I was at a project meeting yesterday to discuss the change of a traditional lecture theatre into a collaborative learning space. There were a few things that came out of this but the biggest one for me and, to be honest, one I had not previously considered is what is meant by collaborative?
I think of a collaborative space as one where groups of approximateley 7 people collaborate around some suitably shaped table. I now realise that this is just one, possibly the most common, model.
Others may consider turning to the person next you collaboration. Peter and I discussed this and decided that this is not collaboration but more of a chat. Others may disagree.
Another option is where people move about between the different groups. It may be they are unhappy with the group they are with and decide to take their ideas and input to a more suitable discussion.This may not be possible if the design of the space does not allow ease of circulation.
No doubt there will be other colllaboration models. I would like to hear of them.
Peter informed the meeting that pedagogically sound collaborative spaces should ideally hold no more than 70 seats. No doubt he will expand on this.
So with the growing number of requests for collaborative spaces those involved in the design need to establish what it is the client means by collaborative at the outset.
Of course this can only happen if the client has a clear idea of what it is they want to achieve,this often only becomes apparent when discussed with a broad range of stakeholders.
This is starting to touch on the process of designing spaces which Derek Powell at UQ and I discussed and which I will revisit here.