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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
- Improved Learning Outcomes through a Multimodal Text
September 4, 2013
Key Takeaways In a lab research study at Ball State University, Vizi Courseware's multimodal texts significantly improved student performance over traditional texts. In c…
- Partnering for Transformative Teaching
July 1, 2013
Key Takeaways Innovation in the curricula , including experimentation with technologies and learning spaces, is most likely to be effective when driven by faculty and student need…
- Creating Shared Learning Spaces: The North Quad Experience
May 6, 2013
Key Takeaways The University of Michigan's North Quadrangle Residential and Academic Complex was designed to foster experiential learning opportunities and encourage gro…
- Hallmarks of the Breakthrough Models, #1: Modular Courses
January 15, 2013
Editor’s Note: This post is the first in a series from Next Generation Learning Challenges (NGLC). Each post highlights a distinguishing design characteristic of NGLC’s recently funded Brea…
- If You Build It, Will They Come? Library Learning Spaces and Technology
November 1, 2012
Key Takeaways Like many institutions, the Shapiro Library invested in a space renovation of its lobby to support student learning by fostering collaboration, offering technology-…
- ERO Podcast: Chief of Staff for the Khan Academy, Jessica Yuen
September 5, 2012
In this podcast, we talk with Chief of Staff for the Khan Academy, Jessica Yuen. In our conversation, she discusses the Khan Academy's use of analytics, attitude toward affordability for stu…
- Executive Summary: Student Mobile Computing Practices -- Lessons Learned from Qatar
August 13, 2012
Eden Dahlstrom is a Senior Research Analyst at EDUCAUSE. Mobile computing is transforming information technology and the student learning environment in higher education. Inst…
- Virtualization Increases Institutional Knowledge of Student Learning Activities
July 18, 2012
Abelardo Pardo is Associate Professor at the University Carlos III of Madrid. Key Takeaways By asking students to install a virtual appliance (a computer within…
- Improving Retention by Identifying and Supporting "At-Risk" Students
July 18, 2012
Annika Wolff is a Research Associate and Zdenek Zdrahal is a Senior Research Fellow at the Knowledge Media Institute, The Open University. Key Takeaways Without the…
- Disrupting Ourselves: The Problem of Learning in Higher Education
March 21, 2012
Randy Bass ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) is Associate Provost and Executive Director of the Center for New Designs in Learning and Scholarship at Georgetown University. Comments on this artic…