Evaluation Plan for the Learning Space
Measuring and evaluating success (or otherwise) in the design process ensures greater longevity and flexibility in the learning space and can also serve as a way to observe evolution of practices within the new learning space over time (Jisc, 2007). The evaluation conducted must include user-centred, interactive relationships with open communication between the evaluator and stakeholder representatives from all levels of influence in order to empower and foster a sense of ownership of the learning space by individual communities (Jamieson et al., 2000; Tan et al., 2010). Risk has been mitigated in the design process by extensive consultation with staff and students to develop the overall design brief (Oradini et al., 2019).
In order to evaluate the proposed learning space design of Area 3, a number of strategies will be applied. The school’s learning principles and the corresponding design principles discussed earlier will act as guide to determining success (Johnson & Lomas, 2005). Surveys will be used to ‘tap into’ the perspectives of large numbers of users and validate findings from other measures (Hunley & Schaller, 2020). Users will be asked to comment on the physical changes within the space and the impact of the changes on their learning and teaching. Surveys will be used beyond the initial completion phase in order to monitor changes in perceptions over time (Hunley & Schaller, 2020). Secondly, focus groups and interviews will allow for deeper understanding of individual reactions to spaces (Hunley & Schaller, 2020). Observational studies on the configuration and space usage will be conducted in order to record changes in the use of the space (Jisc, 2007). Lastly, analysing data on the number of groups who use the space and evaluation of whether the use of the space encourages deeper learning will form part of the evaluation criteria (Johnson & Lomas, 2005)
Managing risk is iterative (ISO, 2018) therefore continual evaluation of the use and effectiveness of the learning space will include consideration for how to make the space better (Wilson & Randall, 2012). That is, the design process continues well after the space is complete. Longer-term evaluation would require analysis of whether the space is fundamentally changing learning and teaching approaches and experiences (Oradini et al., 2019). While evaluation can be constrained by factors linked to the institutional context such as values, culture, finances, and human behaviour including interactions with stakeholders, the design and modification of a successful learning space in Area 3 will inform future discussions of teaching and learning spaces within the library and within other areas throughout the school (ISO, 2018; Jamieson et al., 2000).