Designing hubs for connected learning: Social, spatial and technological insights from Coworking, Hackerspaces and Meetup groups
Bilandzic, Mark & Foth, Marcus (2017) Designing hubs for connected learning: Social, spatial and technological insights from Coworking, Hackerspaces and Meetup groups. In Carvalho, Lucila, Goodyear, Peter, & de Laat, Maarten (Eds.) Place-Based Spaces for Networked Learning. Routledge, Oxon, United Kingdom, pp. 191-206.
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Connected learning, as a design approach, does not restrict learning to a dedicated learning space (school, university, etc.), but considers it to be an aggregation of individual experiences made through intrinsically motivated, active participation in and across various socio-cultural, every-day life environments. Urban places for meeting, interacting and connected learning with people from diverse backgrounds, cultures and areas of expertise are highly significant in the knowledge economy of our 21st century. However, little is yet known about best practices to design and curate such hubs that attract and support interest-driven and socially embedded learning experiences.
The research study presented in this paper investigates design aspects that contribute to successful place-based spaces for connected learning. The paper reports findings from observations as well as interviews with users and managers of three different types of local, community-led learning environments, i.e., coworking spaces, hackerspaces, and meetup groups across Australia. The findings reveal social, spatial and technological interventions that these spaces apply to nourish a culture of connected learning, sharing and peer interaction. The discussion suggests a set of design implications for designers, managers and decision makers that have an interest in nourishing a connected learning culture among their user community.
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