What is a Learning Commons?
The Learning Commons has evolved from a combination library and computer lab into an adaptable full-service learning, research, and project space. This could mean a variety of activities are taking place in the Learning Commons. They include; but are not limited to quiet work, group meetings, planning sessions, and voices of students working together, and engaging in active learning.
How Does it Work?
The Learning Commons is a flexible environment built to accommodate multiple learning activities. It has a variety of resources addressing a variety of needs; furnished for informal face-to-face gatherings; and it is a student-centric area. It also prominently displays and promotes student efforts.
Who is doing it?
Numerous colleges and schools have adopted the learning commons approach. It is designed to promote a culture of learning which offers spaces for writing and research, educational technology, faculty development, and quiet scholarly reflection. The learning commons is a lively interactive space with comfortable, inviting chairs, a digital media lab, and spaces for group study.
The learning commons brings together the functions of libraries, labs, lounges, and seminar areas in a single community gathering place that supports the sharing of student ideas outside the classroom. The learning commons can be an ideal venue to blend face-to-face with virtual meetings.
Where is it going?
Technological challenges include increased mobile use, and augmented-reality learning scenarios. The code word is learning. It integrates even more of the virtual world into the face to-face environment.
What are the implications for teaching and learning?
A well-equipped learning commons says to a student, “Here you have tools, room to collaborate, equipment, advice, research options, and access to expert information. Now it is up to you to build something worthwhile: a paper, a presentation, an education.” (EDUCAUSE, 2011)
"EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative." Educause.edu. N.p., 2011. Web. 10 Aug. 2017. <https://www.educause.edu/eli>.