Between unsafe spaces and the comfort zone? Exploring the impact of learning environments on ‘doing’ learning

Jos Boys

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

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This paper explores how learning can be understood as a liminal space or transitional journey from one way of knowing to another; and where ‘doing’ learning is as much about being inculcated into the un-noticed rules and conventions of education itself as it is about developing understanding of the content of a subject discipline. By starting from Meyer and Land’s notion of threshold concepts and from ethnomethodological approaches which explore the ‘problematic accomplishment’ of everyday social and spatial practices, this paper considers how both new e-learning environments and more traditional face-to-face settings intersect with, and impact on, our conventional routines for producing and recognizing learning. Through a case study of a design project with interior architecture students, it explores what happened when attempts were made to inculcate a complex threshold concept - offering an alternative understanding of the relationship between disability and architecture to ‘standard’ conventions of accessibility – in both the ‘normal’ studio environment and online, via a blog. The paper concludes by suggesting we need to understand much more about what kinds of unspoken social and spatial practices frame the learning process in different disciplines in order to explore how we can create effective liminal spaces for both teachers and learners.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusIn preparation - 5 Jun 2008
EventeLearning and Learning Environments for the future - Edge Hill University, Ormskirk, UK
Duration: 5 Jun 2008 → …


ConferenceeLearning and Learning Environments for the future
Period5/06/08 → …


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