working habits to different learning situations, we asked Bosch how to create the optimal learning environment.
“You can’t attribute good learning to spaces or environments in themselves, nor can you create “creative” rooms that by themselves make people more creative. It’s not the room or the colours on the walls”, Bosch says.
Her colleague and employee, Annette Saidj, has been working a lot with pupils with special needs, and she states that one can’t create a one-size-fits-all model when speaking about creating good learning environments.
“School’s most important role is to nurture the creativity that children are born with. But schools also need to recognize children’s different needs and the fact that they learn under very different circumstances and in different ways. Taking children’s uniqueness into account is important, in order to be able to design differentiated learning environments, with adaptable learning spaces that support differentiated learning styles and teaching methods”, says Saidj.
When it comes to pointing out the most important role that learning environments play, Annette Saidj is not in doubt. According to Annette, the physical learning environment should nurture students’ interest and curiosity and their desire to participate and learn.