Worlds' first Learning Lab launched at U of S

Natasha Katchuk

The Edwards School of Business at the University of Saskatchewan (U of S) will officially unveil the Allsopp Learning Lab—the first of its kind in the world—during a grand opening event on September 7.

“It’s an exciting day for Edwards School of Business as we recognize how Mr. Harold Allsopp’s donation has made it possible to provide increased access to our institution,” said Edwards Dean Keith Willoughby. “The Allsopp Learning Lab will substantively contribute to the capacity of the Edwards School to engage with groups, clients, partners, students, organizations and others who might normally be outside our reach.”

Located on the first floor of Edwards, the Allsopp Learning Lab is a state-of-the-art classroom equipped with Sony Vision Exchange technology, equipment, and flexible furniture designed to accommodate multiple learning and teaching styles. A world first installation, the lab can connect up to eight workgroups with six contributors per group.

In 2014, Edwards alumnus Harold Allsopp (BComm ‘62) generously donated $500,000 to the school. This gift established an on-going experiential learning initiative and paved the way for the creation of an advanced technology supported learning lab. Experiential learning is incredibly valuable to students who wish to acquire real-world and applicable experience not always gained in a traditional classroom setting.

“We believe business education should be more than attending lectures and writing tests or final exams,” said Willoughby. “We want to make sure students leave our institution with heightened confidence and experience working with clients on real projects and providing real solutions.”

The goal is to inspire active learning among students and business partners through space for lecture, collaboration, discussion, and group work, and create an environment conducive to teaching to distributed learners. Users bring their own devices and connect via Wi-Fi. As participants work together, device content can be mirrored to subsets of screens or the entire group with information shared and controlled by the lecturer. Remote participants can also be added through video conferencing.

“The Allsopp Learning Lab has the potential to increase access to rural communities and Northern regions, and substantially broadens the scope of our partnership capabilities,” said Willoughby. “Similarly, there is the opportunity for the inclusion of guest speakers from around the world who could not otherwise travel to Edwards.”

Initial plans include hosting classes and providing hands-on business advice for partners who are signed up for projects through experiential learning initiatives. Plans are currently being explored to reach new populations of students and deliver programming to communities outside of Saskatoon.

“By supporting the experiential learning initiative, students in Edwards will have access to applied learning space and technology that will help them develop the skills they need,” said Allsopp. “I trust that this gift will enhance the student experience and broaden the reach for the entire Edwards community.”

Media are invited to attend the grand opening and an experiential learning demonstration:

Thursday, September 7, 3 pm
Room 45 – Edwards School of Business
25 Campus Drive
University of Saskatchewan

For more information, please contact:

Natasha Katchuk
Communications Officer
Edwards School of Business
University of Saskatchewan

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