LAB FOR LEARNERS: Co-Creating New Learning Environments through Interdisciplinary Co-Design

LAB FOR LEARNERS: Co-Creating New Learning Environments through Interdisciplinary Co-Design

Students from London Royal College of Art (RCA), Aalto University and University of Helsinki have created together new vistas for the changing educational landscape. The two-week workshop between 25th August and 5th September brought together 14 students with different educational backgrounds over a project called Lab for Learners. They spent the first week in Otaniemi, Espoo and the second in London. The main tenet of the workshop was to come up with future guidelines and potential solutions to emerging needs in education and Third Millennium skills.

Case: Tapiolan koulu, Espoo
As a case, the workshop used Tapiolan koulu, a junior high school in the city of Espoo, Finland. Tapiolan koulu is going through a transformation in terms of study facilities as the staff and students are temporarily working in barracks due to a massive renovation in the main school building. This in-between state was used as a starting point for emerging educational solutions and creative, embedded knowledge practices that could be studied and implemented during the transformation phase. One of the guiding principles could be stated as space changes behaviour, but also behaviour changes space.

Different Disciplinary Backgrounds – Different Viewpoints & Solutions
The students from service design and industrial design (RCA), architecture and engineering (Aalto) and educational psychology (University of Helsinki) formed teams to have a joint effort and an exchange of ideas to be eventually formulated as design architectural proposals for future school design and pedagogical development covering the following broader themes:

  • The teachers and their knowledge sharing and further education practices;
  • The classroom environment and its future developments as well as the integration of school as part of the whole community;
  • The spaces and places in-between formal teaching facilities and classrooms, expanding also outside the school building.

The groups were informed and guided through valuable interventions by professor Jarmo Suominen (MIT, Aalto), professor Antti Ahlava (Aalto), professor Kirsti Lonka (University of Helsinki) and professor Stephen Heppell (Camilo José Cela, Madrid & Bournemouth, UK), all experienced scholars and discussants of design and education.

Interactive Results Workshop for the Stakeholders
The results of the workshop will be presented for the teachers of Tapiolan koulu in October 2014, and the presentation will be streamed to London RCA with local students participating in the discussion and presentation of future prospects and opportunities.

The RYM Indoor Environment consortium will be visible through the participation of professor Kirsti Lonka (principal investigator in task 1.1 ‘Learning Environment’, WP 4) and her PhD candidate Niclas Sandström who participated in the workshop and works in the RYM project. In addition, a scientific publication on the co-creative and co-design process is foreseen for further dissemination of valuable insights that were gained in the intensive collaboration.

Contributing students: Ed Tam, Charlyne Lefebvre-Paillé, Valentina Lopez, Holly Mahoney, Patamawadee Ngamkajonviwat, Xiaoxue Dong, Sheng-Hui Hsu, Lynn Chung, Niclas Sandström, Tuomas Perttula, Riikka Manninen, Meri Vainio, Jami Sarnikorpi, Pouria Khademolhosseini.

Facilitating members of staff: Jaana Tarma (RCA), Tommy Lindgren (Aalto), Dan Phillips (RCA).


RYM / Research Group of Educational Psychology, University of Helsinki