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.

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.

What’s working? E21LE symposium

Information about the upcoming seminar, What’s Working? , is now available. Please click the button below to continue.

Continue to What's Working

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.