What’s working? E21LE symposium

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Call for Abstracts: What’s working?: Informing education theory, design and practice through learning environment evaluation

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Abstract Submission Form

Now into its third year, the International LEaRN Graduate Research Symposium was established to showcase the best of contemporary graduate research in learning environment evaluation.
Hosted by the Evaluating 21st Century Learning Environments research project (E21LE), in conjunction with the University of Melbourne’s *Learning Environments Applied Research Network (LEaRN), the forum is breaking new ground in conceptualising how new generation learning environments can be evaluated for their effectiveness.  This year, the Symposium explores the theme of ‘What’s working? Informing educational theory, design and practice through learning environment evaluation’.

Current or recently completed RHD students are now invited to submit papers for this event. In June 2016, ‘What’s Working?’, will present those instances where innovative school designs are proving to be effective, and will critique or explore the evaluation strategies that provide translational evidence of that success.  Contributors to this symposium will address the simple question; ‘What is working in learning environment design and occupation, and how does this success inform future best practices?’

Symposium topics
Abstracts are invited from all research higher degree students (Masters or Doctorates) working in this or closely related fields.
Topics may include, but are not limited to:
•    The nature of learning environment evaluation, its approaches and purposes.
•    How spaces are conceptualised and designed to address the needs of future learners;
•    How space can inform pedagogy, and vice versa;
•    How spaces ‘work’ in terms of their technical or physical performance;
•    Evidence-based facility design;
•    Data collection – informing how new learning spaces are occupied and inhabited over the long term;
•    How evaluation informs function, and vice versa;

Accepted papers will address how well considered evaluation extends, beyond the particular school or education site, the learning environments knowledge embedded in topics listed above.

Submission of abstracts
Post graduate researchers are invited to submit abstracts for blind peer review.  Abstracts will be selected based on academic merit, and their capacity to inform learning environment research and evaluation issues. Abstracts should be of no more than 250 words and should be submitted via the abstract submission link attached by the 6th of May, 2016.

Abstract Submission Form

Further information
For further information about the symposium, including contacts, abstract submission and registration details, please visit

Call for Abstracts Flyer

What's Working? Portal

IDEAS EXCHANGE: PhD Workshop 1, 2016

PhD workshop 1-2016-BW

Recently the E21LE team held the first PhD workshop for 2016. The workshops brought together E21LE’s PhD candidates, in conjunction with some of the interstate and international PhD candidates affiliated with LEaRN. It was a very productive day all round, and it was great to have such a collaborative environment and valuable ideas exchange around Learning Environments research.

For the dates of upcoming PhD workshops, please see our events page.

New book publication – ‘Evaluating Learning Environments: Snapshots of Emerging Issues, Methods and Knowledge’



‘Evaluating Learning Environments: Snapshots of Emerging Issues, Methods and Knowledge’, edited by Wesley Imms, Benjamin Cleveland, and Kenn Fisher is currently in-press with Sense Publishers and will be available shortly for purchase.

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.

New Book Publication: The Translational Design of Schools

Dr Kenn Fisher’s new book ‘The Translational Design of Schools: An Evidence-Based Approach to Aligning Pedagogy and Learning Environments’ is now available through Sense Publishing.

The book examines contemporary research within the emerging, evidence-based translational design approach (EBD) to learning environments research.  For more information, please see the attached flyer.

The Translational Design of Schools – Flyer

New Generation Learning Space Design 2016

Members of our research team were recently invited to present at the New Generation Learning Space Design conference.  Held at the Woodward Conference Centre at the University of Melbourne, the 2 day conference brought together industry leaders across a range of professional domains involved in the design, implementation, evaluation and use of innovative learning environments.  Dr Wesley Imms, Professor Tom Kvan, Dr Ben Cleveland, Associate Professor Kenn Fisher and a long list of researchers connected with the Learning Environments Applied Research Network (LEaRN) were featured speakers at the event, presenting on a range of topics from ‘Innovative Pedagogical Practice in New Learning Environments’ and ‘Utilising innovative Learning Environments to Improve Teaching Skills’ through to ‘Designing Innovative Spaces to Increase Student Engagement’.

For more information about past or future presentations and the research being conducted by the E21LE and LEaRN team, please contact us via the contacts page on this website.

Does the space make a difference?

Terry Byers and Wesley Imms recently published “Does the space make a difference? Empirical retrospective of the impact of the physical learning environment on teaching and learning evaluated by the New Generation Learning Spaces Project.”  The publication provides an overview of the approaches, methods and results from recent research conducted at Anglican Church Grammar School in collaboration with the University of Melbourne’s ‘Evaluating 21st century Learning Environments’ research project and ‘Learning Environments Applied Research Network’ (LEaRN). 

Research conducted at the Anglican Church Grammar School, sought evaluate the impact of the physical learning environment on teaching and learning.  For more information, visit our publications page and download the publication.

Publication Link

Research by the E21LE and LEaRN team was recently featured in Atrium.

The latest edition of Atrium features an article on the research being conducted by Terry Byers as part of the Evaluating 21st Century Learning Environments research project, as well as an article by Ben Cleveland on ‘Researching Effective Learning Spaces’.  To read these articles, and others on learning environments research, click on the link below.

E21LE Newsletter 2: October 2015

The October 2015 E21LE newsletter is now available for download.

E21LE October 2015 newsletter.pdf

Terrains Proceedings Hard copy Now Available

Terrains 2015 is now available in hard copy. Please contact Heather Day Mitcheltree for all enquiries.