Active Learning Environments

Informal learning is not spatially localized or spatially specialized, i.e. it is not bounded to specific spaces and it doesn't request special technical demands. Spatially, informal learning happens whenever conditions exist for the encounter and the permanence of individuals. Informal spaces are typically not owned by any particular department or constituent group; thus, they often lack technological services, with the exception of wireless. Those premises explain the difficulty in to characterize informal learning spaces.

Informal learning spaces may be defined as environments for communicating knowledge, i.e. places where people go about to exchange information, in a social two way process, that provide a quick sharing of information. The act of communication may take place in different formats but the main objective is always the need to share information and then to receive a response.

Once freed from the classroom, students gravitate to the spaces most appealing to them. Comfortable and customizable spaces quickly become candidates for frequent use between classes. The informal learning that takes place outside classes occurs in libraries, information commons, coffee shops, atriums, corridors, and others transition spaces, and any other locations where students can gather.

Survey about informal learning spaces considers the study of three types of spaces:

  • Atriums and circulation or transition spaces;
  • Food areas (cafeterias, esplanades, canteens) and
  • Students work rooms


Types of Spaces