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A conceptual framework to identify spatial implications of new ways of learning in higher education

Ronald Beckers (Faculty of Economics and Management, HAN University of Applied Sciences, Nijmegen, The Netherlands; AND Faculty of Engineering Technology, University of Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands)
Theo van der Voordt (Faculty of Architecture, Delft University of Technology, Delft, The Netherlands; AND Center for People and Buildings, Delft, The Netherlands)
Geert Dewulf (Faculty of Engineering Technology , University of Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands)


ISSN: 0263-2772

Article publication date: 2 February 2015




The purpose of this paper is to explore the spatial implications of new learning theories and the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) in higher education.


Based on a review of the literature, a theoretical framework has been developed that visualises the spatial implications of developments in higher education. To further explore spatial configurations that support changes in education, a comparative floor plan analysis was carried out at four Dutch institutes of higher education.


The findings show that the traditional classroom space is progressively being replaced by a variety of learning settings to support contemporary learning activities.

Practical implications

The research findings contribute to a better understanding of the alignment of learning space to the evolving needs that come from new ways of learning, supported by advanced ICT, and can be used to support space planning in higher education.


This paper builds upon findings from different disciplines: Facilities Management and Corporate Real Estate Management (suitability of floor plans) and Theory of Education (the pedagogical approaches and pedagogical assumptions those floor plans convey).



The authors would like to thank HAN University of Applied Sciences for funding and supporting the research and Karin Janssen for the illustrations.


Beckers, R., van der Voordt, T. and Dewulf, G. (2015), "A conceptual framework to identify spatial implications of new ways of learning in higher education", Facilities, Vol. 33 No. 1/2, pp. 2-19.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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