The design of the traditional lecture hall is optimised for the passive transfer of information from teacher to student, collaborative learning differs in its approach with an emphasis on student centred learning. In its most basic form, it is described as two or more people attempting to learn something together – a task or activity is divided between a group with each member fulfilling a particular role.
Loughborough Design School introduced the first collaborative lecture theatre to the UK back in 2011. Since then, a number of other leading universities have followed suit and introduced dual-purpose lecture spaces. This is very much indicative of a change in culture and attitude towards not only the learning experience
Collaborative learning spaces enable successful group engagement. This has numerous benefits as group work actively engages students with each other and their teacher, as well as demonstrating marked improvement across multiple sectors.
Students learn valuable life skills through collaborative learning, developing a wide range of skills. When a group is presented with a task or an idea, there will often be a process of clarification, discussion and evaluation of ideas. Whilst it could be argued that all of this can be performed by an individual, it is generally accepted that two people working together to solve a problem or complete a task have a much better chance of success than one alone – “two heads are better than one”.
Numerous academic, social and psychological benefits have been described for collaborative learning:
Learning to listen to what others have to say is a vital skill, it enables the share of knowledge and ideas more readily and individuals learn to understand more about what others are thinking.
Students are more actively involved in the learning process during the collaborative
Learning to wait your turn whilst being assertive enough to make your voice heard is a useful ability, developing this skill is easier in a small group rather than the whole room.
Learning to work in a group and share ideas is a great strength, one which begins at a young age and is carried through into adult life and the
Safety in numbers – for some, working alone can lead to increased stress and a sense of isolation and vulnerability. By engaging in group work all members of the group have a sense of shared responsibility and benefit from the support of the rest of the group. Groups often have varying levels of ability within them, appropriate task delegation and recognition of strengths and weaknesses are very much part of collaborative working.
Diplomacy and engaging in constructive criticism is yet another useful skill – building tactful communication enables the transmission of honest opinions whilst preserving relationships and credibility within a team.
For effective collaboration, students need to pay attention to the same thing, thinking and working together rather than in parallel. Members of the group are also accountable within the group.
The development of changes in the design of the traditional lecture theatre not only illustrate the changing cultures and attitudes in the university campus towards the learning approach as previously noted, the landscape of the lecture theatre and its architectural design is also fundamental to the output of collaborative learning.
A collaborative learning space provides a connection between technology and pedagogy creating a space which promotes learning, engagement and stimulation, whilst empowering students to work with one another in a connected and sharing environment.
Ferco Seating’s latest purpose-built lecture system, The Collaborative Wave was designed in response to changing trends and perspectives. Its unique design allows students to work together in small groups without
The Collaborative Wave essentially consists of dividing the space into pods – curved table work areas, each of which seat groups of five. Flexible swivel seats allow the students to turn and face
The collaborative wave not only provides students with a more spacious work
The Collaborative Wave better supports students with any type of physical disability or learning difference, offering an opportunity to expand inclusion and improved provisions. This ultimately enables education providers to better support students with adjustments and ensure they are given the same opportunities as other students.
For more information on the Collaborative Wave, contact Ferco Seating.