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Leading the Transition from Classrooms to Learning Spaces

Educause Quarterly Volume 28, Number 1, ISSN 1528-5324


A number of factors are prompting higher education's interest in learning spaces: the need to renovate existing space or accommodate additional students, pedagogical advances, a better understanding of learners, and, in some cases, curricular reform. Moving from classrooms to learning spaces involves a conceptual shift as well as a commitment to putting learning ahead of technology. Institutional leaders have an important responsibility to keep the focus on learning as design teams move from vision to implementation. Developing the best learning space design hinges on an analysis of needs, learning modes, and existing space use. Design considerations go well beyond heating, lighting, and A/V controls. Among the most important design considerations are: (1) Reflecting institutional values; (2) Designing space around people and multiple types of learning activities; (3) Enabling connections, inside and outside; (4) Accommodating information technology; and (5) Making spaces flexible, comfortable, secure, and functional. Good learning space design can support each institution's mission of enabling student learning. In fact, the convergence of technology, pedagogy, and space can lead to exciting new models of campus interaction. (Contains 7 endnotes and 5 online resources.) [This article is a reprint of an October 2004 white paper published on the EDUCAUSE Web site by the National Learning Infrastructure Initiative (NLII).]


Oblinger, D. (2005). Leading the Transition from Classrooms to Learning Spaces. Educause Quarterly, 28(1), 14-18. Retrieved January 22, 2020 from .

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  • A new era; Personal Technology Challenges Educational Technology

    Richard Evans & Anne Matthew, Queensland University of Technology

    ASCILITE - Australian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education Annual Conference 2013 (2013) pp. 262–266

  • Learning Spaces for the Humanities

    Barton Thurber & Jack Pope, University of San Diego, United States

    E-Learn: World Conference on E-Learning in Corporate, Government, Healthcare, and Higher Education 2005 (October 2005) pp. 1541–1548

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