Lectures to Group Work  What is the Impact on Space?
Changes in student learning behaviours mean teaching pedagogy and the estate will have to adapt in order to accommodate these changing demands. A greater focus on group, interactive, discussionled and gamified contact hours rather than lecturebased sessions, will impact space utilisation. But how?
Empty space, drag to resize
Institutions are addressing the changes in teaching and learning styles and are seeing success. For example, the TEAL (Technology Enhanced Active Learning)project at MIT developed two new classrooms, both of which were focused on addressing the changing student behaviour requirements. The project noted that “the teaching methods used in the TEAL classroom produced about twice the average normalized learning gains for low, intermediate, and highscoring students when compared to traditional instruction”. These are remarkable results and indicate the potential gains universities and colleges can make by ensuring their teaching methods and teaching spaces reflect the changing student learning behaviours.
Changing teaching pedagogy, changing space requirements
From a space management perspective, there is an obvious potential issue with wanting to change the way students are taught  essentially, it changes space requirements.
For example, the lecture theatre teaching space is, arguably, the most efficient use of teaching space when considering the number of students they can accommodate per m2. But the groupstyle teaching rooms, due to the nature of the activities that they must accommodate, require much more space.
AUDE estimates that a lecture theatre capacity can be estimated by accounting for 1 student per each 1m2 whilst a seminar room capacity typically accounts 1 student per 2.25m2. From a space management perspective, groupstyle teaching often requires a greater m2 per student than seminar rooms. For example, the TEAL classrooms accommodate 1 student per 7.81m2, almost 8 times the space of that required by a lecture theatre.
Space norms are there for guidance purposes, as more or less space can be achieved depending on the layout, design, furniture, and objective but can t a useful indicator of what can be achieved.
If institutions want to address the changing student learning behaviour and focus on group/interactive/discussion/gamified learning teaching, they are going to need to replace the spaceefficient lecture theatre with the spacehungry seminar/group/interactive/discussion/gamified teaching spaces.
For example, the lecture theatre teaching space is, arguably, the most efficient use of teaching space when considering the number of students they can accommodate per m2. But the groupstyle teaching rooms, due to the nature of the activities that they must accommodate, require much more space.
AUDE estimates that a lecture theatre capacity can be estimated by accounting for 1 student per each 1m2 whilst a seminar room capacity typically accounts 1 student per 2.25m2. From a space management perspective, groupstyle teaching often requires a greater m2 per student than seminar rooms. For example, the TEAL classrooms accommodate 1 student per 7.81m2, almost 8 times the space of that required by a lecture theatre.
Space norms are there for guidance purposes, as more or less space can be achieved depending on the layout, design, furniture, and objective but can t a useful indicator of what can be achieved.
If institutions want to address the changing student learning behaviour and focus on group/interactive/discussion/gamified learning teaching, they are going to need to replace the spaceefficient lecture theatre with the spacehungry seminar/group/interactive/discussion/gamified teaching spaces.
What this Can Look Like: A Scenario
For this fictional scenario, ABC University has discussed future teaching space design and teaching methods with both students and lecturers. There is an agreed consensus that teaching is moving away from lecture theatre style teaching and there is now a greater demand for interactive group teaching. All have agreed that they would like the new style teaching rooms to accommodate a maximum of 42 students, each in groups of 6 with the lecturer positioned in the centre of the room – similar to that as shown in the TEAL teaching space.
As a result of these discussions, the following basic room layout has been designed and agreed by all stakeholders.
This change in teaching space demand results in there no longer being a requirement for the lecture theatres currently available within ABC University. All activities that had been accommodated in the lecture theatres will now be accommodated within the new interactive group teaching rooms.
ABC University currently has 4 lecture theatres, each of which accommodates 40 hours of lectures per week throughout all semesters during the academic year and represents the peak annual demand. Therefore the new interactive group teaching rooms must accommodate all of the 160 weekly teaching activities.
The current group sizes that occupy the lecture theatres are currently considerably greater than the capacity of the planned innovative group teaching rooms. This means classes will be split into groups according to the room capacity. For example, a lecture with 100 students, will now be taught in 3 groups (1×36 students, 1×34 students and 1 x 30 students), with each group taught separately.
The following calculations determine how many groups/hours and therefore innovative group teaching rooms ABC University will have to provide in order to accommodate demand.
By reducing the maximum teaching space capacity, the larger activities have had to be split into multiple groups, significantly increasing the total number of activities that require timetabling each week.
The most extreme of these is the largest lecture theatre – Lecture Theatre 4. Originally there were 40 hours of teaching timetabled each week in this teaching space and each activity timetabled in this room had a class size of 240. Each activity has to be split into 7 groups in order to accommodate all of the students and fit within the capacity of the new innovative group teaching space. There is now 280 hours worth of teaching activities that need to be timetabled as a result of the 40 hours of teaching no longer being accommodated in Lecture Theatre 4.
Although the rise in the number of classes is expected, it is not yet clear what effect this has on the demand for space.
In total, the previous table indicated that there is a demand for 720 hours of teaching activities, all of which need to be accommodated within the planned new innovative group teaching spaces. This equates to a requirement of 18 rooms as shown in the table below.
Using the AUDE estimates referred to earlier, we can estimate that the lecture theatre space makes up a total NIA of 720m2 (Total capacity X space norm/720×1). In comparison the New Interactive Group Teaching Rooms will require an NIA 1800m2, this is a 1080m2 difference and more than 2.5 times the current teaching requirement.
Not only is there a greater space requirement there is also a greater teaching demand, with 560 extra teaching hours per week that will need to be taught by suitable staff.
In Summary
Although this scenario is a simple example, it does demonstrate the extreme pressure a move away from lecture theatre teaching could have on an institution and its estate. Not only would there be an extreme increase in the amount of teaching space required, there would also be a similar increase in demand for staff hours to cover this increase in activities. An increase in space requirements and staffing hours would consequentially have a significant impact on a university’s budgetary requirements too.
It will become increasingly important for universities and colleges to face this growing issue as it seems doubtful that the majority of higher education institutions could accommodate such a large increase in space and staffing requirements whilst receiving the same amount of student income.
The issue of changing learning behaviour must be recognised and plans put in place to address these changes otherwise, universities run the risk of becoming ineffective in the way they teach their students.
How we help
About us

Charity

Meet the team

Careers

Get in touch

Get our newsletter

LinkedIn
© 20202024 Escentral — All rights reserved