A Quick(er) Transition – Research-Based Strategies for Making a Holistic Shift from Traditional to ‘Innovative’ Facilities


Raechel French
DLR Group


1.5 Learning Units (LU)

How applies to HSW:

Many schools today are trading in their identical classroom model for activity-driven, technology-infused spaces allowing for movement and variety in the learning experience. However, changing space is easier than changing practice.  As an extension of the ongoing Innovative Learning Environments and Teacher Change (ILETC) research project out of Melbourne, Australia, this session will share research case studies of schools in Australia, New Zealand, and the United States that have supplemented their new designs with initiatives to align teaching practices, organizational structures, and leadership with the intended vision. Such initiatives are crucial for resiliency of the intended shift in practice and efficacy of the design. Specific examples of strategies and tools for designers, educators, and school leaders will be explored and participants will have the opportunity to apply some of these lessons to their own struggles with making the shift. On-going ILETC research findings on the link between space design and teaching and learning will also be shared.

Learning Objectives:
  • Learn and apply specific, global examples of strategies for successful school change in the context of new facilities, applicable for designers, educators, and school leaders;
  • Experience the power of a holistic effort in creating a resilient school culture and successfully inhabiting multi-modal, student-centered facilities
  • Hear evidence regarding the link between innovative learning environments, teacher mind frames, and student deep learning;
  • Awareness of valuable international research collaborations and the impact these can have on school systems and facilities in the United States
Primary Competency:

Design of Educational Facilities: Acts as a resource to the design team in providing ongoing guidance and support to ensure that the emerging and ultimate design aligns with the established community vision, education goals, future programming, written design standards, best/next practices and education policy.

Primary Domain:

Toolbox: Content of this session/workshop will focus on the approaches, methods and applications when transitioning from design and concept into reality, actual existence through quality performance, execution and/or product.

Secondary Domain:

Learning: Content of this session/workshop will focus on how we learn and/or how the physical environment responds specifically to various methods of instruction, pedagogies, learning styles, or learning trends.

Additional information: The goals of this sessions are to:   1) Highlight international research of which Learning Environments Australasia is a formal partner.  2) Share ongoing research findings in a way in which is applicable to participants. Research is useless if hidden in an academic journal and the goal of this interactive workshop is to share findings and allow participants the ability to apply them to their own context. The session is especially relevant for school designers/planners, educators, and school leaders but the information provided can inform the process of all stakeholders in school design.  3) The voice from a US school representative is crucial to bridge the gap from the Australian context to the United States. Due to acknowledgement of research ethics protocol and anonymity of participants, I could not specify the specific US participant that will co-present at this time. This will be provided upon acceptance.