Needs and expectations of a new learning space: Research students’ perspectives

Sandris Zeivots, Sandra Schuck


Much of the literature on university learning spaces focuses on the undergraduate student experience, neglecting experiences of research students in new spaces. This article is concerned with research students’ needs and expectations of a learning space. It focuses on a recently opened shared activity-based learning space that was specifically built for research students. The methodological focus draws on case study methods and hermeneutic phenomenology to observe students’ lived experience in the new space and how they make sense of it. Twenty-six data sets, involving interviews, surveys and feedback, were collected from research students. The findings were analysed across three themes: physical, virtual, and hybrid space; a space free of distractions; and belonging to, and interaction with, university community. The article indicates the benefits of the new space for research students and articulates the particular needs of research students in such spaces.

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