The college classroom of yesterday is history.
Traditional, lecture-based courses are turning into hybrid-learning courses where teachers use a mixture of technology and live class sessions to help students retain more information in new ways. This has shaped a new era of technology-centered learning. Not only has the classroom changed, but the demographic has as well.
Today's classroom is a mix of the recent high school graduate and professional, working adults all using technology to learn. In 2013, over 20M students were enrolled in some form of higher education in the U.S. The classroom is where this new learning occurs, whether it's an instructor-led presentation or an app on a tablet, and it's impacting classroom design.
Here are three higher education classroom design trends, inspired by this change:
Technology-Driven Integrations: Reading used to be done in a regular, paper-bound textbook. Today, it's on an iPad or tablet in the hallway, waiting for the next class. With the use of an interactive whiteboard, the instructor can facilitate discussions around digital text. Now, students expect their iPad or tablet to fully integrate into the lesson for the day. Integration of the technology into furniture is also a trend. The space will need to accommodate for these requirements. Whether it's a place to rest a laptop or a USB port in the outlet next to a desk, the need is real.
Learner-Focused Facilities: In the modern college classroom, the focus remains on the learner. Studies have consistently shown that when peers teach each other, the information they retain is far more than that absorbed in a lecture-style setting. This means having a space that enables students to collaborate and critically think in a classroom setting. Whether it's access to an interactive whiteboard or an area to prepare a presentation, the space should fit the learner.
Flexible Spaces: Often, college students work individually and in groups during their classes. Unfortunately, traditional desking solutions haven't always been conducive to this style of learning. As technology has evolved, so too has the need for a reevaluation of the traditional furniture used in the classroom setting. Today's college classrooms need to be equipped to handle interactive whiteboards, projection systems, tablets, laptops, and more. And usually not just one, but several. Furniture needs to be ergonomic, comfortable, and mobile.
These are just some of the trends we're seeing in higher education classroom design. Watch our video on higher education in the 21st century below to learn more.