SPEAKER : DR. ZAHIRUDDIN FITRI ABU HASSAN
The design of the classroom plays an important role in informing and influencing the learning activities that could be performed in them. Conventional classes where all learners face the educator at all times limits the way in which they could interact with their peers. Specially designed classroom that have the design intent to encourage and facilitate interaction and collaboration between learners have been shown to support learners in constructing knowledge. Equally important, is the educator's ability to optimise the use of the specially designed collaborative learning classes i.e the learning spaces. They will need to be trained to use them otherwise the well designed spaces would just be another lecturing space.
Blended learning, defined as the integration between face to face learning facilitation with online and elearning, may provide opportunity to increase learning engagement of the learners, and enable concepts such as flipped classroom to be conducted successfully. The role of the educator will be made critical in the successful implementation of the blended learning initiative as they will become a facilitator to design learning that is contextual and appropriate towards the needs of the learners.
When these two concepts of collaborative learning space and blended learning merge, the learning experience of the learners will be made richer with the affordance of the space that supports collaboration designed by the educator to happen within the learning space. The creation and construction of knowledge through collaborative activities may be conducted in the physical spaces and the virtual space as an immersive experience for the learners. Learners can use the virtual space to create and curate their learning artefacts aided by meaningful interactions with their peers made possible by the collaborative layout of the learning space.
The soft skills outcomes of the learners can be designed to take advantage of the collaborative learning process. The emphasis on social skill can be brought online as the digital soft skills that we could see lacking in the new generation of learners. This two-pronged approach is the new innovation in pedagogy that is still not gaining traction, as the connection between the two is still vague, and not being thoroughly researched.
Finally, we will present a research work on how educators in the university are using the collaborative learning spaces that they have designed and reveal the opportunity still present to optimise the use of the blended learning approach to realise the full potential of the collaborative learning spaces.