One of the key issues identified in the Learning Landscape research is the importance of designing the project brief for a new learning space.

Key to a successful brief is the way in which best educational practice is articulated spatially, and the ways in which these educational practices are supported by the most efficient and effective learning spaces.

Despite the enthusiasm for the development of new teaching and learning spaces in higher education, the relationship between effective undergraduate teaching and learning and innovative new spaces is not well understood.

This lack of understanding is perpetuated by the limited amount of research in this area (Temple, 2007: 4). The lack of research may be one reason why there is resistance to change among academics in Higher Education (Temple, 2007: 49).

While writing on teaching and learning in HE is aware of issues of ‘context’ and ‘setting’, it largely ignores any direct engagement with issues of space or spatiality (Jamieson, 2003, Temple 2007: 21). This is apparent from a brief review of some of the most important work on effective teaching and learning practices in Higher Education ( Ramsden 1992, Gibbs 2002, Meyer and Land 2003).

This Teaching and Learning with Space in Mind tool is designed to deal with some of these shortcomings by:

• Encouraging academics to make use of the literature on effective teaching when designing new teaching and learning spaces.

• Supporting a sense of spatial imagination and a heightened consciousness about the importance of space in the teaching and learning process. It is clear from research that there is a lack of tools to facilitate this process and, therefore, there is a pressing need to create tools that are linked closely to the most effective forms of teaching and learning.

The Teaching and Learning principles for effective teaching that form the basis for this tool have been synthesized from key approaches established through research into effective pedagogical practices in university teaching The principles are further supported by the work has been done as part of the Learning Landscape research project, including an engagement with the principles of critical pedagogy ( Freire, 1970) .

These most effective forms of teaching and learning are not presented as a definitive list, indeed colleagues are encouraged to produce their own most effective practices based on their own practices and research.

The activities described by this tool provide staff with the opportunity to discuss the relationship between pedagogy and the design of learning spaces in Higher Education so as to develop a common understanding among key stakeholders.


Biggs, J. (2003) Teaching for Quality Learning at University, The Society for Research into Higher Education and the Open University Press, Berkshire

Chickering, A., and Gamson, Z. (1987) Seven Principles of Good Practice in Undergraduate Education, AAHE Bulletin, 39 (7), pp. 3 – 7

Freire, P. ( 1979) Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Continuum, London

Jamieson, P. ( 2003) ‘Designing More Effective on-campus teaching and learning spaces: a role for academic developers’, International Journal for Academic Development, 8. 1. pp. 119 – 133

Jamieson, P., Dane, J., Lippman ( 2005) ‘Moving Beyond the Classroom: Accommodating the Changing Pedagogy of Higher Education’, refereed proceedings of 2005 Forum of the Australasian Association for Institutional Research

Kuh , G., Kinzie, J., Schuh, J., Whitt, E. and Associates ( 2005) Student Success in College: Creating Conditions that Matter, John Wiley and Sons, San Francisco

Meyer, J. and Land, R. ( 2005) ‘Threshold Concepts and Troublesome Knowledge: Epistemological Considerations and a Conceptual Framework for Teaching and Learning’, Higher Education 49 (3), pp. 373 -388

Pascarella, E. and Terenzizini ( 2005) How College Affects Students, Jossey Bass, San Francisco

Ramsden, P. (1992) Learning to Teach in Higher Education, Routledge Falmer, London and New York

Temple, P. (2007) Learning Spaces for the 21st Century – A Review of the Literature –