Sustaining systems of relationships : the essence of the physical learning environment that supports and enhances collaborative, project-based learning at the community college level Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/41687k48t

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  • The purpose of this study was to: (a) determine the design features of the physical learning environment that support and enhance collaborative, project-based learning at the community college level; and (b) to gain an understanding of the rationale for the selection of the features. The characteristics of the physical environment investigated in the study were scale, location, functionality, relationships, and patterns. Aspects of the rationale or purpose for the selected features included: (a) important factors for consideration, (b) sequence of consideration among the factors, (c) relationship among the factors, (d) derivation of the factors, (e) design process considerations, and (f) theories used to make the recommendation. The literature review indicated a need for changing learning expectations to prepare learners for rapidly changing roles and responsibilities in work, family, and community for the 21st century. Collaborative, project-based learning was identified as a pedagogy that prepares learners for these new learning expectations by conceiving, developing, and implementing projects relevant to the learners' and the communities' needs. This active learning process teaches critical thinking, problem solving, teamwork, negotiation skills, reaching consensus, using technology, and taking responsibility for one's own learning. Data were collected in three phases using a phenomenological approach to gain an understanding of the two foci areas of the study. Methods for collecting data included site visits, observations, text, interviews, and designs. Participants included architects, educators, and learners. The findings from the study included the initial identification of 44 design features of the physical learning environment that support and enhance collaborative, project-based learning at the community college level and the determination of the rationale for the selection of the features. Analysis and synthesis of the features resulted in 32 design features that were placed in the following six categories: (a) learning group size, (b) functional spaces for learning activities, (c) adjacencies, (d) furnishings, (e) psychological and physiological support of the learners, and (f) structural aspects. The essence of designing physical environments that support and encourage collaborative, project-based learning is the interrelationship among the categories and features within the categories.
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