Es informal learning spaces a study of use
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ES Informal Learning Spaces: A Study of Use. IUPUI June 2, 2005. Project Background. Spaces designed and developed by community partners Major partners RJE Business Interiors Maregatti Interiors CSO Architecture Engineering & Interiors Rowland Design, Inc. Plus many other contributors.

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Project background l.jpg
Project Background

  • Spaces designed and developed by community partners

  • Major partners

    • RJE Business Interiors

    • Maregatti Interiors

    • CSO Architecture Engineering & Interiors

    • Rowland Design, Inc.

  • Plus many other contributors


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The Spaces

  • Five learning spaces created

    • Design

    • Lighting

    • Furniture

    • Infrastructure: paint, carpet, built-ins

    • Corridor plants

  • Adjacent to classrooms in Education-Social Work building

  • Completed September 2004









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Study Team

  • Nancy Chism, Associate Vice Chancellor and Associate Professor of Education

  • Liz Coles, Assistant Professor of Interior Design

  • Erica Pyle and Lauren Bevers, Interior Design Undergraduate Students

  • Brooke Worland, Education Graduate Student


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Methods

  • Institutional Research Board approval

  • Design

    • Observation of use

    • Informal interviews with users

    • Table top surveys

    • Focus groups

    • Email solicitations to faculty and maintenance staff


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Observations

  • Conducted over a period of 4 weeks in Fall semester 2004

  • Covered time range of 9 AM – 7 PM

  • Noted number of users, types of users, behaviors of users in each space


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Informal Interviews

  • 38 student users for on-the-spot interviews

  • Standard open-ended questionnaire used (see handout)

  • Detailed notes transcribed

  • Analyzed by themes


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Table Top Surveys

  • Standard questionnaire (see handout) placed in all five areas with envelope for completed surveys

  • Distributed and collected regularly over period of two weeks

  • 58 completed surveys collected

  • Analyzed by theme and numerically


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Focus Groups

  • Two time periods set aside for focus groups—before afternoon and evening classes

  • Instructors of classes notified

  • On-the-spot recruiting

  • Four impromptu groups, 23 total students

  • Question prompts used

  • Notes from multiple recorders transcribed

  • Data analyzed by theme


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Electronic Requests for Feedback

  • Email to instructors teaching in adjacent classes (see handout)

  • Three questions: overall impression, use in teaching, suggestions for change

  • 20 responses

  • Analyzed by theme

  • Email to maintenance staff



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Observation Results

  • 724 people observed

    • 303 alone

    • 421 with others

  • Most common uses

    • Studying

    • Talking

    • Eating

    • Hanging out



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Observation Time Line

Note: Represents the number of students in each space during an average day per observations.


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Interview Demographics

Interview Age Groups

Hours on Campus Per Week

Note: Total interviews = 38


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Interview Demographics-2

Major Fields of Study


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Interview Findings: Positive Overall Impressions-1

  • Comfortable (16)

  • Like chairs (14)

    • Comfortable, fabrics, placement

  • Attractive décor (7)

    • “Gorgeous, state of the art”

  • Relaxing (4)

  • Convenient (4)

    • Close to classes


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Interview Findings: Positive Overall Impressions-2

  • Colorful (3)

    • “Starbucks-like” areas

  • Bright/light (3)

  • Secluded (3)

    • “I feel secluded and isolated from everything else”

  • Nice spaces (3)

  • Contemporary (2)

  • Functional (2)

    • Moveable furniture


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Interview Findings: Positive Overall Impressions-3

  • Unique (2)

  • Like tables (2)

    • “Great for studying”

  • Quiet (1)

  • Different from before (1)

  • Big windows (1)

    • View and light


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Interview Findings: Complaints

  • Can’t find a place to sit (6)

  • Tractor stools are uncomfortable (3)

  • Hallway is too noisy (2)

  • Rolling task chairs (1)

    • “They get stuck on the carpet.” (Area 1)

    • “Always moved to other spaces.” (Areas 4 & 5)


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Interview Comments on Design

  • “I really like them, it’s the reason I stopped, I thought WOW!”

  • “Stylish, looks great!” “Very modern”

  • “I think they are nice looking.”

  • “It’s nice and convenient. It’s sometimes loud, but I know they can’t really restrict that.”

  • “I like it. It’s cute.”

  • “Good use of corridors. Good use of extra space because of the way the corner is cut.” (Area 1)


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Interview Comments on Furniture

  • “I like the rotating chairs.” (Area 5)

  • “I’m confused by the bar stools. What is their purpose?” (Area 2)

  • “All the furniture is relaxing except the stools.” (Tractor stools Area 2)

  • “I like the poofy chairs.” (Area 5)

  • “I like the desk part. The chairs are for relaxing.” (Area 4)

  • “More cushiony seats are nicer.” (Area 3)


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Interview Comments on Colors

  • “The different colors in the spaces make me feel different ways.” Area 4 makes her feel relaxed.

  • “Why not use regular colors instead of this weird yellow?” She goes on to say the space is her favorite. (Area 2)

  • “The color is bright. It makes me feel more awake.” (Area 2)

  • “All the colors are aesthetically pleasing.”


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Where Interview Respondents Spend Time on Campus

  • Education/Social Work (10)

  • University Library (7)

  • Lecture Hall (6)

  • Cavanaugh Hall (6)

  • Business/SPEA (5)

  • Engineering/Science and Technology (4)

  • University College (4)

  • Informatics and Computer Technology Complex (3)

  • Science (3)


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Impact on Interviewee’s School Work

  • Positive (14)

    • “It’s nice to have somewhere on campus to work.”

    • “It’s quiet, isolated, and I like to be close to class.”

    • “It is easy and comfortable for groups.”

    • “It helps me to get more work done. It’s easier and more convenient.”

  • Not about school work (12)

    • “Always full.” “Fairly noisy.”

    • “I study at home and play games with friends here.”

    • “I usually just eat and wait for class.”

    • “Not really, I just like that it is comfortable.”

  • Undecided (2)


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Change in Interviewee’s Space Use

  • Used space before renovation (7)

    • “It was awful!”

    • “It’s a pretty good improvement. I like it a lot.”

    • “Big blocks were so uncomfortable.”

    • “We usually sat on the floor around the cubes.”

  • Did not use space before (18)

    • “I went outside when it was nice.”

    • “The cubes were too uncomfortable.”

  • N/A—first semester at IUPUI (9)


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Interviewees’ Comparison with Spaces at Other Campuses-1

  • Indiana University Bloomington (3)

    • “Not this neat.”

    • “The spaces are old.”

  • Purdue University (2)

    • “Similar but not as nice.”

  • Indiana State University (1)

    • “Kind of in the food areas.”

  • Marian College (1)

    • “Nothing like this. Just tables and chairs.”


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Interviewees’ Comparison with Spaces at Other Campuses-2

  • Eastern Kentucky University (1)

    • “Similar.”

  • Franklin College (1)

    • “No, not spaces like these. Not commuter friendly”

  • Butler (1)

    • “They only have tables and chairs. Nothing like this.”

  • Vincennes (1)

    • “Just space in the Library, but nothing like this.”


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Survey Results: Demographics

  • Average Years at IUPUI: 2.72

  • Gender

    • Male 29%

    • Female 71%

  • Average Age: 26.14

  • Most Common Majors

    • Social Work, Nursing, Dentistry, Education


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Surveys Ratings of Carrels

Rating: 1-10, with 10 being excellent.



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Survey Ratings on Sectional Sofa Area

Rating: 1-10, with 10 being excellent.



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Survey Ratings on White Board Area

Rating: 1-10, with 10 being excellent.



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Survey Ratings on Triple Divide Area

Rating: 1-10, with 10 being excellent.



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Survey Ratings on Recycling Bar Area

Rating: 1-10, with 10 being excellent.



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Electronic Results: Faculty

  • Comfortable

  • Functional/Practical

    • “In short, I think it was one of the wisest uses of space and best thing for the students that I have seen in many years.”

  • Appealing/Inviting

    • “My initial impression upon . . . seeing the renovations was that I had stumbled into Starbucks. It is very pleasant and pleasing to the eye.”

    • “. . . gives the school a look of cohesiveness, as it promotes student interaction.”


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Electronic Results: Faculty

  • Break-out Space for Group Work

    • “ . . my students regularly work in small groups and one or more of the groups will venture to the areas outside during class to discuss and work in small groups.”

    • “My students use the space . . . as a classroom extension.”

  • Meetings with Students

    • “Instead of going to my office to discuss a concept after class, I find a comfortable chair to sit and chat with students.”


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Electronic Results: Faculty

  • Group Work

    • “I have often seen students before and after class using those spaces to work on small group assignments so this space makes this easier for them.”

  • Studying

    • “I definitely think the space is being used for more than just getting together or chatting.”


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Electronic Results: Faculty

  • Well Populated

    • “I wanted to use the space for chatting with a student but couldn’t find an empty spot.”

    • “I see many students studying and waiting for classes.”

    • “I feel that they are great informal learning areas and there appear to be people at them most of the time that I am there.”


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Feedback from Maintenance

  • Like the furniture for its “homey” feel

  • Find the variety of looks refreshing

  • Furniture with wheels – occasionally disappears – easily retrieved

  • Locks on “bar like” counter broken – need to be replaced

  • Concern that carpet is wearing quickly and shows dirt easily

  • Concern about matching paint colors


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Summary of Major Findings-1

  • Proximity matters in locating informal learning spaces

    • Commuter students with limited time want to be close to classrooms before and after class

  • Inviting, comfortable spaces promote commuter student engagement with campus

    • Students report “lingering” more and coming inside rather than studying in cars

  • Spaces can promote collaborative learning


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Summary of Major Findings-2

  • Spaces can foster innovative pedagogy

    • Faculty in adjacent rooms now more apt to send groups outside to work

  • Spaces adjacent to classrooms can increase faculty-student interaction

    • Faculty report more before and after class interactions with students since space is there; also chance for longer conversations

  • Students value comfort, color, and design


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Recommendations: Students-1

  • Make spaces functional

    • More table space

    • More technology capabilities

  • Keep attending to comfort

    • Seating

    • Overall Design

  • Include good lighting

  • Provide vending machines with healthier snacks


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Recommendations: Students-2

  • Vary plant types and heights

  • Make more spaces like this!

    • All over campus

    • SL/LD buildings

    • Library

    • Business building

    • Cavanaugh and University College (3)


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Recommendations: Faculty

  • Noise control

    • “. . . discussions in the learning areas can be disruptive if the door to the classroom is not kept tightly closed. Maybe some sort of sound barrier between the learning areas and doorways of some of the classrooms would alleviate this.”

  • Additional electrical outlets

  • Signage about keeping spaces neat


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Recommendations: Maintenance

  • Need cut sheets or catalogs for all lighting

  • Need vendor information or training for lighting fixtures and carpet

  • Need to have specs with exact color numbers for paints used in project

  • Training on unique specs of fixtures or furniture

  • More advance notification in future – recognized this was a “fast track” job

  • Provide spec book for maintenance crew


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Summary Comments

  • We need to continue experimenting and studying

  • The ES corridor project was a remarkable partnership that will continue to benefit IUPUI

  • We need to tell our story!


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