Making the rhetoric of learning spaces a reality


Vicky Leighton
Head of Visual Art at Churchie and PhD researcher in the Innovative Learning Environment and Teacher Change project
and The University of Melbourne


1 Learning Units (LU)

How applies to HSW:

For the past eight years, the Anglican Church Grammar School (Churchie) in partnership with the University of Melbourne’s Learning Environments Applied Research Network (LEaRN) and Brand and Slater Architects have utilized the design and evaluation of different learning spaces to drive school-wide pedagogical improvement. The partnership supported the development of an approach and evaluative methods and tools able to isolate the impact of traditional and innovative learning environments (ILEs) on teaching and learning. This work underpinned the pivotal Australian Research Council Linkage Projects “Evaluating 21st Century Learning Environments” (E21LE) and “Innovative Learning Environments and Teacher Change” (ILETC) that brings together the expertise of leading researchers and partner organizations in education, learning environment design and technology.   In this workshop, discover how the evidence base and corporate understanding developed from the partnership informed strategic building projects that drove sustained improvements in teacher practice and student learning experiences and outcomes. It will share the findings of a longitudinal empirical study that tracked the practice of a large group (n > 70) of teachers in their occupation of different Secondary years spatial layouts. A novel real-time observational metric and in-situ professional development approach illuminated how teachers of diverse beliefs, experience and subject backgrounds used (or not) the spatial affordances of traditional classrooms and ILEs for pedagogical gain. Statistical analysis of student academic outcomes correlated gain to those teachers that exploited the affordances of both digital and spatial technologies with a responsive pedagogical approach in various settings. Collectively, this presentation will provide empirical evidence to test the often postulated claim in the literature that different learning environments can either facilitate or inhibit particular student and teacher activities and behaviours.

Learning Objectives:
  • Build upon or expand on current knowledge or skills around how different physical learning environments can shape teacher pedagogical practice;
  • Learn about tested key stakeholder consultative practices and processes that inform the educational brief and aid the collective design process
  • Build upon or expand on current knowledge or skills around how different learning environment types can shape the nature of student learning experiences;
  • Acquire new knowledge or skills in contemporary methods and measures in the post-occupancy of learning spaces
Primary Competency:

Assessment of the School Facility: The ability to objectively evaluate a learning environment post-occupancy and utilize that data to improve future projects. Implements a plan for educational commissioning that provides guidance on how to use and maximize the learning environment to meet the foundational vision established in the planning phase.

Primary 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.

Secondary Domain:

Process: Content of this session/workshop will focus on the importance of quality processes and practices implemented by the project team when creating learning environments. The who, what, when and how of various disciplines and applications.