The University of Florida College of Design, Construction and Planning (DCP) and The Agency, housed within the UF College of Journalism and Communications, were awarded $70,000 from the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) to investigate an emerging typology of educational space, the mixed-use learning zone that engages millennial generations of students outside the standard classroom model.
“We’re taking active learning to the next level,” said Sheila Bosch, interior design assistant professor and the principal investigator of the project. “Engaging millennial and subsequent generations of students demands that we look outside the classroom box. Moving beyond traditional classroom-centric research, we will study how learning happens in the ‘in-between’ spaces, where more collaborative and less formal learning occurs.”
This national study will use a mixed methods research approach, including case studies that integrate behavioral mapping with student and teacher first-person narratives of their experience within mixed-use learning zones that straddle study commons and classroom settings to support diverse needs, student engagement and informal social interaction.
“In much the same way that mixed-use planning can activate urban centers, mixed-use learning zones create synergistic adjacencies and blended spaces that keep the learning environment multi-modal, active and vibrant,” said Jason Meneely, interior design associate professor.
The Agency, a team that conducts millennial generation research, brings Mavy to the table – a virtual community of millennials that is representative of the population being studied.
This will be the first external grant for the Engage Design Lab, an initiative led by UF’s Department of Interior Design that invites other disciplines to develop design-based programs and projects that help solve a specific need while confronting the larger societal concerns surrounding healthcare and education. The project team also includes Margaret Portillo, DCP interim associate dean of research and graduate studies, Candy Carmel-Gilfilen, associate chair of interior design, and Andy Hopson, The Agency’s executive director.
“The Millennial generation is creating a shift in the field of education and it is our mission as researchers, educators and designers to develop actionable guidelines that address their learning styles,” said Elizabeth Cailenes, Engage Design Lab coordinator and Ph.D. student. “We are honored to receive the 2016 ASID Transform Grant and cannot think of a better way to kick-off our Engage Design Lab initiative.”