Associate Professor of Education – Learning, Design, and Technology
College of Education
2019 TLT Faculty Fellow
Focus Area: Learning Spaces
Sharma is an associate professor in the College of Education and hopes to use her project to shift the focus from “spaces” to “places” within the context of learning and design. She posits that learning spaces are arrangements of objects, tools, learners and instructors within a geometrical area while a learning place centers around a lived, personalized experience.
Penn State is uniquely positioned to engage with the idea of how to create places of learning,” said Sharma. “There is a focus on reinventing and revamping learning spaces across the University’s physical campuses along with World Campus’ continued focus on expanding access to high quality online learning opportunities.
Beyond knowing that space design requires consideration of seats, scheduling, writable surfaces, etc., Sharma and her team will work to discover how place design considerations, like “How do users create a common and shared experience through their work within a space,” can work in concert with space design. That, she said, would provide the foundation of a framework to guide practical and theoretical learning design and architecture efforts around spaces and places.