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The introduction of information technologies into teaching and learning prompted educators to reexamine the spaces where learning takes place and to design new learning spaces that take fuller advantages of the possibilities that technology offers. The work done on learning spaces has been extremely valuable and serves as the foundation for an expanded look at other factors that affect learning and the context in which learning spaces exist. Those factors include space, but a broader look at the conditions and circumstances of learning reveals that learning is equally influenced by people, by technology and the resources it affords access to, and by the cultural backdrop against which learning takes place. These elements come together in a new, broader discussion of learning environments, which builds on the resources and knowledge generated about learning spaces.
The term learning environment encompasses learning resources and technology, means of teaching, modes of learning, and connections to societal and global contexts. The term also includes human behavioral and cultural dimensions, including the vital role of emotion in learning, and it requires us to examine and sometimes rethink the roles of teachers and students. The focus on information technology in education is expanding from the enhancement of learning spaces to include factors beyond hardware, software, and the network. The learning environment is a composite of human practices and material systems, much as an ecology is the combination of living things and the physical environment.
Articles and Reports
- Bridging the Gap: Building a Learning Environment in the Workplace, ELI paper, February 2014. Workplaces don’t typically look like ideal learning environments. That gap reflects a way of thinking that is being replaced with a vision of workplaces designed to be learning organizations. Closing that gap can be a challenge, however, and this paper describes nine elements of learning and explores how and to what extent they appear in most workplaces.
- The Connected Learning Environment, EDUCAUSE Brief, July 2013. This brief describes three hallmark characteristics of connected learning and provides several examples that illustrate each characteristic.
- Privacy Considerations in Cloud-Based Teaching and Learning Environments, ELI White Paper, November 2010.
- The following EDUCAUSE Quarterly Magazine themed issues contain various articles on Learning Enviroments;
- Making the Case for Space: Three Years of Empirical Research on Learning Environments, EDUCAUSE Quarterly, Vol. 33, No. 3, 2010
- Reflections on Play, Pedagogy, and World of Warcraft, EDUCAUSE Quarterly, Vol. 33, No. 3, 2010
- Eight Simple Ways to Embrace the "Froom", EDUCAUSE Quarterly, Vol. 32, No. 4, 2009
- Learning Environments: Where Space, Technology, and Culture Converge, ELI white paper, October 2009
- ELI 7 Things You Should Know About...
- Active Learning Classrooms Pilot Evaluation: Fall 2007 Findings and Recommendations, University of Minnesota, 2007. Report and Web Site
- New Learning Environments for the 21st Century, John Seely Brown, Aspen Symposium 2005
- EDUCAUS Learning Initiative 2010 Annual Meeting, "Learning Environments for a Web 2.0 World"
- EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative 2009 Online Fall Focus Session, "Flattening the Classroom: Building Collaborative Learning Environments"
- EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative 2008 Fall Focus Session, "Revisting Learning Space Design"
Conference Sessions, Videos, and Web Seminars
- The Future of Learning Environments, EDUCAUSE Video, July 2010
- Building Best Practices for Data-Driven Assessment of Technology-Enabled Learning Spaces, ELI Annual Meeting, January 2010.
- Stanford University's Wallenberg Hall: Looking Back, Looking Forward, ELI Annual Meeting, January 2010.
- Clickers and Peer Instruction: A Powerful Way to Improve Student Engagement and Learning, but Only If You Do It Right, ELI Web Seminar, October 05, 2009
- A Space of One's Own: Learning Environments Derived from User-Centered Discovery Techniques, EDUCAUSE Live!, November 21, 2008
- Guidelines for Implementing Authentic Tasks in Web-Based Learning Environments, ELI Web Seminar, November 3, 2008
- Creating Learning Environments that Promote Active Learning, Critical Thinking, Collaborative Learning, and Knowledge Creation, A Solutions in Action Webcast, September 21, 2009
- Powerful But Not a Panacea: Virtual Worlds as a Tool for Situational Learning, ELI Web Seminar, February 19, 2008
- Assessing What Students Learn in Technology-Based Learning Environments, ELI Web Seminar, September 15, 2006
Library Items on this Topic
EDUCAUSE Library Items for Learning Environments
- Fostering a Place for Invention and Creation: Two Approaches to Makerspaces on Campus
October 28, 2013
Learn how two institutions provide space for fabrication and collaboration with access to advanced tools such as 3D printers and laser cutters. Case Western Reserve University's thin…
- The Annual ECAR Student and IT Study
November 12, 2013
A session at the EDUCAUSE LIVE! - The Annual ECAR Student and IT Study
The EDUCAUSE Center for Analysis and Research (ECAR) conducts an annual study about undergraduates' technology experiences and expectations in higher education. The results of this study pro…
- Introducing the Learning Space Toolkit
November 19, 2012
Join the ELI’s Malcolm Brown, director, and Veronica Diaz, associate director, as they moderate this webinar on the Learning Space Toolkit project. The toolkit is a freely available resourc…
- Digital Badges and Meaningful Microcredentials
October 15, 2012
We will explore how informal and nontraditional learning environments are impacting how we think about education. In particular, we'll discuss peer-to-peer learning trends and unpack the nee…
- From Standardized to Personalized: A Trajectory for Mobile Learning
August 6, 2012
Join the ELI’s Malcolm Brown, director, and Veronica Diaz, associate director, as they moderate this webinar with William Rankin. For almost five centuries, our educational structures and pract…
- Spotlight on Mobile Computingâ€”Evaluating a Campus-Wide Mobile Learning Initiative: Lessons Learned from ACU's First Three Years
February 17, 2011
Abilene Christian University continues to explore innovative uses of mobile technologies in higher education. Deploying devices to all underclassmen has created unique opportunities to assess the…
- Spotlight on Mobile Computing: Stories of Mobile Learning
January 21, 2011
The University of Maryland is in its third year of a mobility initiative that has encompassed everything from student recruitment to app development to class projects. This session will focus on …
- GLEANing the Socialscape: Graziadio's Learning Environment and Network
April 5, 2010
At Pepperdineâ€™s Graziadio School of Business and Management, GLEAN is a â€œpersonal collection of online tools to learn, gather, discover, and form insights, bit by bit.â€ Powered…
- Team-Based Learning: Small Group Learning's Next Big Step
March 8, 2010
CAUTION: Group assignments can and, all too often, do more harm than good. The most common sign of trouble is when students (especially the better ones) feel like they must choose between doing m…
- What Happened to the Computer Lab?
February 3, 2010
Over 80 percent of respondents to the annual ECAR study of undergraduate students report owning laptops, yet usage of expensive public computer labs remains high. Although computer labs might sti…