The ELI 2005 Fall Focus Session on informal learning space design involved three discussion group activities, each of which had an associated worksheet. The first group discussion addressed "Elements of an Effective Learning Space." Participants were asked to use the attached worksheet (elements discussion v2.pdf) to help them explore what the elements of an effective informal learning space are and how they facilitate learning.
The second group discussion activity, "Principles for Informal Space Design," engaged the participant groups in using the attached worksheet (principles discussion v3.pdf) to identify the common assumptions about informal spaces that individuals and institutions should challenge as they consider the design of such spaces. After brainstorming these assumptions, the session moderators worked with the groups to identify which assumptions indicated underlying design principles that could guide the planning and development of informal spaces.
The third discussion activity provided participants with the opportunity to apply the various lessons learned over the course of the day to the attached case study (final case v6.pdf), which focuses on how an institutional planning committee might approach the redesign of an information commons. The discussion groups used the case study to identify design options for the space; underlying informal space design principles that should guide the selection and prioritization of those options; essential stakeholders and how to reach them; and critical success factors for the overall project.