Transforming Our Space to Support 100% Active Learning

William Jeffries, Ph.D.
William Jeffries, Ph.D.

At a recent Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) national meeting I had the privilege of sharing the stage with my colleagues Dr. Kathryn Huggett, Assistant Dean and Teaching Academy Director and Jill Jemison, Chief Information Officer for Health Sciences.

As one of three schools selected to present an Innovation Educational Space Transformation, The Larner College of Medicine had the opportunity to showcase the dynamic work happening here on campus to support active learning. Our presentation was unique as we faced the challenge of working within our current physical footprint to adapt our space for this new purpose. Our co-presenters, University of Texas Dell Medical School and the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, built entirely new education buildings, which presented very different challenges and opportunities.

Creative Thinking
Our video presentation focused on the Larner Learning Commons, which co-locates learning activities and resources including the Teaching Academy, Instructional Technology, the Dana Medical Library and study space, along with the Larner Classroom. We also featured the Reardon Classroom and the Brickyard Quiet Study Space.

The opening of The Larner Learning Commons and these other spaces is a significant milestone in the College’s vision for a 100 percent active learning curriculum, and demonstrates the importance of physical space in supporting delivery of an outstanding medical education.

Our presentation showcased the importance of creative thinking and involving as many people as you can. Students, faculty, staff, administrators, physicians, IT, architects, and facilities personnel – everyone had good ideas to share and the best work came from this collaboration. The resulting ideas included:

  • New space was created for office suites, a production studio, two quiet study rooms, and a 25 percent increase in the number of seats in the library by moving books to online access and on-demand storage and adding unused adjacent space.
  • Space was “found” for a 24/7 swipe access quiet study space by converting an unheated, under-utilized hallway lounge.
  • “Walk up” work spaces were added to the concourse for computer use and socializing. The standing and seated areas take advantage of the large windows and campus views.

The AAMC meeting brought together some of the most inspired leaders, educators, and practitioners in academic medicine. Sharing information and ideas helps us all support learning and improve health care.

I invite you to watch the Innovative Space Transformation video to learn more.

Learn more about active learning at the Larner College of Medicine.

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