Exploring the Future of Learning

November 22, 2018

Originally published in Vietnam Investment Review (November 19-25, 2018)

Dan Levin, director of Southeast Asia at B+H Architects, shares with VIR his inside experiences on designing perfect teaching and studying spaces in the Forth Industrial Revolution.

What are the new trends for future learning environments?

How students learn is constantly changing. Pen and paper has long been replaced by smartphones, tablets and laptops with wireless access that allow for hands-on learning through immersive experiences. The teaching curriculum has been enhanced by the use of smart boards, touch screens and virtual reality tools that increase engagement and knowledge retention for students.

More and more, the boundaries are being blurred between how we teach and learn through face-to-face interactions versus through virtual experiences. In the process, we’re gaining a better understanding of how the two can work together.

Which unique designs can B+H bring to Vietnamese schools that meet the requirements of the Fourth Industrial Revolution?

Technology adds a dimension of flexibility to teaching by allowing learning to happen anytime and anyplace. When we’re working with portable technologies, there’s no limit to where, when and how we learn.

At B+H we’re asking ourselves: how can we design physical teaching spaces that can shift, change and morph based on the needs of the class? How can technology be used to personalize experiences for students, allowing them to learn at their own pace and in their own way?

When we add a dimension of spatial plasticity, we can create 24/7 learning spaces. What does this mean for the traditional school setting? How does the future of work change the way we look at our methods of teaching today? By taking a fresh approach to the design of our schools, the possibilities begin to explode.

Overall space planning for schools requires a strategic approach to accommodate formal and informal learning, and to further promote social interactions for students and staff.

In cases where there’s insufficient space, co-location is becoming increasingly popular. Co-location brings two schools together on a single campus to share amenities such as gyms and libraries. This pooling of resources extends to the sharing of spaces and can result in big wins, including additional playing fields, classrooms and even larger spaces.

Can you tell us about your unique educational projects throughout the world and in Vietnam in particular?

Living as vital community anchors, educational institutions can contribute to their local sustainability footprint.

Mohawk College’s Joyce Centre for Partnership & Innovation located in Canada is helping to build the Net- Zero Ontario of tomorrow.

This 92,000 square feet facility for engineering learning and sustainable performance will meet zero net waste, water, and energy targets and additionally generate energy via on-site renewables. The building itself will be a teaching tool for students and foster a “culture of awareness” around energy consumption, which students will carry on long after they graduate.

At B+H, we design educational institutions through close collaboration with our clients, stakeholders, and municipal decision-makers that shape communities and inspire people to engage in the preservation and evolution of their local culture.

We’ve delivered world-class facilities at the University of British Columbia and University of Toronto, the Yew Chung International School Pudong in Shanghai, the Canadian International School in Kunshan, China, the Canadian International School of Phnom Penh, and the National University Centre for Oral Health in Singapore.

Across Vietnam, we’re proud to be working with Nguyen Hoang Group on their various International Education City campuses to realise their bold vision of a new generation of educational campuses that think about education as an immersive lifelong journey.