Estrella Mountain is a pioneer in the design of creative and dynamic learning spaces among community colleges. Since its opening in 1992, college leaders have leveraged physical space, whether formal or informal, to promote engagement and advance teaching and learning.
In 2005, Estrella Mountain explored more effective approaches to the traditional classroom learning environment and engaged in discussions that resulted in the unique transformation of two existing classrooms into prototype "Learning Studios." The new learning studios provided faculty and learners an opportunity to experiment with radical flexibility in space, furnishings and technology. Throughout the project, the college collected and assessed feedback from faculty and learners.
The experience convinced college leaders to abandon the traditional classroom format in favor of the studio model. Since then, the college has opened three new buildings, refurbished most of its traditional classrooms and has transformed 70% of its classroom spaces into learning studios.