Learning environment affordances: Bridging the gap between potential, perception and practice
AffiliationArchitecture, Building and Planning
Document TypePhD thesis
Access StatusOpen Access
© 2020 Fiona Young
Over the past decade, there has been significant investment into new school buildings in Australia. This period of educational facility growth has given rise to the emergence of innovative learning environments (ILEs), spaces which exhibit a wider range of affordances for learning than traditional classrooms. Whilst ILEs are intended to offer more pedagogical opportunities for teachers and students, little is known about how the affordances of ILEs are being used. This study clarifies the concept of affordances within the context of physical learning environments, identifies how affordances are perceived by architects and teachers, and synthesises a range of strategies to support teachers to take advantage of ILE affordances to enhance deeper learning. The research is embedded within an Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Project called Innovative Learning Environments and Teacher Change (ILETC), which investigates how teachers across Australia and New Zealand can be supported to use ILEs to achieve deep learning goals for their students. This qualitative research project was conducted as two distinct studies. The first study involved investigating teachers’ and architects’ perceptions of affordances for learning across traditional and ILE spaces in five educational facilities. The second study investigated teachers’ understandings and use of affordances in support of pedagogies for deep learning. An innovative methodological pairing of participatory action research (PAR) and co-design was employed to work with teachers from two secondary schools to develop understandings of the processes by which new learning spaces can be actioned for deep learning. Data were collected through workshops, semi-structured interviews and teacher reflections. Findings show differences in the perceptions of teachers and architects with respect to learning environment affordances, with teachers found to perceive more affordances for learning than architects. A taxonomy of affordances for varied teaching and learning approaches was also identified. Furthermore, strategies were developed to support teachers to take advantage of the affordances of ILEs. These strategies related to connections between infrastructure, school organisation and teacher practice.
KeywordsAffordances; Action Possibilities; Architecture; Learning Spaces; School Design; Innovative Learning Environments; ILEs; Deep Learning; Teacher Practice; Transition; Participatory Action Research
- Click on "Export Reference in RIS Format" and choose "open with... Endnote".
- Click on "Export Reference in RIS Format". Login to Refworks, go to References => Import References