Talking Spaces 7: Intersections

Rearranging the way we learn: Designing a classroom to fit the needs of 21st century schoolkids

A wonderful new article featuring the E21LE research has just been posted on the Melbourne University, Pursuit web page.  Please see the link below to read further.

Link to article

‘What’s working?’ – Symposium video links now available



Session One: New Generation Learning Environment and Evaluation Teaching Practice

Session 1 – Presentations

Video Link

Session 1 – Discussion

Video Link

Session Two: Using Evaluation to Understand Spatial Affordance

Session 2 – Presentations

Video Link

Session 2 – Discussion

Video Link

Session Three: Gaining Evidence on Pedagogy and Space

Session 3 – Presentations

Video Link

Session 3 – Discussion (part 1)

Video Link

Session 3 – Discussion (part 2)

Video Link

Session Four: Gaining Evidence on Pedagogy and Space (2)

Session 4 – Presentations

Video Link

Closing Session

Video Link

Loreto Mandeville Centre Tour

As part of our most recent PhD workshop, the E21LE team attended the A4LE Vic Chapter Tour of the Loreto Mandeville Centre. The Mandeville Centre recently received the AIA Victorian Architecture Award for Educational Architecture. It was wonderful to be able to look around this recently completed facility and hear from the architects and staff about the functioning of the Centre and how the new design as changed teacher practices and enabled informal interactions between staff and students.

Terry Byers – PhD success

We are pleased to announce that earlier this week we received news that Terry Byers passed his PhD examination. Terry is a valued member of our team, and we are pleased to see recognition being given to the enthusiasm, dedication, and rigour that he brings to his work. Terry’s research is a valuable asset to the Learning Environment Evaluation field.
Our congratulations go out to Terry. We are very privileged to have a researcher of his calibre on our team.

BOOK RELEASE: Evaluating Learning Environments – Snapshots of Emerging Issues, Methods and Knowledge

We are pleased to announce the launch of our new book, ‘Evaluating Learning Environments: Snapshots of Emerging Issues, Methods and Knowledge’, edited by Wesley Imms, Benjamin Cleveland, and Kenn Fisher.  This book is now available through Sense publishers, or by contacting the E21LE team.

The recent trend in innovative school design has provided exciting places to both learn and teach. New generation learning environments have encouraged educators to unleash responsive pedagogies previously hindered by traditional classrooms, and has allowed students to engage in a variety of learning experiences well beyond the traditional ‘chalk and talk’ common in many schools. These spaces have made cross-disciplinary instruction, collaborative learning, individualised curriculum, infused technologies, and specialised equipment more accessible than ever before. The quality of occupation of such spaces has also been encouraging. Many learning spaces now resemble places of collegiality, intellectual intrigue and comfort, as opposed to the restrictive and monotonous classrooms many of us experienced in years past.

These successes, however, have generated a very real problem. Do these new generation learning environments actually work – and if so, in what ways? Are they leading to the sorts of improved experiences and learning outcomes for students they promise? This book describes strategies for assessing what is actually working. Drawing on the best thinking from our best minds – doctoral students tackling the challenge of isolating space as a variable within the phenomenon of contemporary schooling – Evaluating Learning Environments draws together thirteen approaches to learning environment evaluation that capture the latest thinking in terms of emerging issues, methods and knowledge.

What’s Working?

We would like to extend a warm thank you to all who attended What’s Working? on Friday 3rd June. Over the course of the seminar, 14 PhD candidates presented their research, with topics ranging from learning environment design and teacher practice, spatial affordance and effect, to gaining evidence on pedagogy and space. Our 4 interlocutors combined their rich field experience to create a stimulating discussion surrounding each topic area, combined with strong audience participation in the discussion. If you would like to read about our presenters, you can download a copy of the What’s Working program from this page.

Video for this event will shortly be available online, so stay tuned to e21le website for updates.

What’s Working? Programme now available


The seminar program for What’s Working? is now available for download. Inside you’ll find details about each presenter and their research focus, as well as the schedule for the day.

What’s Working Program


Terry Byers PhD Completion Presentation Video

Terry Byers PhD completion seminar Evaluating the Effects of Different Classroom Spaces on Teaching and Learning, was held on Thursday 19 May 2016. The video from his presentation is now available to watch online below, and alternatively by following the link here.

Terry Byers – PhD Completion Seminar

We are pleased to announce the upcoming PhD completion Seminar for Terry Byers. 

Evaluating the Effects of Different Classroom Spaces on Teaching and Learning

Principal Supervisors: Associate Professor Wesley Imms
Co-supervisor: Elizabeth Hartnell Young

Advisory Chair: Dr Christine Redman


When: Thursday 19 May 2016, 2pm

Where: Q.372 Level 3, Kwong Lee Dow Building (234 Queensberry St)



How do you determine if expensive contemporary classroom and school designs have any impact on student learning?  Over $14B has been spent recently on so-called  ‘innovative learning environments’ where flexible classrooms, ’smart furniture’, and ubiquitous ICT combine to theoretically allow a more collaborative, student-centred learning space.  But do theses spaces actually work?  The consensus is that education has largely failed to effectively isolate ‘space’ as a variable when assessing the impact of learning environments.  This thesis, conducted within the 2014 – 2016  Evaluation of 21st Century Learning Environments ARC Linkage Project (Imms, Kvan, Dinham and Fisher) has produced empirical evidence to advance understanding of the relationship between the physical learning environment and teaching and learning. Its novel approach isolated the impact of different layouts and determined a statistical influence on students and teachers. The evidence suggests that when assessing the pedagogical impact of any learning environment, how it is inhabited is at least as important as its design. A teacher’s environmental competency was identified as a mediator in the pedagogical performance of any space.