Designing better learning environments: Aspiring to business culture

LLB Architects is in the midst of a case study and research project in which we look at our past projects and dig into emerging trends in higher education to discover how we can design better learning environments together with our clients. We'll occasionally share passages here on our site and we welcome your feedback. Email us at info@llbarch.com with the subject line "Designing better learning environments" to learn more about the case study and our process.

This section is on aspiring to business culture.

In the research for this case study, sources upon sources of information were gathered that predict the future of higher education. We're constantly searching for emerging trends, looking out for signs of change, and analyzing societal shifts. Change is happening now. Since the Industrial Revolution, much of the education and business realms have not changed, but it's finally fading. Successful companies are no longer in the factory producing widgets - they're working to create unique products and provide specialized services - and they're doing this by hiring exceptional people that don't simply follow the letter of the law, but create innovative experiences. As college students graduate, they need to be positioned for business; as high school students graduate, they need to be positioned for college; and so on... We continue to aspire to the next level.

Significance

We must look to what's happening in business culture to gauge the future of higher education and how to prepare students entering the workforce. Work environments are becoming more varied, with a combination of collaborative group spaces, open work stations, spaces that promote accidental interactions. Changes in lifestyle are demanding flexible schedules and remote work. Entrepreneurs and small businesses are operating efficiently and require sharing a co-working space. These changes in how businesses are functioning have a direct impact on how students must adjust to this type of work environment.

Impact

The new types of spaces we see emerging in innovative businesses are the same types of spaces that should be in an innovative learning environment. Universities are marketplace-driven, and its students need to acquire the skills necessary to succeed in the business world by learning in environments that mimic business culture. Businesses are changing their offices from a closed environment with private offices and high-walled cubicles, to open work stations with lowered walls - this leads to greater communication between employees and greater collaborative efforts on projects. The ability for students to work together and communicate with each other in a learning environment is key to fostering healthy education model. Businesses are also extended their brand through their offices, creating active and lively spaces with color and transparency. Creating a lively learning space through the use of colors, textures, and transparencies establishes an exciting environment, one that students can enjoy working in. Additionally, spaces in between classrooms like open-plan spaces and lounges encourage students to do their thinking outside the classroom and allows for the possibility of student interaction.

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