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• Volume 32, Number 2

December 2003-February 2004

for Higher Education

For an online version

of the journal, visit
An Assessment of Capital 5 This study finds a need for new capital projects to
include continuing. dedicated revenue streams for the
Budgeting Practices in Public project lifetime in order to avoid continuation of the
Higher Education current state of underfunded maintenance. especially
in light of growing needs for upgraded research
by Derrick Manns
equipment and space.

Creating Adaptive 12 A health professions building project at Central

Michigan University provides focus for a theoretical
Learning Environments and practical discussion of effective planning to
by Stephen J. Kopp, Linda Seestedt Stanford, optimize human. spatial. and digital connections
Kenneth Rohlfing, and Jonathan P.Kendall for learner-centered environments.

The High Cost of Building a 24 Higher education facilities seem to come at premium
cost, even taking into account that educational
Better University facilities tend to cost more. The authors argue that
by Donald J. Guckert and Jeri Ripley King this is due to appropriate and strategic high aspirations.

Indiana's Twenty-First Century 30 Indiana's 1Wenty-FirstCentury Scholars program effectively

meets the needs of high-risk and low-income students by
Scholars Program understanding the student's mind-set. providing mentoring
by Tamara L. Wandel relationships. being flexible with credit load minimums,
and utilizing alumni for student recruitment.

The Impact of Technologies 37 A study at the University of Washington called "listening

to the Leamer." asked students about their desirefor using
on Learning technology in coursework, and facult about current
by Kimberly Gustafson approaches/barriers. O1rriculawere developed that
intergrate education technology in a leamer-centered way.

Planning for Higher Education 1

Creating Adaptive
Learning Environments
A health professions building project at Central Michigan University provides focus for a
theoretical and practical discussion of effective planning to optimize human, spatial, and
digital connections for learner-centered environments.

by Stephen J. Kopp, linda Seestedt Stanford, Kenneth Rohlfing, and Jonathan P. Kendall

The Problem of Traditional Practices

in a Learner-Centered Environment

A casual walk through classrooms on many college campuses

would quickly reveal few substantive differences between
current classroom space designs and those found in colonial
times. Historically, assumptions made by university planners
regarding the design of instructional and learning spaces
have been predicated on faculty-centered instruction in the
oral tradition; that is, content delivery via lecture (Bransford,
Brown, and Cocking 2000; Weigel 2002). There has been
Stephen J. Kopp is the former founding relatively little attention given to questioning and validating
dean ofThe Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow
these assumptions and the standards that have historically
College of Health Professions at Central
guided the design of instructional spaces. Not surprisingly,
Michigan University and the current provost
the reciprocal influence that the traditional row-by-column
at Ohio University. He earned his Ph.D. from
the University of Illinois at Chicago and his seating design has had as a deterrent to innovative and
bachelor's degree from the University of alternative pedagogic strategies has been largely unrecognized
Notre Dame. He has authored and coauthored as well. Just as form profoundly influences function, these
more than 80 scientific, peer-reviewed de facto guide plates for instructional spaces have and
publications and presented numerous continue to reinforce conformity in pedagogic practices.
scholarly articles at regional, national, and
This disconnect continues to produce environments
international symposia. He has served on
misaligned for function while perpetuating designs supporting
numerous state and national scientific panels,
traditional, faculty-centered models of education that
advisory committees, and governing boards
and currently serves on the boards of the emphasize instructional discourse featuring a preponderance
Ohio Learning Network and OhioLiNK. of "listening is learning" methodologies (Oblinger and Rush
1997). Granted, the traditional teaching style of lecturing may
Coauthor biographies see page 23. be the best method for some students and certain subjects
but to presume that one method or place for learning is

12 December 2003-February 2004

Creating Adaptive Learning Environments

the only way (or the best way) to teach ignores compelling and a redesigning of learning spaces. Instead of perpetuating
evidence to the contrary (Wilson 1997). Moreover, these a role as knowledge and content dispensers, faculty will
designs have impeded advances in learner-centered need to reorient their knowledge expertise and transition
environments and instructional strategies that support and to function as designers and architects of learning
foster the active engagement of students in the generation, experiences; experiences that advance such attributes as
construction, analysis, application, internalization, and ordered and disciplined thinking, inquiry, and knowledge
augmentation of knowledge-based thought processes construction and transfer. These experiences will need to
and matrices.
During the last 50 years, traditional education practices, Students respond to the onslaught of infor-
which have presumed telling is teaching and listening is
mation by engaging in bulimic learning
learning, have been profoundly impacted by the explosion
of new knowledge. The response of many faculty members practices: cramming and purging.
to the rapidly expanding body of new knowledge and the
collateral compression in the half-life of prior knowledge be responsive to and engage multiple forms of intelligence
has been to cram and dispense more content into lecture and learning styles. Authenticating these experiences in
presentations (Paul and Elder 2001; Spence 2001). In an terms of the extent to which they advance learning and
attempt to cope with the ever-increasing onslaught of lead to the intended developmental outcomes is an implicit
information with seemingly little meaning or contextual part of this endeavor. Concepts such as the effectiveness
sense, students have responded by engaging in bulimic of operant learning strategies, the efficiency of learning
learning practices: cramming and purging. This largely experiences, learning assessment, and evidence-based
passive educational approach motivates and rewards practices are relatively new to education, especially higher
students who are proficient at memorizing and recalling education, but they are becoming increasingly more
information with little regard for their ability to think with prevalent expectations. In effect, learning environments
it. apply it, or transfer it to other contexts. Thus, these (e.g., classrooms) have become experimental laboratories,
students may receive higher grades, but, unfortunately, few and, as such, they need to function like laboratories
develop the capacity to think critically with the knowledge equipped with the resources needed to perform and adapt
and transfer or relate it to other relevant contexts. Fewer to well-designed learning experiments. Key elements involved
yet have gained an appreciation for the contexts in which in this transformational process and the reclassification of
the knowledge can be applied or misapplied. It should roles are highlighted in figure 1.This figure depicts the rela-
not be much of a surprise that these practices do little to tionships and integration viewed as essential to achieving
advance higher-order thinking, knowledge transfer, and the envisioned, learning-centric model of education. Key
synthesis (Lemke 2003; Weimer 2002). elements in this model include elevating the role of faculty
and students in the learning process; rethinking the
Strategic Considerations design of learning spaces and the reconceptualization of
instructional environments as experimental laboratories,
An integral part of contemporary reform efforts involves incubators, and test beds for ideas; and using immersive
restoring the active and interactive roles of faculty and strategies that empower and engage the learner and achieve
students in the learning process. Students must assume the outcomes outlined in the building programming objectives.
and the educational enterprise must permit a more dynamic Concepts like the ones described herein have been
and engaged role for students in the learning process as discussed elsewhere but rarely implemented because they
researchers and questioners of knowledge, engaged require major transformational change (Dolence and Norris
collaborators and critical thinkers in the learning process, 1995; JointTask Force on Student Learning 1998; National
formulators of ideas, synthesizers of information, and Panel Report 2002). The transition of pedagogy from one
solvers of problems. These active processes are intended method to a blend of strategies focused on the learner is
to diminish the unintended role of students as simply not easily achieved. Faculty, staff members, and students,
passive receivers of information. all of whom have learned how to cope in traditional faculty-
This modification in the role of students needs to be centered classrooms, often are hesitant to change. After
accompanied by a modification in the current role of faculty all, most of us were educated in the traditional way and, as

Planning for Higher Education 13

Stephen J. Kopp, linda Seestedt Stanford,
Kenneth Rohlfing, and Jonathan P. Kendall

Figure 1 Strategic Considerations Involved in Organizational Reengineering for Learning

Vision and Goals

Advance Learning-Centered Education by Organizing for Learning:

Reshaping Expectations, Environments, and Roles

Faculty Students

c ... as contentexperts,architects,and ... as critical thinkers, knowledge

'iij co-designersof interactive learning researchers,learningcollaborators,
:> experienceandmodules,which advance problemsolvers,producersand
c critical/higher-orderthinking, assemblersof new information,
C) .•.
'iij communication,and problemsolving and long life learners cC.
QI ..•.
CQ m
C. ::J
en Instructional Environments and Learning Spaces, which function as: IQ
c IQ
•.. 3
...J .•.

Programming Objectives

a result, it is the approach we know best. But what if we design of sophisticated evaluation matrices for assessing
could truly revolutionize the educational experience; if we educational achievement. These changing expectations
could change it and blend it to one that is responsive to will necessitate fundamental alterations in the learning
the individual needs of students, adapted to their specific environment. Access to advanced educational technology
learning styles while achieving each individual's full capabilities, equipment, and resources that enhance learning
educational potential? This transformation can reasonably be opportunities is imperative for the classroom of tomorrow.
expected to improve quality of life and provide substantial Immersing students in the learning experience is a concept
socioeconomic benefit through a better educated society. that can be realized with current technology-for the visual
As the educational environment is transformed from learner, a way to see the algorithm; for the aural learner, a
the traditional faculty-centered model to a student-centered way to listen to the greatest teachers; and for the kinesthetic
learning model, faculty will become increasingly more learner, a way to feel the processes and skills as they
responsible for guiding the creation of learning experiences, happen in the real world (Brown 2000; Dolence and Norris
courseware, multimedia instructional programming, authentic 1995; Norris 1997). The creation of appropriate learning
project-based learning modules and presentations, and the opportunities for students, faculty, and support staff will

14 December 2003-February 2004

Creating Adaptive Learning Environments

Figure 2 Various Active Learning Strategies and Approaches

Inquiry-Based Learning
(e.g., research, observation, hypothesis formulation/testing,
experimentation, creative expression, abstract/discipline/integrative thinking,
knowledge assembly/discovery)

Knowledge Diffusion
(e.g., lecture, declarative processes,
narratives, recitation, digital media,
print media, visual/abstract objects)
(e.g., consultation,'
group strategies,
solution finding)

Technology Enhanced
(e.g., simulation, virtual reality,
Skills- and Competency-
immersive environments,
Based Learning
asynchronous communication,
(e.g., drills, contextualized
multisensory activators/
practice, modeling, mentoring,
integrators, on-demand
information access)
Application-Based Learning
(e.g., case scenarios, problems,
contextual frames, projects,
designs, functionality)

necessitate unprecedented, highly efficient resources and environments, this functional transformation is supported by
capabilities to enable the development of multimedia findings demonstrating and documenting the effectiveness
instructional courseware materials, which will allow seamless, of such educational practices. In this regard, instead of
asynchronous, on-demand access and distribution of these creating classroom spaces designed to control knowledge
learning modules via a robust technology infrastructure. dissemination centering on the faculty member, learning
Although some may argue that this concept is a radical environments need to be reorganized and redesigned
departure from the traditional expectations of classroom around the learner, creating opportunities for active learning

Planning for Higher Education 15

Stephen J. Kopp, Linda Seestedt Stanford,
Kenneth Rohlfing, and Jonathan P. Kendall

experiences that empower each student to engage, access, questions and because the faculty member does most of
and use resources and information in ways that support their the thinking for the students in these approaches, it is
active role and their development and refinement of higher- hardly surprising that most students learn to perform only
order thinking skills as part of the learning process. Figure at the most rudimentary levels of thinking: memorization
2 illustrates some of the key instructional strategies that and factual recall.
are part of this process. Beginning with" knowledge A corollary to this principle is that learning is an active
diffusion" and rotating clockwise, the strategies represent- process, one that requires learners to engage in mental
ed shift from declarative/structured approaches to ones work: questioning, reasoning, testing, verifying, and refining
that offer greater flexibility and adaptability to the learner. their thinking. Various strategies for active learning are
Experiencing a blend of strategies is more likely to develop depicted in figure 2. Interestingly, the oral tradition of
the requisite foundations for lifelong learning as opposed instruction (i.e., lecturing) constitutes an active process for
to a single approach. Arguably, however, there may be no the faculty member but a largely passive experience for the
one strategy or blend of strategies that will be optimally student. It is well designed for content dissemination to
effective over time for all learners and areas of study. large audiences, but it may do little to engage the student
actively in the learning process. It is based on the premise
Engaged Learning that the imparting of knowledge through the act of professing
activates and promotes learning in most or all students.
There are certain truths that devotees of critical thinking There is little evidence to support this notion. Instead, a
and cognitive science regard as self-evident about learning robust body of literature exists, which asserts that this
and knowledge transfer (Paul and Elder 2001). First, learning assumption is invalid based on what is known about how
begins with a compelling question, one that engages humans learn (Bain 1997; Bransford, Brown, and Cocking
the learner to think; seek information, clarification, and 2000; JointTask Force on Student Learning 1998).
understanding; and, ultimately, formulate meaningful Another implicit truth is that learning is about making
answers or solutions. As such, it is motivated by inquiry connections-neural connections as well as knowledge
and curiosity. The progression to deep learning is enhanced connections across disciplines that build on existing
by inquiry that requires the formation and internalization of conceptual frameworks and understandings, which advance
different ways of thinking and knowing (Bransford, Brown,
The transition of pedagogy from one and Cocking 2000). Applied learning activities that engage
method to a blend of strategies focused the mind by arousing curiosity, exercising it, disciplining it.
and stimulating creativity have been shown consistently to
on the learner is not easily achieved.
deepen learning with concomitant improvements in thinking
knowledge and conceptual elements in ways that make capacity, acuity, and problem-solving skills (Bowden and
connections to prior knowledge, experience, or meanings. Marton 1998; Spence 2001; Weimer 2002). Educational
Meaningfulness in learning implies context. the idea that innovations that provide full-cycle integration of theory-to-
learning is contextual and reinforced by application. It application and application-to-theory experiences create
requires regular, active engagement. practice, and thinking opportunities for powerful and engaged learning. The
that is disciplined and involves the testing and rethinking transition to these approaches in higher education has
of understandings. Finally, authentic learning requires the been slow, at best, in part because traditional classroom
mastery of the elements of thought that are intrinsic to the environments, which are configured to express the teacher-
field of study, the process of learning to think like a scientist, centeredness of the experience, discourage it. Moreover,
a doctor, and so forth. To achieve this level of integration the artificial" learning time, seat-time model" of education
requires time for reflection, evaluation, validation, and involves the scheduling of blocks of classroom time (e.g.,
verification. Yet, even though this truth is intuitively self- 50 minutes), which implies that learning is somehow
evident, too often educators devote the vast majority of compartmentalized to discrete time periods. In reality,
instructional time in faculty-centered classroom settings to there is little evidence to suggest that learning is fostered by
dispensing answers through lectures (i.e., telling the answers this approach. Consider, for instance, the meta-messages
without framing them in the context of the questions). expressed by the traditional classroom alignment of seats,
Because students often do not know or understand the in rows and columns, all facing the teacher. Such seating

16 December 2003-February 2004

Creating Adaptive Learning Environments

Figure 3 Resource Implications of Learning-Centric Instructional Practices

Single does
or based
as competitive
subject offor
instruction Performance-
Research and and outcome-
information Efficient
Requires tolearner
Longitudinal honing to access
and expert and
of to
Traditional Instructional Teacher
Integrated, as challenger
21st Century and guide
Instructional Resource
standard Practice
time blocks; minimal Implications
and retrieval resources
passing transfer
recall, memorization-based
and content
on emphasiscoverage
on knowledge,
skills Strategies individual
distance; student
delivery forprogress
beneficial search
•• " "
a a
thinking scientist.
technology focused
skill/knowledge on
interdisciplinary to a
expectations critical
and collaborative,
work student
solving to
to think
is equalize
" ••
"•••• "
" ••

•• Theory-to-application
(practice)/a pplication-to-theory

Planning for Higher Education 17

Stephen J. Kopp, Linda Seestedt Stanford,
Kenneth Rohlfing, and Jonathan P.Kendall

configurations forecast and predispose activity centered on programs. This new, 173,000 gross-square-foot facility
the faculty member as the professor of knowledge and the includes advanced technology, research, and clinical and
role of the student as the receiver of knowledge. These other educational resource capabilities that will support the
roles and expectations are reinforced by the longitudinal preparation of graduates who excel in meeting the expec-
experiences and conditioning that takes place during a tations of the nation's health care industry.
student's primary and secondary education. The reengineering The new building was designed to
of learning spaces can help disrupt this regimen both from • integrate Central Michigan's health professions
a symbolic as well as a functional perspective. Various programs and create an environment that models
transitional concepts in the migration to a learning-centric the integrative, interdisciplinary, and collaborative
model of education and the corresponding resource nature of the contemporary health care industry;
implications are depicted in figure 3. • provide progressive learning, instruction, office, and
Rapid advances in educational technology have provided research resources specifically designed for the health
the capacity to create novel educational experiences, which professions disciplines at Central Michigan;
are designed to match the individualized learning needs of
• create a learning environment that fosters and
students (Dolence and Norris 1995; Strauss 2002). Never
empowers students to learn independently and acquire
before has it been possible to provide personalized mass
lifelong learning skills supported by access to integrated
education. The goal of achieving customized learning
state-of-the-art information technology resources;
experiences designed and tailored to the individual
• educate health profession students in an environment
learning styles of the students is within the grasp of
designed to facilitate technological fluency and the
today's technology because of unprecedented advances
acquisition of essential skills that will enable
in the education technology available to support learning.
graduates to provide high-quality, cost-effective
Interestingly, estimates indicate that less than half of
care in tomorrow's health care system;
the students in today's classrooms are auditory learners
(i.e., students who favor and learn best via predominantly • provide the requisite resources for Central Michigan's
new interdisciplinary program in the neurosciences;
auditory modes of sensory stimulation and instruction).
The remaining students cluster within two other dominant • foster modern, educationally integrated community
learning domains: visual and kinesthetic. Visual learners outreach for Central Michigan's health professions
favor and learn best from predominantly visual sensory programs;
integration. These learners benefit most from learning • configure the building infrastructure to be flexible and
experiences that use visual and diagrammatic represen- adaptable so that the university can respond rapidly
tations and depictions to impart knowledge and concepts. and cost-efficiently to emerging technologies and to
Kinesthetic learners learn best by multisensory integration, the ever-changing resource needs of educational
especially involving the physical and tactile domains. programs in the health professions;
Activities, such as those involving laboratory experiments, • design the new facility to be energy-efficient and provide
enhance conceptual understanding and learning for for cost-effective maintenance while incorporating
these students. To advance critical thinking and cognitive recyclable building materials wherever possible;
development of all students, it is essential that pedagogy • give priority to the design of interdisciplinary shared-
and learning environments function symbiotically to use areas (e.g., classrooms, clinics, teaching and
support and accommodate multiple types and approaches research laboratories, technology resource areas)
to engaging students in learning processes. whenever possible that would be versatile and
adaptive to the needs of multiple educational
Building Programming Focused on programs to minimize inefficiencies and avoid
Learning-Centered Education unnecessary staffing and service duplication costs;
• create environments conducive to the education and
The $50 million, state-of-the-art health professions building
the development of graduates prepared to serve the
at Central Michigan University, which began construction in
health care needs of rural and underserved Michigan
the fall of 2001, was designed to address critical resource
needs of the university's growing health professions

18 December 2003-February 2004

Creating Adaptive Learning Environments

The learning environments and resources in the new electronic information and resources. As experiential
building were designed to learning becomes increasingly coupled to technologically

• be versatile and progressive with respect to interactive created and facilitated interactive experiences (e.g., virtual

educational technology; patient encounters) and other interactive paradigms, virtual

environments and simulation capabilities will become
• provide superior, learner-centered instructional
integral components of the learning environment. These
environments must also have the capacity to provide the
• facilitate interdisciplinary clinical education, research,
student with greater flexibility, wherein the student has the
and collaboration;
ability to modify the rate at which curricular competencies
• provide technologically advanced classrooms and and learning outcomes are accomplished (asynchronous
laboratories to support on-campus and off-campus learning productivity). These planning considerations were
instruction, research, and teleconsulting/telehealth incorporated in the program and design of the new health
programming (e.g., multilevel "smart" classrooms, professions building at Central Michigan and are integral to
virtual patient and online clinical instructional the vision ofThe Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow College of
resources, community telehealth programming Health Professions.
[see global interactive
telecommunication/teleconferencing, and digital
Technology Systems Design
video production capabilities);
• support research and teaching laboratory spaces for The design team for the new health professions building
faculty and students as well as office space and space was strongly influenced and benefited from a wealth of
for selected community outreach and service programs. prior knowledge and experience regarding the legacy
A primary focus of the building's infrastructure design "smart" or "mediated" classrooms from the 1980s and
will be flexibility and adaptability so that the university can 1990s. Having worked on the early technology-enhanced
respond rapidly and cost-effectively to emerging technologies classrooms beginning with the University of Maryland,
and the evolving resource needs of educational programs in College Park, in 1985 and, subsequently, with dozens of
the various health-related disciplines housed in the building. institutions and hundreds of projects from Alaska to Florida,
Audiology, clinical psychology, health administration, health the design team tested and analyzed every physical layout,
promotion and rehabilitation, physical education/exercise technology, angle, screen, and network for application fit
science, physical therapy, and speech language pathology within the Central Michigan project. The legacy technology
are some of the graduate programs that will be served by of the smart classroom over the past 10 years, including
the new building. The new building will also serve a number computers, networks, multichannel audio, remote control,
of principal undergraduate majors/minors, including television, VCR, and DVD, served as a baseline for evaluating
communication disorders, community/public health functionality in these new classrooms. These models were
education, health administration, health fitness/exercise helpful from the standpoint of guiding and informing
science, neuroscience, physical education, psychology, decisions that would produce the most cost-effective and
and sports medicine/athletic training. functional state-of-the-art solutions.
The goals of this construction project at Central The design team at Central Michigan was guided by a
Michigan were guided by the various learning principles key principle: Spatial, human, and digital connections must
already addressed. These principles are consistent with the be optimized within the building. One might ask why we
recommendations outlined in the report presented by the need physical spaces if we can make connections via
Joint Task Force on Student Learning (1998) sponsored technology such as the Internet, and it can be reasoned
jointly by the American Association for Higher Education, that the only need for space is for the computers and
the American College Personnel Association, and the network technology. But that is an oversimplification of
National Association of Student Personnel Administrators. the impact of technology on real learning and the role
Lastly, futuristic perspectives about the learning interpersonal interactions play in this process. The reality
environments of tomorrow forecast a need to be highly is that to truly foster connections and collaboration for the
responsive, integrated, and able to provide increasingly majority of humans, people need to be with people; it is an
more rapid access to and retrieval of an array of technologic/ important social consideration to accelerate the learning

Planning for Higher Education 19

Stephen J. Kopp, Linda Seestedt Stanford,
Kenneth Rohlfing, and Jonathan P.Kendall

process for a majority of learners. Therefore, as the design building systems required to support the users and their
team looked at the challenge of the university's new facility, technology tools.
it looked at creating classrooms that could be malleable, As most educators understand, change to the pedagogy
learning laboratories, places where these connections could of a college or program is very difficult. Adapting technology
be made. The classrooms are adaptable environments where to an existing program in a way that does not just repackage
• people can collaborate with each other in real time; the material (e.g., taking the class notes and putting them
on a Web site or taking the overheads and creating a
• people can communicate with other people using
Microsoft PowerPoint™ presentation) but truly redefines
technology as a facilitative media;
the educational experience is essential. The architectural
• technology can create environments to provide the
and program design was driven by a strategic and tactical
exact skills training for the individual;
plan that would integrate the technology into the pedagogy
• students can test their hypotheses and see the direct
while fusing it with the physical environment. The vision,
impact of their research in real time;
which was to create an adaptable, for\o'\(ard-thinking,complete
• students can see, feel, and touch processes and reveal facility that would change and adapt to the needs of the
cognitive patterns; faculty, staff, and students, was clearly articulated at the
• students can be placed inside the human body for outset. The technology solution to meet these needs was
a sci-fi fantasy trip through the human heart or get based on extensive use of visual information.
inside a fast Fourier transform to see the process This display of visual information in a multimedia
of mathematics. environment was envisioned as the cornerstone of the
In other words, a whole new world of learning can new educational experience. The program for the building
be achieved. Students can become the teachers as they required a truly visual, auditory, and tactile-rich environment
discover a way to touch and move bits of information in free that can conform to the education program and learning
space via virtual reality pens, exploring the outcomes as styles in an adaptable and efficient manner. The design
medical data are updated or manipulated and communicating team's vision was to create spaces that could change
this to others by a simple methodology (teaching). through the application of new "bits" of information, not
Overlaying geographic information systems (GIS) data by having to change the "atoms" of the physical space (to
sets such as water quality, factory pollution dissipation, borrow a reference by Nicolas Negroponte [1996]), what is
physical land layout and land use changes, and chronic referred to as an Immersion Classroom™. An Immersion
disease incidence via zip code can reveal new connections Classroom is a physical space with hardware and software
for the potential underlying causes of chronic diseases packaged together with the academic program, goals, and
and medical-related conditions. Using these approaches, mission to customize the learning experience. In this design
education fosters connections, becomes exploration, and configuration, the traditional writing surface is augmented
involves research. with flexible electronic displays, which support text, graphics,
With this vision as the catalyst, questions regarding the
building design went from the usual of how many square
Adapting technology to an existing
feet are needed and what it costs to what educational program in a way that truly redefines
outcomes do we want to achieve and how can we create
spaces and technology within our budget to support these
the educational experience is essential.
outcomes. Through the design process, a facility was created imaging, and video in multidimensional modes. The displays
that shunned the traditional classroom for a new breed of are interfaced with systems that have the ability to draw
adaptable spaces, places where people can meet, where data simultaneously from a variety of local and remote data
skills and fluencies can be developed, and where people sources and the capability to record and store results created
can access technologies that cannot be accessed anywhere during the interactive learning sessions. In this environment,
else for learning. Although this conception sounds simple, the student does not passively sit and receive instruction.
in reality, it is very difficult to accomplish. In the case of Rather, the student experiences something like an immersion
Central Michigan, the pedagogical needs of the program in a sea of information with the requisite tools that enable
drove the technology needs to support these requirements. him or her, either alone or in concert with his or her peers
This approach, in turn, drove the architectural space and and mentors, to extract meaning and construct knowledge.

20 December 2003-February 2004

Creating Adaptive Learning Environments

These standardized learning support technologies, such as anywhere in the space as well, whereas the hub of the
the Immersion Board™ and Immersion Classroom, allow information flow is the PC. Digital media, digital video,
the educator to create and manage the learning experience in collaborative video conferencing, common applications,
immersive, stimulating, and customizable ways to empower and remote control functionalities would be handled by a
the student and provide for his or her educational requirements. powerful, off-the-shelf PC. The PC will have a wide bandwidth
A common, well-supported interface including technical support, network connection (a given) for high-resolution, full-motion
content creation, and faculty classroom development is the imaging and video streaming to and from the video server
key benefit of the Immersion Board. system. Each room will have one to three cameras and
To implement this vision is to start at the beginning, microphones tied to a master control room for the secure
in this case, the infrastructure necessary to support these and properly managed flow of classroom activities to
Immersion Classrooms. The network is the key to success support e-Iearning, skills training, Room MemoryTM (where
in this type of environment. As Bob Metcalfe, the Ethernet the activities within each learning space can be archived
inventor and founder of 3Com, is quoted as saying, "the for later reference). and capture and storage of the best
value of a network grows as the square of the number of teaching modes for real-time and store-and-forward learning.
its users" (Kirsner 1998). In other words, as the connections The more in-depth, high-production, video-telepresence
increase, the increase in value increases logarithmically. environment will be the idea Reserve Global Telepresence
Therefore, a digital network with exceptionally wide band- Room. In this center, a television studio-like environment
width is a necessity. This solid foundation must have the and an Immersion Board combine to create an almost 3-D
capacity to create connections that meet the needs of early experience where the lecturer can be surrounded by the
adopters of innovative technologies and applications. The student body or a class can look through the glass screen
information needs of the people will dictate the topology of the to the classroom on the other side, fostering personal
network: wired and wireless. Bandwidth, mobility, resolution, collaboration. When it comes to a truly 3-D environment,
and cost will be the final arbiters of the correct solution here. the facility is designed for a CAVERN or Computer Aided
As students enter the learning environment, they see Virtual EnviRoNment. It is a place where the students can
the display system or wall, the focal point of the learning. take a sci-fi voyage through the human body or a global
During normal conversation, only 7 percent of communication perspective of health concerns as they relate to geography,
comes from the words themselves, 38 percent comes topology, or industrialization on true-to-life maps. The
from the tone or how the words are spoken, and the interdisciplinary ambulatory clinic will be an applied learning
remaining 55 percent of communications comes from the and research environment with a digital network designed
physiology of movement (Argyle, Alkema, and Gilmour to permit secure information transmission with local storage
1971; Birdwhistle 1970; Mehrabian and Ferris 1967). This for asynchronous distribution.
means that the majority of communication comes from the To allow the proper management and security of this
visual content, even in natural conversation. The fine details vast quantity of disparate information, the design team has
of communication require a resolution well above that of included a dynamic master control facility. This facility will be
today's average computer screen displayed on the wall. the central management station, security node, information
When parallel information displays are added to the learning storage and production facility, and a central hub for the
environment and the typical presentation-based pedagogy dissemination of multimedia information. A limited staff of
of serial information dispensation is removed, students can technologists, artists, producers, and managers will oversee
visualize and experience information in a variety of formats the technology and keep it working in the best interest of the
that can foster learning in new, more diverse, and sometimes faculty and students. This staff will manage and dictate the
unexpected ways. flow of information within the facility over private networks
The solution was a baseline of classroom technology and throughout the world via a secure network infrastructure.
that included a large, high-resolution, Immersion Board to Another function of the master control station will be the
allow multiple images and immersive-type display of clinical production of high-quality, digital video programming for
settings, along with multiple computer inputs distributed students, faculty, patients, and the community. The master
around the room that will enable students and faculty to control station will have the capability to add this production
engage in collaborative group learning methodologies. The value to the programming at the College of Health Professions,
ubiquitous VCR and document camera could be placed and with ties to Central Michigan's television studio and the

Planning for Higher Education 21

Stephen J. Kopp, Linda Seestedt Stanford,
Kenneth Rohlfing, and Jonathan P.Kendall

local public broadcasting station, these programs will have responsibilities of participants in the learning process in
a quality the public expects. accordance with basic principles and research findings
To achieve high-quality educational programs and of cognitive science about how people learn-postulating,
materials, the facility must include content development. testing, and authenticating the efficacy of educational
The learning spaces within the health professions building experiences designed to advance learning opportunities.
are at the cutting edge of technology and resolution. It would Institutional resource and facility planning must be more
be inappropriate to support the faculty and students with evidence driven and focused on identifying and prioritizing
only simple presentation software such as Microsoft functional considerations that improve the effectiveness
PowerPoint. An instructional and content development and versatility of these environments. An important
center and an animation suite have been designed in the consideration in this regard is the extent to which these
building to provide the enhanced materials that will drive space designs enable and support students independently
these new educational experiences. New network-based and collaboratively in their cognitive development, regardless
applications will be developed to track and manage a of their preferred learning style.
student's progress to provide" just-in-time" (not just-in- To facilitate these transitions and gain full value from
case) learning in the appropriate format to foster the the available instructional technology resources, a proactive
most efficient learning possible for that individual. and comprehensive five-year "migration program" was
Artificial intelligence, multiple data streams, relational developed and implemented with the support of faculty
and object-oriented databases, and adaptable technologies leaders and champions. The goal of this plan was to identify
will allow students to take the most appropriate path and address obstacles, real and imagined, involved with the
through their learning. Software such as flexible room transition to learner-centered pedagogies. As the building
scheduling and collaborative technology management was being constructed, a new technology team was
will allow the precise utilization of these very expensive established. The team engaged key faculty members in a
resources. These systems will be adaptable enough to process of self-examination of teaching strategies and the
constantly improve as new applications and educational pedagogical implications of past experiences and practices.
materials are designed and implemented. Nine "faculty champions" were identified. A faculty
champion is a volunteer faculty member who is an early
Concluding Remarks adopter of the advanced technology within the facility and
who is committed to developing new teaching programs
Transitioning from a teaching-centric mind-set guided by to be used when the building opens. Each champion
the organizing principle of content/information delivery to a participated in an intense 12-month experience that
mind-set that is learning- and student-centric organized for encouraged reflection and rethinking about the effectiveness
engaged learning requires a fundamental, transformative of the strategies used to engage students in accomplishing
change in thinking, identity, philosophy, and practice. It the targeted learning outcomes. In addition, each champion
begins with reframing and affirming the core purpose of developed a new content and cognitive development
the educational experience and concentrating on the project that blended with a common pedagogical theme:
activities and strategies that advance thinking and learning. Faculty want the new building to deliver, support, and
It means rethinking and reframing the way we view our encourage just-in-time learning and questioning. When the
operational domains to ensure that they are organized for building opens, faculty will be able to fully utilize the new
learning and that they support the integration of strategies, technologies but not because they attended a simple "how
methods, and physical resource designs and structures to press the buttons" training class. In the case of Central
needed to enable this transformation. It also means that Michigan, faculty worked long hours to develop strategies for
these designs need to assist the active engagement of enhancing active engagement and stimulating experiences
learners in the mental work required to advance their that challenge students to think critically and creatively.
cognitive development through activities and experiences Through this process, faculty members have migrated from
that develop sophisticated patterns of thinking, knowledge knowledge dispensers to knowledge coaches and mentors.
construction and deconstruction, cognitive fluencies, The results of the faculty champions' migration program
and synthesis of ideas and concepts. Ultimately, this informed and enabled the technology team to also determine
transformation requires rethinking and realigning roles and

22 December 2003-February 2004

Creating Adaptive Learning Environments

the appropriate level of technical support required for the Paul. R., and L. Elder. 2001. Master the Thinking, Master the "Content:'
Ch. 7 in Critical Thinking: Tools for Taking Charge of Your
inaugural year in the facility.i!
Learning and Your Life. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice Hall.
Spence, L. D. 2001. The Case AgainstTeaching. Change 33 (6): 10--19.
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Planning for Higher Education 23