This is the second main sub-question to answer ‘Is the learn/work environment adding value?’ An effective learn/work environment is not automatically good. Effectiveness is a process value, about how good the processes are in producing something but it does not say anything about the desirability of the output.
Optimizing the effectiveness of the core function of the learn/work environment, education and research, is about purpose, context and content (domains of qualification, socialization, subjectification). This is primarily based on an educational vision and the way in which it is structured in a didactic and organisational manner.
Secondly, the educational process is supported by the quality of the learn/work environment in which this process takes place. The environment has an effect on the productivity of teachers and students. What does productivity means for brain work? A disbalance between stress and recovery affects our ability to handle workloads and do quality work in the long term. The accommodation should support the organisation and people to thrive. The main objectives of accommodation are:
- Protection of people and goods against the climate.
- Facilitate the processes of the users.
- Protection of property against theft, damage and loss.
- A physical place for people to meet, interact and connect because digital contact does not replace human contact.
- Give identity a shape. And sometimes just for beauty alone.
Change is inescapable, therefore buildings should be designed to invite adaptation to stay functional and pleasant to be in. A building is never perfect and finished. Therefore it should be constantly aligned to the speed and changing needs of the user. There are 8 layers of change.
The built environment is a starting point, a base for almost all human endeavour. A place for shelter, to create and manifest, to rest and recharge, to feel safe, to live and work with close ones or like-minded people. The built environment is so a crucial base for human activity all over the world. How can it serve better?
If the organisational goals are objectively defined and translated into required and desired learn/work environment performance, this increases opportunities and limits risks to meet the objectives.
It helps to approach the learn/work environment in an integral way and to keep in touch with each other to utilize or confront new insights, for example by changes in the primary process, technological possibilities or external developments.
To add value to the organisation, the intended benefits of the learn/work environment must be weighed against the costs, risks and time associated with initiating, implementing and exploiting them. The functional state of a building must meet the desired user options and be able to accommodate changes to the curriculum within a reasonable margin.
The policy goals thus become practical guidelines for daily management and promote a learning organisation with a focus on continuous improvement. Consequences for the learn/work environment due to changing levels of ambition as a result of other policy insights and/or external developments can thus be earlier mapped, discussed and weighed up in full.
“Places that work are process-oriented and have a people-centred approach.
They are an enabler for adding value.” (René Stevens)
- SCOPE/STRATEGY: What exactly is the desired outcome (performance requirements: how good and how many, where, when, for whom and how often)?
- QUALITY: How close matches the outcome with the objectives and expectations (Functional, Esthetics, Technical)?
The learn/work environment is usually an undermanaged business resource. Revenues from better performance of the primary business process often exceed those of efficiency measures in the secondary business processes like Real estate, Facilities and IT. From costs to value.
Having a grip on the effects of the learn/work environment performance and adding value in the areas of:
Regular performance reviews of the learn/work environment as a tool for managing knowledge are required to ensure continuous improvement and a learning organisation.
By breaking the question ‘Is the learn/work environment adding value?’ up into chunks it becomes more manageable. To answer it, four main sub-questions must be addressed. But be aware that Engagement, Effectiveness, Efficiency and Evidence are not ends in themselves but means to an end. Pay attention to what is important, not just what is quantifiable. Go for the good of the whole.