As teaching styles shift, so does the design of lab learning spaces.

Spurred by technological advancement, science instruction for higher education has transformed over the last decade. And the greatest driving factor is flexible, collaborative spaces. Science teaching labs have been transformed to accommodate new approaches to how students conduct experimental work. Classrooms have become the greatest venues for change, reports Laboratory Design:

This transformation is evident in the shifted focus from a single-source teaching modality (teacher to student) to a more open learning-centric environment, where students often work in small groups to research topics and independently find solutions to a scientific query.

The magazine explores some of today’s life science teaching labs with an eye on comparing past and present modes of design. Skidmore College, for example, allows for significantly higher utilization of formal lab space. Spaces are designated for both independent and group study to suit a range of teaching (and learning) styles. Northwestern University took fume hood arrangement into heavy consideration to allow for better use of hood and prep areas during lab sessions. The result allows more room for smaller groups to break out during a lab session. The trend, it seems, is shifting to labs that align with a broad range of activities that leave room for both individual and collaborative learning.

Read more college and university lab design case studies in Laboratory News.