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Open Space Learning

The CAPITAL Centre supported and encouraged open-space learning, an umbrella term which covers a 'workshop model' of teaching and learning. It includes – but is not limited to:

  • Enactive, kinaesthetic and experiential learning
  • Simulation/role play
  • Ethnodrama
  • Applied drama

Open-space learning includes any kind of learning in which the participants engage with their own physicality in a workshop environment.

CAPITAL’s pedagogic assertion was that open-space learning would bridge formal academic study with the practical, professional applications of theory in practice. Open-space learning avoids the ”banking” model of teaching where information is programmed into students by an omniscient teacher. Traditional physical hierarchies of the seminar or lecture room are disrupted. Teacher and student are empowered to create an atmosphere where learning takes place in the interactions with peers, teachers, and, not least, their own and others’ physicality. This is learning by discovery: experiential learning (Kolb 1984). Open-space learning helps students to develop and enhance ‘soft skills’ in areas such as responsibility, sociability, self-esteem and self-management. It addresses intelligences other than linguistic, and learning styles beyond the auditory (Gardner 1985). It enables a social constructivist approach to teaching and learning, introducing dialogic and experiential inquiry between teachers and learners as the means of actively discovering rather than passively receiving knowledge.

Warwick University’s CETLs encouraged the uses of enactment and performance in undergraduate learning across the University. Both the CAPITAL and Reinvention Centres established open experimental teaching spaces fostering the development of enactive and flexible modes of learning for students. The University also created a Teaching Grid, acting as a hub for the exchange of ideas and practices associated with creative and innovative learning, including a new open space for teaching experimentation.

CAPITAL’s innovative teaching and learning spaces at Millburn House were available to all departments across the University.

Gardner, H. (1985) Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences. New York: Basic

Kolb. David. A. (1984) Experiential Learning: Experience as the Source of Learning and Development. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall