Maximizing Creative Problem-Solving and Collaboration through the Physical Components of the Classroom
Traditionally, discussions on brainstorming and collaborative learning center on how the facilitator/teacher manages the dialogue and conversations within a group to gain the greatest advantage from the collective thought process. Seldom are the physical workspace configurations and components they contain seen as a key contributor to this process. Nevertheless, successes in brainstorming and collaborative learning are often a function of both the facilitator’s methods and the physical environment in which they are conducted. Classroom environments that accommodate multiple channels of information flow and are flexible to adjust with individuals as the goals for collaboration change will likely foster more productive collaborative output from students. This paper and presentation will explore how changes lighting, varying computer accommodations, constructive wall-spaces, environmental video, seating heights, and workspace arrangements each contribute to the success of collective idea generation, evaluation, and decision-making within the classroom environment. Specific examples will be illustrated through a product development studio course.
Keywords: Design Education, Creative Environments, Brainstorming, Creative Collaboration, Design Studio
Assistant Professor, Department of Industrial Design, Auburn University