Personalized Learning 
& High Performance School Buildings

Philosophy and Qualifications for Planning and Design Services, Fielding/Nair International

Successful school buildings respond to individual learning styles. We may learn in a group setting, but the experience of grasping a new concept is an individual one. Spaces that support small learning groups, variable sized spaces, and individual work space are key features of a successful learning environment. These features are illustrated in the plan of a new high school shown below.

Harbor City International School
, Duluth, Minnesota (floor plan above)

Randall Fielding, Design Architect and Planner, details

While we learn individually, we are engaged, stimulated and challenged by a community of learners. Common areas with natural light and furnishings that are easy to rearrange invite small groups of learners to gather. The area shown at right is a part of Yeshiva Elementary, a K-8 school in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The space is adjacent to a south-facing atrium and a small kitchen, where students learn to make Challah, a loaf of yeast-leavened egg bread, usually braided, and traditionally eaten by Jews on the Sabbath.

"Nature has not adapted the young animal to the narrow desk, the crowded curriculum, the silent absorption of complicated facts."
John Dewey, School of Tomorrow, 1915

Design for Personalized Learning
Key Features

1. Small learning groups
2. Variable sized  spaces
3. Individual work space
4. Integrated technology
5. Get away spaces and niches
6. Collaboration space
7. Personal home base and storage
8. Display space
9. Project labs
10.Easy access to food and beverages

From "Designing a High School for Collaborative Learning," Randall Fielding, 2002

Yeshiva Elementary, Milwaukee, Wisconsin (photo above)
Randall Fielding, Design Architect and Planner, details