Published: 30-09-2016 10:14 | Updated: 30-09-2016 14:16

Expanding projects for the Medical Case Centre

The start of the year saw the opening of the new learning environment called "The City" at Campus Huddinge. The entrance and the classrooms in ANA 23 are also ready for use in the autumn. The Medical Case Centre is behind these projects, backed up by the KI Facilities Office.

- It has been a tradition at KI, like many other universities, to arrange teaching in large auditoriums that are adapted to monologue teaching, i.e. the teacher talks and the students listen. However, more and more modern education does not use this model; it follows teaching developments and makes use of dialogue and discussion instead. In this project, research on learning has been given priority and we have adapted the rooms to the teaching that will take place there, and not vice versa, says Teresa Sörö, project manager at the Medical Case Centre.

Teresa shows us around the rooms and shared spaces that have been rebuilt in ANA 23. There are plenty of colours, shapes and different materials and it is easy to see similarities with the student environment in "The City" at Alfred Nobels Allé 8, which was inaugurated earlier this year. Chairs and tables can be easily moved in many of the rooms to create whatever working groups are wanted. In some rooms the whiteboard has been moved to the long side to reduce the distance between students and teachers and to create lounge spaces, with a more relaxed atmosphere for working on laptops and tablets.

- Design for us is mainly about what it can do for learning. The aim is to create the opportunity for dialogue, visualization and collaboration, says Teresa Sörö.

These are the three research principles that MCC wants to create through its new learning environments:
The design of traditional learning environments has often centred on the transfer of knowledge through monologues. The auditorium, as the name implies, is an example­ of this. The environments now being developed are designed to promote more active learning instead. Classrooms and informal environments are made to accentuate dialogues and a more problem-solving approach to learning.
*Collaborative learning
Students learn from and through each other. It is important to encourage collaborative learning, both outside and within scheduled teaching.
*Visualization of knowledge and learning
All students bring their knowledge and experience with them to the learning situation. An important part of learning is to clarify how something is perceived or assumed to be structured. To this end, all the new learning environments have many writing surfaces, allowing participants to visualize their thoughts to much larger extent than in the past.

What were the greatest challenges?

- Making the areas in the existing rooms sufficient. Our new learning environments often require more space than classic lecture halls. Some changes, though, have been questioned, such as when we removed the nurses' and occupational therapists' kitchenette and built a shared kitchen in ANA 23. It was not so popular initially, but has now provided a more natural meeting place made for students.

What sort of feedback have you got from the students?

- They want the rooms to be open for longer hours, and the student areas are busy, which I think says a great deal. We are also going to evaluate the projects to see what worked well and what we will not repeat next time.

What inspired you to work with the learning process?

- I am a qualified nurse and I've also worked as a teacher at the Red Cross college. A colleague and I were asked to design their intensive care training, in which we used Case Methodology to a large extent. The students work with real-life cases and have many discussions. While I was working on that, I came into contact with Jonas Nordquist, who works at MCC. I have been employed at KI since 2012.

About MCC
Medical Case Centre (MCC) is a Core Facility and supports other activities with the introduction of interactive teaching in their programmes. MCC is organised within the Department of Medicine, Huddinge. They describe their activities in three main headings: direct support for teachers, leadership support for educational leaders and development of the physical learning environment.