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.