The key role of Xplora in the educational concept of Avans University

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Conference: Learning Centres: vers un modèle à la française?, Médiat Rhône-Alpes et Université Claude Bernard, Lyon 2010
By: Ellen Simons

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The key role of Xplora in the educational concept of Avans University

  1. 1. 7 december 2010LEARNING CENTRES : VERS UN MODELE A LA FRANCAISE ?1The Key Role of Xplora in theEducational Conceptof Avans UniversityEllen SimonsLearning and Innovation Centre2010
  2. 2. Learning and Innovation CentreLEARNING CENTRES : VERS UN MODELE A LA FRANCAISE ? 7 december 2010autonomy(= “la loi Pécresse” 2009)has been reality in the Netherlandssince 1986
  3. 3. Learning and Innovation CentreLEARNING CENTRES : VERS UN MODELE A LA FRANCAISE ? 7 december 2010Dutch universities:more than 20 years of experiencein creating their own policies as to crucial fields like:•Staffing•Finance•Educational approach•Facilities and buildings•…..
  4. 4. Learning and Innovation CentreLEARNING CENTRES : VERS UN MODELE A LA FRANCAISE ? 7 december 2010 4Avans University of Applied Sciences• 3 locations• 24.000 students• 103 bachelor programs• 5 master programs• 1 Learning andInnovation Center• 22 research groups• 2.000 staffBredaDen BoschTilburg
  5. 5. Learning and Innovation CentreLEARNING CENTRES : VERS UN MODELE A LA FRANCAISE ? 7 december 2010Concerning the 2009 Frenchreport on learning centersFour observations based on ourown experiencewith a learning centerover the last 5 years
  6. 6. Learning and Innovation CentreLEARNING CENTRES : VERS UN MODELE A LA FRANCAISE ? 7 december 2010Observation 1• Facilities and buildings should be designed basedon the chosen policy of learning and teaching
  7. 7. Learning and Innovation CentreLEARNING CENTRES : VERS UN MODELE A LA FRANCAISE ? 7 december 2010Observation 2• “Learning and understanding”does happen (or not) in the student’s head• The university’s task is to actively stimulatethis process• The traditional way of whole class teaching isonly one out of many ways to make thishappen
  8. 8. Learning and Innovation CentreLEARNING CENTRES : VERS UN MODELE A LA FRANCAISE ? 7 december 2010Observation 3• Does the teaching-concept change? change facilities accordingly!• Does the teaching-concept change fundamentally? change the ‘experience’ by changing the facilitiesin an architectural striking way!
  9. 9. Learning and Innovation CentreLEARNING CENTRES : VERS UN MODELE A LA FRANCAISE ? 7 december 2010Xplora Breda9
  10. 10. Learning and Innovation CentreLEARNING CENTRES : VERS UN MODELE A LA FRANCAISE ? 7 december 2010Observation 4• But do not copy other universities’ successfulchoices blindly:your students may have different needsbecause their situation is different• (Example: experience Avans university)
  11. 11. Learning and Innovation CentreLEARNING CENTRES : VERS UN MODELE A LA FRANCAISE ? 7 december 2010Example:experience Avans universityBasic needs Avans students proved to be different fromSheffield students•Characterization Dutch students:– 70% still live at home– have excellent ICT facilities at home•Outcome– Avans Learning Centre never had nighttime openinghours– Only low interest for weekend opening hours
  12. 12. Learning and Innovation CentreLEARNING CENTRES : VERS UN MODELE A LA FRANCAISE ? 7 december 2010Traditional education
  13. 13. Learning and Innovation CentreLEARNING CENTRES : VERS UN MODELE A LA FRANCAISE ? 7 december 2010Modern education
  14. 14. Learning and Innovation CentreLEARNING CENTRES : VERS UN MODELE A LA FRANCAISE ? 7 december 2010 14The influence of the learningenvironment“We know that space can have a significant impacton teaching and learning. Exactly how we bringtogether space, technology, and pedagogy willcontinue to evolve.”Diane G. Oblinger, Space as a change agent in Learning Spaces,Educause, 2006“Spaces are themselves agents forchange. Changed spaces will changepractice.”JISC, Designing Spaces for Effective Learning: Aguide to 21st century learning space design, 2006
  15. 15. Learning and Innovation CentreLEARNING CENTRES : VERS UN MODELE A LA FRANCAISE ? 7 december 2010Consequences for Library• Adequate resources• Library staff becomespart of educationalprocess• Library must changeinto a rich learningenvironment
  16. 16. Learning and Innovation CentreLEARNING CENTRES : VERS UN MODELE A LA FRANCAISE ? 7 december 2010Vision on learning and teachingis leading• Connecting people:student – teacher – professionalfield• Recognising diversity• Creating knowledge• Establishing a dynamiclearning environmentphysical and virtual16
  17. 17. Learning and Innovation CentreLEARNING CENTRES : VERS UN MODELE A LA FRANCAISE ? 7 december 2010 17From library toThe New Learning Environment
  18. 18. Learning and Innovation CentreLEARNING CENTRES : VERS UN MODELE A LA FRANCAISE ? 7 december 2010 18
  19. 19. Learning and Innovation CentreLEARNING CENTRES : VERS UN MODELE A LA FRANCAISE ? 7 december 2010Xplora visitors per year 2007-200919
  20. 20. Learning and Innovation CentreLEARNING CENTRES : VERS UN MODELE A LA FRANCAISE ? 7 december 2010 20Positioning of the Learning centre• Just a facility or a key element in the institution’s vision onteaching and learning?
  21. 21. Learning and Innovation CentreLEARNING CENTRES : VERS UN MODELE A LA FRANCAISE ? 7 december 2010 21Facility or Strategic instrument?“A learning space should be able to motivate learners andpromote learning as an activity, support collaborative as wellas formal practice, provide a personalised and inclusiveenvironment, and be flexible in the face of changing needs.”JISC
  22. 22. Learning and Innovation CentreLEARNING CENTRES : VERS UN MODELE A LA FRANCAISE ? 7 december 2010 22Key element in strategic vision:“What is important is that designs of physical spaces are linked tothe institution’s strategic vision for teaching and learning, andthat this is articulated in every detail of the design and shared withall stakeholders, including learners.”JISC
  23. 23. Learning and Innovation CentreLEARNING CENTRES : VERS UN MODELE A LA FRANCAISE ? 7 december 2010Positioning of Xplora in AvansUniversityXplora as part ofLearning and Innovation Centre:•Provides an integrated learningenvironment (physical and virtual)•Advisory role towards schools on thesubject of educational programs
  24. 24. Learning and Innovation CentreLEARNING CENTRES : VERS UN MODELE A LA FRANCAISE ? 7 december 2010Organizational consequences• Position: from side-line to centre• New role: information specialist• Role of information specialistcomparable to educational officer• Library merged into Learning andInnovation Centre
  25. 25. Learning and Innovation CentreLEARNING CENTRES : VERS UN MODELE A LA FRANCAISE ? 7 december 2010Partner to education• Strong contacts with school faculty• Working-relations between LearningCentre and schools must be built andmaintained• Important role for informationspecialist
  26. 26. Learning and Innovation CentreLEARNING CENTRES : VERS UN MODELE A LA FRANCAISE ? 7 december 2010The New Way• Contact-persons for each school• A pro-active approach• Subject-teams• Close cooperation witheducational officers• User research and feedbackgroups
  27. 27. Learning and Innovation CentreLEARNING CENTRES : VERS UN MODELE A LA FRANCAISE ? 7 december 2010Consequences for Xplora Staff• Relationship to student changes• Relationship to teacher changes• Different competences needed• Special staff training-programme
  28. 28. Learning and Innovation CentreLEARNING CENTRES : VERS UN MODELE A LA FRANCAISE ? 7 december 2010Learning Centre Staff 2005-2009• New job descriptions set up with team members (2005)• Reorganization (July/October 2005)• Board approval of staff formation plan 2005-2008(September 2005)New job descriptionsIncrease of staff in 2006/2007 of 18 fte’s (35 fte’s  53fte’s) (opening Xplora’s in 2006 and 2007)• Training program for all staff (November 2005-today)
  29. 29. Learning and Innovation CentreLEARNING CENTRES : VERS UN MODELE A LA FRANCAISE ? 7 december 2010Training programme 2006-2010• Training programma library school: wiki’s, weblogs,vodcast/podcast, google-scholar/printing, digital collectiondevelopment, search engines, digital rights management ,project management etc.)• advisory skills• educational knowledge• culture shift from control-directed to student-directed, result-oriented and customer-directed• E-learning• Advisory skills and negotiating techniques• Broader knowledge of the learning environment• English• Web 2.029
  30. 30. Learning and Innovation CentreLEARNING CENTRES : VERS UN MODELE A LA FRANCAISE ? 7 december 2010Near Future 2010-2012• Because of new services afurther improvements of theXplora’s buildings• Expansion Xplora Den Bosch• New “Engineering” Xplora inBreda
  31. 31. Learning and Innovation CentreLEARNING CENTRES : VERS UN MODELE A LA FRANCAISE ? 7 december 2010Conclusions (1):Student surveys 2008-2010: 8.000 responses/year• Primary use for group work and pc-applications• High occupancy rate• Environment described as attractiveand inviting• Service level judged as high• High demand of teacher presence• Wish for more PCs and more outlets• Wish for more workspaces for quietstudy
  32. 32. Learning and Innovation CentreLEARNING CENTRES : VERS UN MODELE A LA FRANCAISE ? 7 december 2010Conclusion (2): Library merged intoLearning and Innovation CentreMutual benefit:• “Library staff” have moreappreciation for educationalprocesses• Educational officers haveimproved understanding ofthe relationship betweeninformation and knowledge
  33. 33. Learning and Innovation CentreLEARNING CENTRES : VERS UN MODELE A LA FRANCAISE ? 7 december 2010Conclusion (3): General• Xplora is widely known even outsidethe professional field• Xplora is a highly successful concept(1,4 million visitors in 2009)• Staff involvement and trainingimportant• Continuous improvement• Student population increases from19.000 to 24.000 students sinceopening new buildings in 2006
  34. 34. Learning and Innovation CentreLEARNING CENTRES : VERS UN MODELE A LA FRANCAISE ? 7 december 2010Observation 1• Facilities and buildings should be designed basedon the chosen policy of learning and teaching
  35. 35. Learning and Innovation CentreLEARNING CENTRES : VERS UN MODELE A LA FRANCAISE ? 7 december 2010Observation 2• “Learning and understanding”does happen (or not) in the student’s head• The university’s task is to actively stimulatethis process• The traditional way of whole class teaching isonly one out of many ways to make thishappen
  36. 36. Learning and Innovation CentreLEARNING CENTRES : VERS UN MODELE A LA FRANCAISE ? 7 december 2010Observation 3• Does the teaching-concept change? change facilities accordingly!• Does the teaching-concept change fundamentally? change the ‘experience’ by changing the facilitiesin an architectural striking way!
  37. 37. Learning and Innovation CentreLEARNING CENTRES : VERS UN MODELE A LA FRANCAISE ? 7 december 2010Observation 4• But do not copy other universities’ successfulchoices blindly:your students may have different needsbecause their situation is different
  38. 38. Learning and Innovation CentreLEARNING CENTRES : VERS UN MODELE A LA FRANCAISE ? 7 december 2010Further Information:• Ellen SimonsE-mail: pmg.simons@avans.nl• Video “Xplora, Discover it yourself”:http://www.surfmedia.nl/app/video/QV1wz15xVfVrqwzfstEEcDNT/play?format_id=6pyORf6BDHfvNVuLSXWGI4Cj&mode=url• Article : The New Learning Environment: Impact onStaff and Students / Ellen SimonsLiber Quarterly, october 2010http://liber.library.uu.nl/publish/articles/000507/article.pdf

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