Creating active learning environments through campus masterplanning at the Saïd Business School

Against the backdrop of major changes in pedagogy, universities are re-visiting campus masterplans to assess the effectiveness of physical space and learning environments.

But aligning infrastructure re-designs or new-build projects with student learning outcomes can be a complex undertaking. How can universities work to advance the design of learning environments given campus limitations – be it financial or technological?

And how can learning environments facilitate changes in how educators deliver content and interact with students?

Ahead of Campus Development 2016, we spoke to Mat Davies MCIOB, Oxford Saïd Estate Director, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, who shared exclusive insight into how his team is establishing active learning environments by factoring in the end-to-end learning experience into the campus masterplan.



Mat Davies MCIOB Oxford Saïd Estate Director, Saïd Business School University of Oxford

At the Saïd Business School in Oxford, we face many challenges around campus masterplanning, due to the diverse nature of our program portfolio.

We also have a very diverse international student community, with circa 50 nationalities represented each year. The way in which we support these communities is very intense, managing every detail of their Oxford experience from arrival to departure, and increasingly beyond as they become lifelong members of our alumni community.

I’ve been a Director at the Business School for the last 15 years, and the pace of change has just been extraordinary compared to the ten years preceding that – largely led by the pace of development in the technology sector, and the opportunities which this has presented to us.

This development has enabled us to look far beyond the classroom. In both our new-build projects and our redevelopment projects, we have been concentrating not just on the classroom, but also on how we can harness the technological advances to accommodate the changes in learning behaviours outside the classroom in library, breakout, circulation and social spaces.

Only a few years ago small groups would book cellular study spaces, and order portable display equipment to work in groups of six or maybe eight people.

Now, students expect all areas to be technology enabled, giving them much greater choice about how they study, and when, and with whom. As a result, much of the collaborative activity which was tied to a small number of cellular ‘formal’ spaces, is happening much more naturally in social spaces, and even circulation spaces, sharing an ever increasing number of handheld devices with local screens.

These insights were provided by Mat Davies ahead of the upcoming Campus Development Summit in October. He goes on to explain how his team is establishing active learning environments by factoring in the end-to-end learning experience into the campus masterplan. Keep reading the full case study here.

If you’d like to know more about the Campus Development Summit, please download the brochure or visit to know more. 


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