The demands on learning environments have changed dramatically. New technologies, teaching methodologies and skills requirements have transformed both teachers and learners’ requirements for flexible, adaptable and dynamic spaces in schools, universities and colleges today. While this new focus on the design and architecture of learning spaces is comparatively new, significant research has shown that the surrounding environment has a remarkable, measurable impact on students’ learning outcomes.
While the majority of schooling is still delivered within the confines of traditional learning environments, numerous establishments across the GCC have started developing innovative teaching and learning spaces. This trend is set to increase dramatically as competitiveness in the education sector increases. The MENA education market is worth an estimated $96bn, and with increasing populations, the demand for school facilities continues to grow.
Last year, 11 schools with an estimated 23,000 learning spaces opened in the UAE alone. By 2020, Abu Dhabi is expected to have 70,000 students while the number of learning spaces in the GCC is expected to grow to 4 million private schools, from 2 million schools in 2012 (Colliers International). Ministries and private educators are under major pressure to deliver world-class facilities, to increase enrolment, remain competitive, and improve the learning outcomes of today’s populations.