"Not reinventing the wheel" and "overcoming distances" are the two paradigms underlying the planned open laboratory network LabNet. 

Grafik LabNet

Bildquelle: Robert Michler / Malvina Lubec 2022

Project description

Initial situation and objective

Medialabs and especially Maker Spaces are learning spaces that often require special hardware or software. Thus, the operation of a medialab or maker space is costly. If we want to offer a certain range of services, high investments are necessary and a suitable infrastructure, especially in terms of space, is required. Once a medialab or maker space has been set up, the throughput is relatively low because in-struction sessions have to be held or devices such as 3D printers work relatively slowly. If a user wants to visit a Medialab or Maker Space, a suitable location must be found and visited. This requires exten-sive planning, especially in the school environment, and a lot of time must be invested. The problem can be alleviated if existing Medialabs and Maker Spaces join together to form a loose network, a distribut-ed Medialab, and offer, for example, the following services:

  1. making offers developed at one location available at other locations in the media lab. As much information and offers as possible should be available online or virtually.
  2. collaboration between the different Medialabs and Maker-Spaces should primarily take place through hybrid communication. The necessary travel to and from the Maker-Spaces is no longer necessary, which increases the potential group of participants.
  3. offering courses that are distributed across different locations
  4. virtual maker space: remote access to devices and experiments

A corresponding distributed Medialab would follow the paradigm of "not reinventing the wheel and over-coming distances". Especially for schools outside the city of Bern it is a bigger effort to participate in events of the PHBern or to use them. For them, a distributed Medialab could offer a solution, since a distributed Medialab would reduce the presence time of events or offers to the necessary and substan-tial. This could also improve the equality of opportunity with regard to school locations.

What is a distributed Medialab?

At the moment, there are no fixed ideas and definitions of what a distributed Medialab could look like and which areas of responsibility could be addressed. The definitions and ideas depend heavily on the institutions, their areas of responsibility and primary target groups. A Distributed Medialab can be an open, loose association and should not be limited to BeLEARN universities. There are easier opportuni-ties for cooperation between universities with a similar focus and target audience. In addition, the Dis-tributed Medialab should be open to non-universities, such as associations and companies.

Initial considerations and developments in a Distributed Medialab could be, for example, the development of different settings towards hybrid communication, such as the transmission of a running device via video. The settings must be as low-threshold and mobile as possible and support creative work. Furthermore, it is especially important for a maker space to consider which elements of a service can be provided online without any relevant loss of quality and which elements require a presence.

Target group

At universities, this includes staff, students, vocational trainers and teachers. However, learning part-ners, students, pupils and parents should also be considered.

BeLEARN Booster Project

Researchers from the Digital Transformation Network of the PHBern, the BFH and the EPFL have joined forces in a BeLEARN Booster project to find answers to the three key questions by the end of 2022:

1. what are the users' expectations and needs of LabNet?

2. what new application scenarios does the LabNet enable?

3. how can the LabNet be organised in a low-threshold way?

and to present and discuss the answers in two open workshops at the end of 2022.

Cooperation partner



Leiter Think Tank Medien und Informatik
Think Tank Medien und Informatik
Think Tank Medien und Informatik
Institut für Weiterbildung und Dienstleistungen


April 2022 – December 2022