The educational landscape for best practices in teaching and learning, along with research into the science of the brain is expanding our understanding of how we learn. Standardized testing still makes the ironically titled three Rs (writing, reading and arithmetic) relevant; however, with each day, we are learning how to be better learners and therefore better teachers.  At the root of this thinking is an understanding of varying modes of learning each person is naturally inclined to gravitate to, i.e. what works for one student might not necessarily work for another. 

In terms of critical thinking concerning how we learn and therefore, what we learn, there have been several key innovations in the last 50 years that have broadened people’s thinking about learning. In his 1970 novel Future Shock, Alvin Toffler wrote, “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn”.

In 1983, Howard Gardner introduced the ‘multiple intelligences’ theory – an argument that upended the traditional measurement of intelligence (IQ) and suggested a broader range of how to determine intellect. These ideas prompted further investigations into learning and led to notions that metacognition (thinking about thinking) and synthesizing (fusing, reordering, recalling, retelling, etc. to create new meaning and understanding) are more important than memorizing and the recall of static data, and that education should be refocused to adapt to all types of learners.

Complementing this new vision of adaptable pedagogical models is the emerging focus on how the learning environment (the schools, classrooms, labs, etc.) can enhance and improve how students learn. At OAC EDU, we’ve become experts on how to plan, program, design and construct facilities that act as a counterpart and reflection of new education models. Just as different students need different learning tools, so do modern schools need the adaptability and technology to meet these needs. This concept was used when planning, designing and construction the new Tahoma High School.

© Aaron Locke All Rights Reserved


If you’d like to learn what type of learner you are, there are several useful online assessments you can take (we encourage you to take a couple for better results).

Once you’ve completed these assessments, consider the environment or setting that would best assist you with learning.

Are you in a large group, small group or working on your own individual path?

Are you inside or outdoors?

Do you feel safe?

Is it messy, or clean?  Are you working with your hands? 

Is the built environment getting in the way or supporting you to reach greater heights?

Just as a school district will develop and refine learning programs to better assist the varying types of learning, OAC EDU’s project managers are on the forefront of utilizing these theories to improve how schools, classrooms, support spaces, play areas, and other aspects of the built environment can respond to these same learning needs. This methodology seeks to work in collaboration with teachers and faculty to improve learning through next generation learning environments.

Please continue to check-in with our ‘insights’ to stay up-to-date with how we’re implementing these ideas in real projects, with real students and teachers, and modifying our approaches to continue to evolve this emerging project management program.



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Construction Management. Architecture. Engineering.

OAC has a history of success with specialized design and construction because we love what we do. We serve our clients as collaborators, and we design and manage projects that improve where people live, work, learn and play. Because of this, we’ve gathered a superlative staff of professionals who share our core values, and our vision – do what we love in the service of people who love what we do.