Coventry University's new media lab disrupts the learning landscape

University news / Student news

Tuesday 10 March 2015

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Coventry University is launching a new, innovative teaching and learning facility at its city centre campus this week. 

The Disruptive Media Learning Lab (DMLL), which has been designed to meet the challenges of the 21st century education environment, officially opens with a two day launch event of seminars, workshops and talks on Wednesday 11th and Thursday 12th March. 

Amongst the speakers attending the launch event are Graham Brown-Martin, founder of the global think tank Learning Without Frontiers (LWF) and Dr Cristobal Cobo from the Oxford Internet Institute. They will be joined over the two days by educators, technologists and creatives to share provocative and challenging ideas about the future of learning. 

There will also be exhibitions of current DMLL projects and demonstrations of new and emerging educational resources and technologies, which are becoming increasingly relevant within modern day learning. 

The launch of DMLL coincides with Open Education Week 2015, a five day celebration of the global open education movement promoting the free and open sharing of learning resources to increase access to education and knowledge. 

This idea of openness and accessibility underpins both the philosophy and physical design of the Disruptive Media Learning Lab. The term ‘disruptive media learning’ derives from the business concept of ‘disruptive technologies’ which afforded opportunities for new and emerging companies to disrupt established markets by creating new versions of the products offered by large corporations grown complacent from success and slow to respond to shifting consumer demand.  

Academics at Coventry University suggest that likewise in a rapidly changing world of connected mobile devices and globally-networked individuals, universities need to react by disrupting existing notions of teaching and learning so that new practices can emerge. 

Shaun Hides, Co-Director of the Disruptive Media Learning Lab, explains: 

In an increasingly connected world academics are no longer the sole source or foundation of higher level knowledge so universities need to respond to this new reality. With our lab we are trying to explore a new learning landscape, where experimentation, collaboration and openness are at its heart and where there is a willingness to embrace the instruments of disruptive media, including mobile devices, open source software and collaborative web tools.

We are advocating some radical alterations to existing education practice but at the heart of our approach is a desire to ensure that our students are properly equipped to study topics that are rapidly changing and evolving. By widening the sources and types of knowledge from which students can draw, we’re also better preparing them for the types of working environments that they will encounter across the globe.

The design of the new learning lab embraces this experimental ethos, containing a number of distinctive working environments. Moving away from the static desk and raked lecture theatre setting the lab includes a learning zone in the shape of an indoor “hill”, composed of a series of map-like contours extruding upwards. The lab also houses a u-shape stepped seating area covered in synthetic grass, a large open-access space, a highly adaptable teaching room and three themed creative project labs. 

Shaun continued: 

We wanted an environment that makes you engage differently as soon as you walk in and we think we have achieved that. As soon as you enter the lab, you can immediately see that something is different. It’s a world away from a traditional learning space but it’s been designed in a way that will encourage academics, researchers, learning technologists and of course our students to challenge their expectations and to work together and openly share ideas.

The two day launch event takes at place on Wednesday 11th and Thursday 12th March at the Disruptive Media Learning Lab, 3rd Floor Lanchester Library, Coventry University CV1 5FB.

For further press information please contact Mark Farnan, marketing and communications, Coventry University, on +44 (0)24 7765 8245 or email

Twitter: #disruptivemedia