LEaRN is a multidisciplinary forum, a portal and an international network bringing together academia and industry to research, imagine and discuss physical learning environments in school, vocational, university, medical and corporate contexts.
LEaRN is based on an understanding that the built environment critically impacts the educational experiences of teachers and learners and that applied research and design of innovative learning environments will bring community benefit.
Over the past decade, LEaRN has brought together business/ industry, teaching, research, consultancy, policy/ government and academia in dynamic partnerships. Partners contribute to setting innovative research agendas, the outcomes of which are shared across the network as research is developed for feedback, engagement and collaboration.
What we do
Link national and international expertise in physical learning environments.
Develop multidisciplinary partnerships.
Create a bridge between industry and academia.
Maximise the impact of individual endeavours.
Support new knowledge development and respect its intellectual ownership.
Inform government, media and stakeholders as a peak body of expertise.
Communicate cutting-edge research.
Rearranging the way we learn
Watch how researchers are seeking to improve the way children learn by changing the way school classrooms are structured. Proudly featured as part of the Made Possible by Melbourne campaign.
Banner Image: Caulfield Grammar School Prefab Prototype, Hayball in association with LEaRN. Photo by Diana Snape.
LEaRN invites multi disciplinary research collaborations to explore issues at the intersections of learning space and technology.
LEaRN's partnerships have enabled applied research that has been informed by those working in the field. In turn, LEaRN's collaborative research projects have advanced new knowledge that has been embedded in the buildings and practices of our partners.
LEaRN's research has been funded through a number of streams in past years:
- Australian Research Council grants;
- Research contracts to address client specific research needs;
- Partner funded seed projects;
- Other Seed funding schemes.
We welcome enquiries from those interested in learning environments research.
LEaRN and associated researchers have been successful in attracting four Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage grants since 2008. These have provided the backbone to our research program.
In addition, LEaRN has been engaged by multiple partners to address a range of research issues. Highlights of these projects are outlined below.
Translational Briefing: Footscray Learning Precinct Case Study
Commissioned research project for the Department of Education and Training, State of Victoria to prepare a Translational Brief for the Footscray Learning Precinct in 2017.
Innovative Learning Environments and Teacher Change (ILETC)
An Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Project funded for four years from 2016 to 2019 led by The University of Melbourne.
Review of Standard Entitlement Frameworks for Schools & School Site Size and Outdoor Space Requirements (including Special Schools & Special Developmental Schools)
Commissioned research project for the Department of Education and Training, State of Victoria from 2015 to 2016.
Towards Effective Learning Environments in Catholic Schools (TELE)
A collaborative research initiative between Catholic Education Melbourne (CEM) and LEaRN at the University of Melbourne for three years from 2015 to 2017.
Evaluating 21st Century Learning Environments (E21LE)
An Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Project funded for four years from 2013 to 2016 led by The University of Melbourne.
Hospital Corridors: the value of informal learning spaces
A partner-informed project funded by LEaRN for one year from 2013 to 2014 led by the University of Melbourne.
Future Proofing Schools
An Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Project funded for three years from 2010 to 2012 led by the University of Melbourne.
Post Occupancy Evaluation of Learning Environments
A partner-informed project funded by LEaRN from 2011 to 2012 before evolving into a commissioned project funded by the Catholic Education Office Melbourne from 2012 to 2013.
Smart Green Schools
An Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Project funded for three years from 2008 to 2011 led by the University of Melbourne.
Homestead Regeneration Project (SSEI Module 3 – Woodleigh School)
LEaRN commissioned project to apply the SSEI Evaluation Model (developed by researchers in the faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning) at two 'homesteads' at the Woodleigh School in 2013.
The Influence of Hospital Education Spaces on the Pedagogical Activities of Medical Students and Educators
LEaRN Commissioned Project funded by the University of Melbourne (Learning and Teaching Initiatives Grant) for one year from 2011 to 2012.
From principles to practical application: Developing and sustaining innovative educational practices in innovative learning environments
A partner-informed project funded for one year from 2012 to 2013 by LEaRN to understand how schools and universities might better align practice and space.
Banner: St Mary of the Cross Primary School, Baldasso Cortese. Photo by Peter Clarke.
Transitions North America Research SymposiumEvent
Transitions Europe Research SymposiumEvent
Transitions Australasia Research SymposiumEvent
Talking Spaces 7: IntersectionsEvent
Talking Spaces 6: What Works?Event
Talking Spaces 5: Flipped FuturesEvent
Talking Spaces 4: Settings of Hospital Based EducationEvent
Talking Spaces 3: Future Proofing SchoolsEvent
Talking Spaces 2: Dissolving BarriersEvent
The ‘state of play’ concerning New Zealand’s transition to innovative learning environments: Preliminary results from phase one of the ILETC project
Bradbeer, C | Mahat, M | Byers, T | Cleveland, B | Kvan, T | Imms, W. (2017)
Driven by international trends and government policy, it is a requirement for all newly built schools in New Zealand to be designed as innovative learning environments (ILEs) with flexible learning spaces. These environments, celebrated by some for the “transformational” educational opportunities they may provide, also raise questions about whether the ...Innovative Learning Environments and Teacher Change
Impact of classroom design on teacher pedagogy and student engagement and performance in mathematics
Imms, W | Byers, T. (2017)
The development of online and virtual teaching and learning environments to augment formal face-to-face environments raises questions about the way the new communication and information (CIT) technologies are being incorporated into the on-campus environment. More importantly, this development challenges the meaning of the on-campus student learning experience. The new CITs ...Evaluating 21st Century Learning Environments
Type and Use of Innovative Learning Environments in Australasian Schools ILETC Survey 1
Imms, W | Mahat, M | Byers, T | Murphy, D. (2017)
Innovative Learning Environments (ILEs), celebrated by some for the ‘transformational’ educational opportunities they may provide, raise questions whether the anticipated pedagogical value of these ‘non-traditional’ spaces is based on idealised visions of teaching and learning rather than sound evidence. Before such complex issues can be efficiently addressed, evidence of the ...Innovative Learning Environments and Teacher Change
Working Together in the Space-Between: Pedagogy, Learning Environment and Teacher Collaboration
Bradbeer, C. (2016)
For teachers, the arrival of new generation learning environments (NGLEs) may offer the chance to do something that the predominant built infrastructure has discouraged - the opportunity to work together. Learning environment designs that deliberately group teachers, students and learning settings together signal a spatially inbuilt intentionality for teacher collaboration. ...Evaluating 21st Century Learning Environments
LEaRN's research has informed a number of courses directed at educators and designers working in the field of learning environments. These include both degree and professional education offerings.
Courses for Professionals
LEaRN holds regular and one-off events such as lectures, conferences, seminars and workshops for professionals. Some events are public whilst others are tailored towards specific research directions and partner requirements.
Courses for Students
LEaRN staff are regularly engaged with running subjects for post-graduate students at The University of Melbourne. These include cross-disciplinary electives for Masters of Architecture and Masters of Education.
Human Environments Relations
This subject illustrates the research and body of work which links human behaviour to the design of the built environment. It explores the history of the body of work with a focus on the evidence of the interaction between humans and environment with a case study focus on education and health facilities.
Building the Brief: People Process Place
The subject provides an insight into the design briefing process for a range of facilities, with the specific focus on learning and health environments. This subject examines the role of engaging with users/occupants of buildings and linking this to designers and other procurement consultants such as engineers, financial management and facility managers.
Innovative Spaces and Pedagogy
An exciting collaboration between Architecture and Arts Education, this subject examines how we should design, inhabit and maximise the use of student-centred learning spaces in schools and other educational institutions. In finding ways of maximising use of flexible learning spaces, this interdisciplinary subject introduces students to the links that should exist between new pedagogies and space.
Design Thesis: Learning Communities & Space
This studio explored the role of architectural design in creating, supporting and/or reinvigorating communities. This design studio was one of the outcomes from the Learning Communities & Space Research & Industry Forum hosted by LEaRN.