Scotland’s Learning Landscapes

Shared and Agile Learning Space Design Toolkit

The Shared and Agile Learning Space Design Toolkit is a dynamic resource for learners and educators to collaborate on the co-design of educational spaces. It promotes innovative and sustainable learning that is accessible for all teachers and pupils.

The toolkit contains sets of symbols which aim to make the principles of learning space design accessible to a wide range of users. The symbols were developed in collaboration with teachers and pupils, educators and designers to promote exploring and testing learning spaces. The toolkit consists of three sets of symbols – Learning Typologies, Learning Design Values, and Learning Design Factors.

– Jonathan Hancock, Edinburgh University: Shared Learning Spaces 

These videos are shared from Our Shared Learning Toolkit on Architecture & Design Scotland’s website which has further information about the toolkit.

Further reading on the research can be found from on the Shared Learning Spaces website
Social Spaces in Learning Environments: Case Study by Architecture & Design Scotland

The Toolkit Symbols

The aim of the symbolic tools is to make the design principles accessible to different stakeholders and users.

The symbols were developed in collaboration with teachers and learners, educators and designers to promote exploring and testing learning spaces. There are three sets of symbols.

The symbols bring together the conceptual, physical and agile nature of learning space design. They provide a ‘common language,’ between educators, learners and designers, for discussing, collaborating and co-creating spaces and the learning that takes place within them.

Learning Typologies

The Learning Typologies refer to different ‘types’ of learning that are fundamental to schooling. They provide symbols which signify different spaces: input-driven, scaffolded, independent, reflective, collaborative, experiential, celebratory, and so on. The symbols can be used to map out in meaningful ways how learning spaces promote different kinds of learning.

A water drop symbol
Watering Hole a more informal space to gather for learning from peers, exchanging ideas in small groups. A good place to get help and advice when we get ‘stuck’ or need inspiration. A problem solving space.
fire symbol
Campfire a place for learners to come together, listen to experts and learn from each other. A sharing space for problem-creating, goal setting and curriculum-making.
cave symbol
Cave a safe, reflective space to be alone and to reflect or to work independently, without interruption or distraction from others.
a footprint symbol
Fields practice, specialist, and creative spaces. Places where we actively try out ideas, test things out, applying our knowledge and skills in the wider world, life spaces. A ‘doing,’ experimenting and moving space
a snow capped mountain symbol
Journey to the Mountain Top a place to celebrate and share learning with others. A place to feel proud. A wellbeing and ‘feeling good’ space.

Learning Design Values

The Learning Design Values are the values that underpin design for learning in these spaces.

Kindness is at the heart learning which encourages sharing and caring across all learning
Inclusivity Prioritising inclusive learning spaces (including digital), where all learners feel safe and
supported to be themselves.
Ownership Ensuring the learner remains at the heart of decision-making about their learning spaces.
Engaging learners in making informed, responsible decisions.
Sharing prioritising collaboration with both local and global communities, exploring shared learning in all indoor, outdoor and digital spaces with others across ages, cultures and capacities.
Sustainability prioritising physical (material), virtual, cognitive and socially sustainable solutions in our learning spaces based on a commitment to Global responsiveness
Uncertainty Embracing uncertainty in our learning spaces in order to develop skills, knowledge and capabilities to deal with and be positive about ambiguity and complexity in diverse contexts
Wellbeing ensuring that our learning spaces promote mental, emotional, social and physical health and
wellbeing for ourselves and others guided by ‘well learning’ principles

Learning Design Factors

The Learning Design Factors are elements such as safety, accessibility and fixtures that must be considered when assessing, adapting and renovating learning environments. They raise awareness of what makes learning spaces designs suitable and fit-for-purpose and remind users of the need to consider factors which are values-driven and promote equality for learning.

Agile Spaces Ensuring that learning spaces are flexible to support a wide variety of teaching and learning activities, with practical and creative spaces for
collaborative and independent learning. This includes specialist,
community, social, play and recuperative spaces.
Accessibility addressing the physical, intellectual and emotional needs of all learners. Prioritising accessible learning for diversity of disabilities.
Environment Developing nurturing environments that promote physical and emotional health and wellbeing.
Safety prioritising safety in all learning spaces and ensuring that all learners feel safe and secure in their learning environments
Furniture, Fixtures and
Equipment (FF&E)
Ensuring the agile FF&E can support all learners and enhance indoor, outdoor and shared learning spaces.
Digital promoting critical understanding of fit-for-purpose digital and virtual shared learning spaces.
Natural Space Connecting learning environments and natural space, bringing the outside in (e.g. biophilic design) and the inside out (e.g. outdoor learning).

Toolkit in Action

The toolkit is an interactive aid for consultation with students and staff when planning their learning environment.

Get started!

Use the toolkit for your own workshops on planning your learning environments. Check out the detailed guidance and print off your symbols.