This is a comprehensive list of questions you can use to shape the planning for your learning space.
You can pick and choose the questions/sections that are relevant to your site/organisation – it is unlikely that every single question will be relevant but we hope that the list will provide a good starting point at the outset.
Planning your space
- Do you have a specialist learning member of staff from the Senior Management Team leading the development of your learning space?
- Do you have the support of a trustee with responsibility for learning?
- Who are the internal stakeholders for the learning space?
- What is your learning service’s mission and values?
- How does learning take place in your site?
- What is your, and your service’s, learning pedagogy?
- Does your consultation include those who plan and those who deliver your learning programme?
- Who are your current audiences for the space, including staff?
- Who might be your future audiences for the space?
- Can you prioritise your audiences?
- Have you planned appropriate types of consultation with your identified audiences to ensure they are comfortable giving feedback?
- Why will your audiences visit the space? What do they want to do in the learning space?
- How do your audiences want to feel in your learning spaces?
- What specific intellectual and physical needs does each audience have? Are some learning styles preferable and/or more appropriate than others?
Inspiration visits to other sites
- Have you visited other sites for inspiration, and taken stakeholders such as architects with you?
- Can you include expansion space for trunking and wiring?
- Can you easily change equipment like projectors or monitors?
Working with architects
- Have your architects observed a learning session?
- Are you confident they understand the needs of your users?
- Do you have a good, strong, collaborative working relationship with your architect?
Develop your brief
- What is a typical ‘day in the life’ of your learning space in term time, weekends and holidays?
- What will the typical visit by a group involve, from start to finish?
- What programme and types of activities do you want to deliver in your space?
- What equipment, furniture, lighting and storage do you need for each activity?
- How will all types of user be able to develop a familiarity with and feel ‘ownership’ of the space?
- Would you know which organisation you are in, if you were transported into your learning space without seeing the rest of the site?
Location & dimensions
- Are each of your spaces at least 98m2?
- Does the location and layout of the space suit different ages and physical abilities of all users?
- Can you locate your learning staff office next to the learning space?
- Is your learning work visible to other visitors – e.g. are there windows in to the spare or is the work produced there displayed for everyone to see?
- How will audiences find your space?
- Can you incorporate more storage?
- If your audience includes children and young people with additional needs, have you allowed extra space for their equipment (e.g. air tanks, medications, wheelchairs, etc.)?
- Do you have a lighting plan for your space?
- Can you adjust the lighting for bright task based work or lower level creative activity?
- Can you blackout your space?
- Can you spot light activity?
- Can you spot light two speakers at once?
- Do you have an acoustic plan for your space?
- Have you considered measures to dampen noise in the space?
- Can you sound-proof your space or ensure ambient noise does not rise above 35 decibels?
Heating & ventilation
- Do you have windows that open?
- Have you planned for how you will cool down your space?
- Are your heating controls for the learning space separate from the rest of the building?
- Will your flooring be washable and easy to keep clean?
Wall space & display
- Do you have one clear wall where you can display work or project on to?
- Have you planned how you will attach displays to the wall?
- Could 3D objects be available as handling collections?
- Could there be opportunities to display other 3D objects or items (vitrines, display cases, etc)?
- Does your wet area include at least one sink with double-bore drainage and a raked drainer?
- Are the fittings, furniture, equipment and materials used compatible with the range of users?
- Is any furniture light weight and stackable? 53. Can you store away all of your furniture at once?
Technology & digital
- Do you have enough power points for all the electrical equipment you might use in the room to be in use at the same time, plus additional plugs for your visitors’ equipment?
- Do you have plug points on or next to workspaces and surfaces?
- Do you have mobile reception/Wi-Fi in your space?
- Do you have enough bandwidth for 30 devices to use the Internet at the same time?
- Where will visitors’ coats and bags be stored?
- Will visitors be able to access bags during their visit, e.g. to retrieve lunch or money for the shop?
- Where will visitors eat their lunch?
- Where will visitors wash their hands?
- Can you install a water fountain?
- Can visitors buy food or drinks nearby your lunchroom?
- How will your visitors dispose of waste?
- Are there sufficient toilets near the learning space?
- Have you considered including family facilities and gender-neutral toilets?
- Can toilets be wholly or partly designed and fitted-out specifically for children, if they are your primary user group, or will a standard fit-out work for all users?
- Can toilets be exclusively for those using the learning space, thereby addressing child protection issues?
- Will toilets be used regularly through the day or only for a short span of time? Will they cope with short periods of heavy use, e.g. 40 children in the space of a 15-minute break?
- Can you provide adult change facilities for adults with disabilities?
Plan how you will run your space
- Do you have a management, cleaning and maintenance plan for your space?
- What system will you have for room booking? Which staff and audiences will have priority?
- Have you defined what is essential and cannot be compromised on in your brief?
- Have you defined what could be set aside or abandoned in your brief without jeopardising your priorities or principles?
- Do you know what elements of your brief could be introduced or reinstated in the future?