Best Practices in Educational Facilities Investments

Bond University, Multimedia Learning Centre (MLC), Robina, Queensland, Australia

Exemplary design categories: flexible learning settings, furniture, library/media/resource centre, technology rich

How the facility meets the needs of education and communities:
The main objective of the project was to develop a range of next-generation study environments for a diverse student group. It was also important to foster extended learning: learning starts in the lecture or tutorial and extends into peer-to-peer and collaborative learning with students as they discuss and work on assignments and projects, experiment with technology in groups, and view digital high art produced by their peers on the high parts of the wall on the side of the gallery. The MLC is open 18 hours per weekday from 7am to 1am and 15 hours on each Saturday and Sunday from 8am to 11pm, thus a total of 120 hours per week. The space was designed to ensure the visual engagement by users, both inside and out, through the addition of new windows and extensive areas of glazing and provide spectacular views of the campus lake and Fountain of Learning. The acoustic qualities of the space have been dramatically improved through the use of acoustic battens to both the skylight roof and parts of the internal walls. High resolution digital projection and integrated energy efficient and colour changing lighting further enhance the visual and spatial experience for students and visitors to this space. The MLC facility also included the construction of two mezzanine levels within the former Art Gallery space, and these spaces are utilised as teaching spaces for the faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. Furniture was selected to ensure comfort and support a broad variety of learning modes, and to encourage collaborative work where students can gather as large or intimate groups. Technology is embedded in various ways within the centre, dependent upon the type of zone and the furniture. Wireless connectivity is ubiquitous, and laptop use is extended within and beyond the facility. The study booths zones form the most technology rich spaces within the centre each include large screen lcds to enable students to effectively and appropriately scale information for display to a group, with laptop connectivity, integrated PC, Blu-ray/DVD gaming systems. Booths are further equipped with document visualisers to assist in student presentations, assignment preparation and the translation of ideas. The University engages with the local business and the community through a dedicated Office of Business & Community Engagement. Although the Multimedia Learning Centre facility is primarily for student use, it is seen as an exemplar for local high schools as well.

Activity Areas: Learning zones are: 1 Group tables with desktop computers, 2 Study booths for groups, 3 Social learning area, 4 Laptop bar, 5 Bench with individual desktop computers, 6 Banquet seating with view of digital art, 7 Collaborative Learning Room, 8 Foyer. Each zone is designed to support different student behaviours and different cohort sizes, which fall into three categories: "introvert": an open space for quiet study; "exhibitionist": an active extrovert space, particularly in the social learning zone; and "voyeur", a space for passive engagement with other people or aspects of the overall space.

Project costs: AUD 3,400,000.00

Source: Submitted to OECD for "Designing for Education: Compendium of Exemplary Educational Facilities 2011" in 2010

  • Global rating average: 4.0 out of 5
  • 4.0
  • 4.0
  • 4.0
  • 4.0
  • 4.0
rated 4.0 by 1 person

User perspectives (1)

A post-occupancy evaluation of the space revealed that the development of a range of collective and learning spaces on campus was successful, although the 300 students completing the questionnaire (210 undergraduate and 90 postgraduate across 4 faculties) reported that there were not enough quiet study areas. The zones in order of popularity were: 1 Group tables with desktop computers, 2 Study booths for groups, 3 Social learning area, 4 Laptop bar, 5 Bench with individual desktop computers, 6 Banquet seating with view of digital art, 7 Collaborative Learning Room, 8 Foyer. In the first three weeks after opening, 20 691 visits were recorded while the following month, June, this rose to 32 668. When asked what they primarily did when visiting the MLC, students responded as follows: 76 percent had used it for individual study at times; 54 percent had used it for group study; 44 percent to meet friends; 41% percent just to take a break. In conclusion, 93 percent of students indicated that they would recommend the MLC to other students and 80 percent said they intended to use the facility again in the future.
Wilson Architects

Images (5)

Drawings (2)

Floor plan (Registration required)

Credit: Wilson Architects
Site plan (Registration required)

Credit: Wilson Architects