UDF goes to the AUDE 2024 Conference

Seán Woulfe, Cora Kwiatkowski and Rupert Cook from the University Design Forum (UDF) were joined by Jane Harrison-White from AUDE in a panel discussion to give the audience a taster of the ongoing research into Social Learning Spaces. The yearlong study, jointly sponsored by UDF, AUDE and Willmott Dixon, is led by Cardiff University academics Dr Hiral Patel and Dr Katherine Quinn, and Fiona Duggan from FiD. This research will develop our understanding of student needs on campus. The research outcomes will enable the creation of campus environments for better learning experiences.

The research team wants to improve the discourse on social learning spaces by defining questions about social learning experience, addressing diverse dimensions of social learning and integrating differing requirements of those who deliver, manage and use social learning spaces. The panel shared different viewpoints around social and emotional learning, supporting future skills programmes, understanding engagement and sense of belonging, and how original space design stories can be sustained throughout the continual turnover of new cohorts of users. Based on these views and emerging findings from the fieldwork, the research team shared insights on:

  • The role of physical and virtual space in social learning
  • The role of time, and particularly the student timetable, in encouraging social learning on campus
  • The role of curriculum in integrating social learning approaches
  • The role of stewardship in managing social learning spaces.

The audiences were invited to debate what would happen if social learning space no longer remains peripheral but becomes central in achieving desired student outcomes in terms of engagement, quality of life,satisfaction, retention, and attainment. The audiences shared exciting examples of social learning environments from different universities, and resonated with  increasing consensus on the role of stewardship in making social learning spaces work.

We expect to publish the results of the research in the autumn 2024.

Please contact Cora Kwiatkowski via admin@universitydesignforum.org if you have any questions or comments.

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