Learning Spaces

New learning spaces in Clement House

LTI have been working with LSE Estates and AV to improve teaching and learning spaces at LSE, our most recent project has been to revamp some spaces over 6 floors in Clement House.

Students have made it clear that they don’t have enough spaces around the campus for independent study, for collaborative work, to power their devices or to simply sit between classes (especially where they don’t have to pay for food and drink, or share the space with the public). Our aim was to design spaces in Clement House that are flexible and fulfil a variety of functions; allow students to own and shape the space, to provide and support social interactions and engagement (conversations and community), to offer personal spaces with no distractions (retreat) and to provide resources (power, natural light, work spaces). We want these spaces to represent what it means to study at the LSE. These spaces are an opportunity to bring society and London into the School environment. To inspire curiosity and creativity in students. To offer students space to develop the trans-disciplinary skills of collaboration and communications. To enhance the community feel of LSE informal learning spaces.

Each floor has its own world city theme, (as IR is the home department in the building) with corresponding artwork and technology (including Apple iMac, Mac mini, Smart Kapp board, collaborative tables) and furniture to enable different types of learning activities.

Floor 2 - Rio de Janeiro
Creative, maker space, that is flexible with emphasis on writing. Contains one whiteboard and one interactive smart board to share ideas direct from the board to your devices
Floor 3 - New York
Cafe style break space, wooden bench for individual work & laptop use, an Apple iMac is available for use
Floor 4 - London
Conversation space, informal meeting layout to encourage discussion
Floor 5 - Sydney
Collaborative space - standing height seating and writing with white board
Floor 6 - Tokyo
Connectivity and team working - technology to facilitate sharing, can plug devices into screen and a Mac Mini available for use
Floor 7 - Cape Town
Comfortable quiet reading quiet space, with comfy chairs and plants for a more homely feel

We also commissioned some original digital artwork to be displayed on screens outside of classrooms on two of the floors. Entitled ‘What are we Thinking?’ the animation by local artist Isabel Garrett interprets the brief of bringing London and the world back into the spaces at LSE. You can see the video (with sound) online

In a few weeks we will be adding all of the first year IR318 videos to the screens (with subtitles) in order to celebrate the students work from the innovative project delivered by IR with the support of LTI.

In addition to feedback from students we will be conducting observations of how people use the spaces.  Let us know what you think of the spaces, all completed surveys will be entered into a draw to win Amazon vouchers.



October 26th, 2016|Learning Spaces, Projects, Teaching & Learning, Tools & Technologies|Comments Off on New learning spaces in Clement House|

New Teaching & Learning Spaces at the LSE: an Evaluation

In the 2015-2016 academic year, staff at LTI undertook an evaluation of the impact of new LSE classrooms on teaching and learning. The findings and lessons learnt can be found in our final report. Here are the highlights.


As part of a “comprehensive review and rethinking of what space means to teaching and learning” at the LSE, new spaces were redeveloped and opened for the 2015-16 academic year. Staff at LTI were involved in the design of 5 different types of space, along with Estates, the Teaching and Learning Centre and AV services. Among them:

  • an overflow dining facility transformed into a medium-sized lecture space
  • three collaborative computer rooms to replace those lost in the demolition of three campus buildings
  • an old parish hall turned into a three-level teaching building with three classrooms designed to accomodate mixed-mode teaching thanks to their cabaret-style layout

Although these classrooms are very different to each other in terms of design, purpose and capacity, they were developed as a result of the common intention to “experiment with modern, pedagogically-sound approaches to learning space design”. LTI’s report investigates the impact that these new spaces have had on teaching and learning.






Click on the pictures for a description of each space and the design intentions


One finding common to all three types of space is that they did have an impact on both teachers and students, mostly through the furniture and its arrangement as well as the atmosphere created.


Findings for the three types of rooms highlight that the layout played an important part in rethinking the teacher/students and student/student dynamic.

The layout for the Parish Hall rooms was found to “enable seamless transition from teacher-led to student-centred learning”, allow teachers to move around the room, and encourage student discussion thanks to the informal feel, praised by a vast majority of respondents. Many positive comments were made by teachers on the rooms’ arrangement:

“The fact that the tables are laid out like that does make you think: well, how should I use them?”

“It was a really good class set up for group discussion”

“Frontal lecture arrangements (row layout) where everyone watches the teacher are a lot more impersonal. It doesn’t matter where you sit because there is no emphasis on social interaction. PAR by contrast, with those collaborative tables, recognizes every person as part of the arrangement.”

Teacher feedback for the collaborative computer rooms also indicates that the layout “would send a clear message to students, namely that the course is likely to involve collaboration“. Unfortunately, factors such as a lack of space and screens hindering conversations across table somewhat reduced the impact.

“So in terms of their [students] collaboration, I think that as soon as they enter the TW2 room they know what is expected of them. So intuitively, it is a suggestion to them that this is a joint class work type of exercise.”

Finally, the report suggest that the main intention for the lecture space to “create a layout where teachers feel close to students and vice versa has largely been met”


The choice of furniture type combined with the layout and aesthetic considerations contributed to create a favourable atmosphere for students and teachers to work in.

Both lecture and Parish Hall spaces were identified by a great number of students as being a nice space to study in, with the two main adjectives used in the surveys being “bright” and “comfortable”. They also found the environment for the PC classrooms “visually bright and appealing”.

Some teachers also recognised the importance of the atmosphere set by the space, mostly with the Parish Hall rooms:

“I feel a lot more optimistic in that room, you feel like you are in a professional atmosphere, there a high ceiling, light – it helps my morale.”

“I also like the fact that it’s airy and light that’s important. It’s important in term of how you feel, how the students feel in the classroom.”

“PAR [the Parish Hall rooms] recognizes every person as part of the arrangement which makes it more homely in a way”


More information about the rooms, findings and our analysis can be found in the full report: Teaching spaces design and development at LSE: An evaluation of impact on teaching and learning

LTI is planning to carry out evaluation of two more spaces in the next academic year:

  • 3 collaborative seminar rooms
  • a modern language learning space/open-access PC room

Findings from this overall evaluation will inform the design of new spaces to be developed at the LSE as part of the School’s comprehensive review and rethinking of what space means to teaching and learning.

We would love to hear your feedback, please use the comments below or email LTI to share your thoughts!

June 8th, 2016|Learning Spaces, Projects, Reports & Papers, Teaching & Learning|Comments Off on New Teaching & Learning Spaces at the LSE: an Evaluation|

SADL Celebration: ending term on a digital high

SADL SeniorsLast week saw the official end of the SADL Programme for 2015/16 and students and staff got together in the Studio in the Saw Swee Hock to report on their group projects, be presented with their certificates and prizes for the best blog posts and generally let their hair down before the end of term.

The evening started with each of the three groups discussing the research project they had been working on together since Michaelmas Term. Each group was supervised by three of our Senior Ambassadors and the projects included:

  • how to improve learning spaces at LSE
  • how to improve assessment and feedback and
  • how to improve peer support.

The groups were given complete freedom in how they wanted to interpret the question and how to present their findings, however they were supported by the Seniors. The first group led by Djelila, Simran and Vikki were tackling the question of how to improve learning spaces at LSE. This is a really important question and the group highlighted some of the issues with the current learning spaces at LSE and how they felt they could be improved.

The next presentation was from Eugene, Katie and Chandra were investigating how to improve assessment and feedback at LSE. Again lots of issues were raised and the students had carried out a survey to gather the opinions from their peers about how improvements could be made.

Finally we heard from the group led by Geteesh, Chantel and Melissa who explored how peer support might be improved. The group talked about what peer support is and had lots of suggestions for how technology and face to face contact can build a peer network.

Rebecca, Djelila and Ella Throughout SADL we encouraged students to blog about their experiences rewarding them with Amazon vouchers for their blog posts. We also had a prize for the best blog post over the course of the year and two runners up. We were looking for a reflective piece of writing, that emphasised digital literacy and shared ideas with others. The blog posts were judged by Valerie Brese who was a SADL student last year, Sierra Williams from LSE’s Impact Blog and Heather Dawson from the Library.

We are delighted to announce the winner was Ella Sun for her blog post on OneNote or Evernote. The two runners up were Rebecca Quinn for her post on referencing, no longer a pain in academia and Djelila Delior who wrote about how SADL got me hired, who is also one of our Senior Ambassadors.

Congratulations to all the SADL students this year. They will all receive a statement on their PDAM record for their contribution to the programme and be eligible to apply to be a Senior Ambassador next year to help shape the programme.

Blog post written by Jane Secker (Digital Literacy and Copyright Advisor) and is taken from the SADL blog

Students and digital literacy: have your say!

Student Ambassadors for Digital Literacy (SADL) is an exciting programme of workshops for LSE undergraduates to develop their digital and information skills in areas such as finding and evaluating information, using technology and apps for academic study, managing and sharing information and managing their digital footprint. The programme’s feature most favoured by all Ambassadors to date is how to manage a digital identity as it has shown to have a great impact on their employability. Find out more by listening to Ambassadors talking about their experiences. We have 45 students from across the school taking part in this exciting programme of workshops this year.

The programme is led by LTI and the Library and the team includes 9 Senior Ambassadors, who completed the programme in previous years and help to teach the programme. The Seniors are also leading three projects to investigate the following questions:

  • How can we improve learning spaces at LSE – both virtual and physical?
  • How can we improve assessment and feedback at LSE and what role does technology play?
  • How can students provide peer support for each other?

We need your help and this is your opportunity to have your say! Over the coming month the ambassadors will be carrying out some research to answer these questions, which may include asking you to fill in a survey or take part in a short interview! If you are approached by a SADL student, then please help them out! And if you want to find out more about the programme and see what they have been up to then visit our blog. The findings from the three projects will be presented to staff and other students at the SADL Celebration event which will be held in the Students Union on 16th March. If you would like to contribute to any of the projects then please email Sonia Gomes (s.gomes@lse.ac.uk)

January 26th, 2016|Announcements, Assessment, Digital Literacy, Learning Spaces, Tools & Technologies|Comments Off on Students and digital literacy: have your say!|

‘NetworkED 2020: The London University’

What if all of London were a networked University?

What do we do when we gate-keep our spaces?  

What if everyone could work in everyone else’s spaces?

What if there were no tiny little islands in London?

Or, in a University?

Digital can be a mechanism for breaking down barriers-learning spaces are digital and physical. Let’s talk about the present, and see what it might tell us about what’s possible in the future of teaching and learning.

Introducing Dr Donna Lanclos

Donna Twitter AvatarDonna Lanclos is an anthropologist working with ethnographic methods and analysis to inform and change policy in higher education, in particular in and around libraries, learning spaces, and teaching and learning practices. She is Associate Professor for Anthropological Research at the J. Murrey Atkins Library at UNC Charlotte.

Her research includes how students and staff engage with the nature of information and knowledge, how ethnography and anthropology can be used as tools in academic development and can influence policy and practice in higher education, physical and virtual spaces in academia, and how technology impacts learning, teaching and research. She collaborates with librarians, engineers, anthropologists, sociologists, education technology professionals, architects, and designers.

Dr. Lanclos has conducted anthropological research on academic practice in libraries not only at UNC Charlotte, but also University College, London. She collaborates with colleagues in the US and the UK investigating the nature of learning landscapes and academic taskscapes, so as to better contextualize the behaviors that take place and problems that erupt in library spaces. She has conducted workshops for professional development at Imperial College, Kingston University, NUI Galway, Parsons the New School (NYC), and Carnegie Mellon University.

Details about this work and other projects can be found at www.donnalanclos.com

Dr Lanclos will be presenting a NetworkED seminar ‘NetworkED 2020:  The London University’ which will discuss these themes on Wednesday 16 September at 3pm in Parish Hall, room PAR.2.03.  The event is free to attend and places can be reserved on Eventbrite

Tweet your questions and join the debate #LSENetED


The recording of the event can be found on the LTI Youtube channel

Learning Commons Competition: The results are in!


Last month LSE students submitted their entries for our design competition. The panel, made of members from the library, IMT, estates and the student union selected their best entries and here are the results :

  • First Prize (iPad Air 2) : James Dunn
  • Highly Commended Entry (£100 Amazon voucher) : Portia Roelofs
  • Other commended entries and students who submitted their ideas via our online survey received a £10 Amazon voucher


James was awarded his prize by Nicola Wright from Library Services and Nick Deyes from IMT

The objective of the competition, open to all LSE students, was to “Create a modern and engaging environment for the Library lower ground floor that caters for contemporary and future study requirements.”

The panel selected their best entries according to the following criteria:

  1. Functionality of the new space design
  2. Quality and accuracy of the rationale
  3. Originality, innovation and imagination
  4. Considerations of limitations, explicit or otherwise

As a member of the panel explained, James’ design was selected because he “has done a masterful job addressing the multiple functions required of a space like the LSE library lower ground floor.” His design was praised for taking into account students’ explicit needs as well as anticipating less obvious ones : “This design would transform the space by giving students more of what they want, and a great deal of what they did not even know they were missing.

Below are some elements from James’ design, as well as a plan of the current layout:

As he himself put it, the rationale behind his design “is a simple one : transforming a large box-like space into a more humane, functional and beautiful study area without diverging too far from the aesthetic of the rest of the building’s interior”. James’ focus was on increasing the number of study spaces by using vertical space. Accessibility, light, sound, charging points and sustainability were also key to his design and choice of equipment and materials

Portia’s work was also highly commended, in particular her idea of fitting the space with “spiral study huts”:



Congratulations to the winners and thank you to all the students who took part in the competition or answered our online survey! LTI will be happy to answer any comments or further questions on the competition. Please email them to lti.support@lse.ac.uk

May 7th, 2015|Announcements, innovation, Learning Spaces, Projects|Comments Off on Learning Commons Competition: The results are in!|

Next Generation Learning Commons Competition

Next Generation Learning Commons competitionDo you have ideas and suggestions on improving the students’ experience at the library?

Would you like to have your say in the changes happening there? 

Would you like to feed your ideas into a project to redesign the lower ground floor space?

Do you want to win an iPad or Amazon vouchers?

If you answered “yes” to any of the above, then this competition is for you !

LSE Library and IMT are holding a student competition from Thursday, February 26th to Friday, March 20th. The objective of the competition is to propose ideas to create a modern and engaging environment for the Library lower ground floor that meets students’ contemporary and future needs.

The winning design will receive an iPad Air 2 worth £479 and you will also get the opportunity to boost your CV and to feed your ideas into the design phase.

-> Have a look at the full competition details to find out how to enter.
-> No time? Just send us your ideas!
If you have ideas but no time to enter the design competition then you can also send us your ideas about how you would reorganise the space. The best suggestions will receive Amazon vouchers. Submit here !