At a theoretical level OSL is informed by – but is not limited to – methods such as “enactive” learning, "embodied" learning, and “kinaesthetic” learning. It has affinities with “applied drama”, “applied theatre”, or “applied performance”. OSL is also influenced by the work of academics in Neuroscience who seek to re-connect mind, body and world, and beyond this we have incorporated social theory and the ideas connected to “third space”, in which teaching and learning are conducted in ways, and in spaces, that bring together knowledges and skills from students, academic subject experts, and professional practitioners, in the creation of understanding. The pedagogic assertion is that OSL will bridge formal academic study with the practical, professional applications of theory in practice. OSL avoids the ”banking” model of teaching where information is programmed into students by an omniscient teacher. Traditional physical hierarchies of the seminar or lecture room are disrupted. Tutor and learners are empowered to create an atmosphere where learning takes place in learners' interactions with peers, tutors, and, not least, their own and others’ physicality. This is learning by discovery: experiential learning (Kolb 1984). OSL helps learners to develop research skills and enhance "soft skills" in areas such as responsibility, sociability, self-esteem and self-management. It addresses intelligences other than linguistic, and learning styles beyond the auditory (Gardner 1985).
Two bibliographies review the field to date:
A Bibliography of Open-space Learning, by Barry Sheils, June 2010
Enactive, Embodied and Kinaesthetic Learning in Business Studies, by Stephen Eliot Cornes, 2010
Also, Pete Kirwan interviewed Nick Monk, Jonathan Heron and Oliver Turner (all from the CAPITAL Centre) for the 'Thinking Aloud' series of podcasts about the CAPITAL Centre and the origins and practices of Open-space Learning: