Learning Commons spaces are purposely designed to support student learning outcomes and pedagogical practice responsive to the demands of ‘21st century education’. In addition to traditional activities of book lending, research and fostering a love of reading, the Learning Commons supports the development of literacies and skills required in a rapidly changing information and technology environment. Student outcomes in these areas tend to include:
1) learning and innovation skills such as creativity and innovation, critical thinking and problem-solving, and communication and collaboration; and
2) critical information, digital and media literacy skills, including areas such as digital citizenship and ‘metaliteracy’
To create a physical environment that supports learning within this context, it is recommended that school Learning Commons spaces:
Together for Learning – http://togetherforlearning.ca/
Built pedagogy – “architectural embodiments of educational philosophies” (Monahan, Torin. 2002. "Flexible Space & Built Pedagogy: Emerging IT Embodiments." Inventio 4 (1): 1-19).
Built pedagogies operate along a continuum between discipline and autonomy. On the disciplinary side, they can restrict learning possibilities by not allowing for certain movements or flows. For example, desks bolted to the ground make flexible interpretations of spatial use extremely difficult, and they impose directions for how space should be used. In the middle of the discipline/autonomy spectrum, there are built pedagogies that enable but do not require flexible behaviors: movable partitions and desks illustrate space left open to interpretative use. Finally, on the autonomy end, open classrooms invite and almost demand that individuals appropriate space to their perceived needs.
The Third Teacher – “…the critical link between the school environment and how children learn.” Ontario Ministry of Education Capacity-Building Series (K-8) http://www.edugains.ca/resourcesLNS/Monographs/CapacityBuildingSeries/CBS_ThirdTeacher.pdf
Facilities Response to the International Baccalaureate Curriculum - http://lgdata.s3-website-us-east-1.amazonaws.com/docs/2869/723043/School_Design_for_IB_Curriculum.pdf
“The IB library prototype should embrace the IB mantra of “learning how to learn”. It should provide students with the tools and resources needed to relate their experiences from within the classroom to the world beyond, and should supplement knowledge and exposure through media and literature from varying sources and origins. The library should reflect an ethos of truth-seeking and research-based learning. It should also be a community resource by providing spaces for gathering.”
Learning Space Toolkit http://learningspacetoolkit.org/roadmap/
All material on this page was drawn from the UCDSB document, "Designing Learning Commons Spaces @ UCDSB".