Design Smarter: Crafting Learning Spaces with Research Driven Metrics

1:30 PM – 2:30 PM


Our contemporary world is data-driven; yet, design decisions for our contemporary learning environments are often guided by intuition, and design outcomes for these decisions are insufficiently measured. In January 2019, five classrooms in five schools in the Kansas City region were transformed to support new ways of teaching and learning as part of a research project undertaken by Gould Evans and the KU School of Education. The impacts of these new learning environments are being studied using eight different metrics. Now entering its second year, this longitudinal project is applying validated measures, both qualitative and quantitative, evaluating student engagement, student belonging, student ownership, student creativity, classroom management, wellness, future readiness, and equity. Attendees will be able to use the outcomes of the study to guide their school design efforts with more science-based intentionality.

#1: Utilize scientific evidence to lend more insight to the selection of furniture applications for schools, centered around student outcomes and wellness.
#2: Understand and leverage the value of these multiple survey measures to improve classroom strategies in support of multiple learner variabilities.
#3: Implement design strategies and ergonomic insights from the five survey sites to improve educator efficacy.
#4: Learn from the "student voice" on how space impacts culture of the classroom and learner engagement.

Design of Educational Facilities: Acts as a resource to the design team in providing ongoing guidance and support to ensure that the emerging and ultimate design aligns with the established community vision, education goals, future programming, written design standards, best/next practices and education policy.

Educational Visioning: Exhibits an understanding of best and next practices related to educationalleadership, programming, teaching, learning, planning and facility design. Establishes credibility with educators, community members and design professionals while conceiving and leading a community-based visioning process. Demonstrates the ability to articulate the impact of learning environments on teaching and learning and uses that ability to facilitate a dialogue that uncovers the unique needs and long-range goals of an educational institution and its stakeholders – translating that into an actionable written/graphic program of requirements for the design practitioner.

Haidee Jackson, Doctoral Student, Research University of Kansas
Haidee is a doctoral student at the University of Kansas, specializing in Instructional Design, Technology, and Innovation. She is currently conducting the field research, administering user surveys, and serving as a lead coordinator for this primary research project. She is also currently investigating how environmental space may influence the implementation of instructional design within the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework and exploring UDL instructional design strategies within the STEM learning environment. 

Sally Wurtzler, AIA, Project Architect, Gould Evans
Sally is a seasoned project architect and leader in the Gould Evans’ National Education Practice. Along with nearly a decade of experience in education design, her resume also includes experience with custom furniture fabrication and working with client engagement efforts utilizing UDL principles. Sally holds a master’s degree in architecture from Washington University in St. Louis and a BA in English/Journalism from Colorado College.

Katie Pohlman, Interior Designer, Gould Evans
Katie is an interior designer at Gould Evans with broad interests and talents, including custom furniture design, furniture specification and fabrication. Steeped in the firm’s research-based education approach, she expertly guides clients through the process of creating interior environments that positively impact student learning. Katie holds a Master of Science degree in Historic Conservation from Oxford Brookes University and a Bachelor of Science in Interior Design from Kansas State University.

LearningSCAPES Virtual Conference: Passport to Learning



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