Why do they study there? Diary research into students' learning space choices in higher education

Ronald Beckers*, Theo van der Voordt, Geert P.M.R. Dewulf

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)
114 Downloads (Pure)


Higher education learning and teaching methods have changed while most educational buildings are still rather traditional. Yet, there is an increasing interest in whether we can educate today's higher education students in yesterday's buildings. This paper aims to contribute to this debate by studying the learning space choices of higher education students in relation to their learning activities, personal characteristics and other considerations that may play a role in choosing particular learning spaces. A diary research method was adopted, in which 52 business management students of a Dutch University of Applied Sciences participated. They reported which learning activities they worked on during a week, where and why there. The diary format builds on the literature from various disciplines and was used in combination with a questionnaire and interviews. The findings show significant correlations between the students’ learning space choices and their learning activities, their personal characteristics and their individual preferences. Because of the shift from a teacher-led approach to a student-led approach, higher education institutions need to provide more informal learning spaces in open areas and quiet learning spaces for individuals and small groups.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)142-157
Number of pages16
JournalHigher Education Research and Development
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 30 Dec 2016


  • 2023 OA procedure


Dive into the research topics of 'Why do they study there? Diary research into students' learning space choices in higher education'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this