Feature: What Are Learning Spaces? Tutors' Views

Compiled by Aezi Hani Abd Rashid (aezihani@gmail.com)

The creation of conducive learning spaces for learners is part and parcel of a tutors life. Tutors are responsible for facilitating the sharing of knowledge with learners in a positive learning environment. Let’s take a look at what our tutors have to say about learning spaces.

You will find that not everybody responds favourably to the same learning space. Usually, people think of the library as the ideal space to study. Apparently, the peace and quiet is conducive to studying. However, some may find it discomforting because of the presence of other library goers. These people prefer a different type of quiet: the solitude and privacy of their room and work desk.

And sometimes, peace and quiet can in fact prevent some people from learning. They need noise and the constant buzz of people to keep them energised. Otherwise, they tend to drift and doze off from sheer boredom. So you see, learning spaces are not objective realities out there in the real world but subjective constructs created by individual learners to suit their specific learning needs.

Assoc Prof Dr Fahrul Huyop
Johor Learning Centre

Parents of little children create learning spaces by means of cute little tables with chairs. This is to help children understand that learning is done at a specific place and time. As children grow and mature, their learning spaces tend to become more complicated and sophisticated.

For adult learners, the situation is somewhat different. Mental space is crucial as well. To ensure peace of mind, their families must be supportive and understanding by giving space to the learners to study without disturbance and distraction. Adult learners need to find out what works personally for them. One man’s meat is another man’s poison.

The ideal learning space could be anywhere: on the bed, on the mat, on the floor, in a quiet library, the serenity of reading under the shade of a tree, feeling the warm breeze stroking your face gently. When I was a student, I created my learning space by the lake, as there was ample light and shade, and most of all PEACE!

Anna Mary Perumal
Sibu Learning Centre

I see learning space as a period of reflection about what we have learned previously. We use this space to summarize the knowledge that we have gained so far and to assess our learning progress. There are many things that we can do to reinforce our understanding: activities to check our recall of salient points, group discussion to generate more ideas and refine them, etc. This way, our knowledge and learning will always be refreshed.

Zulhairi Zakariah
Melaka Learning Centre

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As a tutor, I believe that I can help learners to create learning spaces by:

Encouraging them to think independently by giving them short essay tests
Encouraging them to work as a group
Adding variety to the assignments and encouraging them to think from a different perspective
Ensuring that the tutorial room is always conducive for the learners
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