Educational Spaces 21. Open up!
on-line course


Module 0. What are learning environments?

The learning environment is based on the mutual influence exerted by four components. These are:

  • the student (who?)
  • the teacher, the community and other educators (with whom?)
  • the content (learning what?)
  • the premises, equipment and technology (where and using what?)


The so-called learning environment consists of three dimensions:

  • the physical and architectural spaces (which includes school equipment and infrastructure)
  • the virtual and technological spaces (concerned with the use of new technologies and of the Internet)
  • the social and cultural spaces (the school community, the local community and their relations with the world).


Whenever we want to change the learning environment, we have to ask ourselves why? what for?

If we are to use the same pedagogical tools in new buildings, we only change the packaging. The content remains the same.

If we want to change desk arrangement only to become more efficient in enclosing students in the old exam-based paradigm, we are not opening up the school. We are merely changing its appearance.

How should real change be like?

The most important thing is to have an idea.

It should be the beacon of change in educational spaces.


If we want our changes to be permanent and not only superficial, it is not sufficient to change just one area.

When thinking about real improvements, we need to understand that all the three educational spaces are interrelated and all modifications should be accompanied by changes in our goals and teaching methods.

GOOD ADVICE: We have to start somewhere. Before you decide which area should go first, complete the whole course. This will give you a global vision of the situation. Who knows? Maybe what you thought was an urgent problem in the social space can be solved by changes in the architectural space?


This is your first task.

Imagine that you are not limited by time or money. What does your dream school look like? What kind of teachers work there? What are the classrooms like? What about the school yard? The corridors and the lockers? What can you find in the teachers’ room? What equipment does the school have? What kind of teachers work there? What are their attributes?

What kind of students do you see there? What do you want to teach them? What can you learn from them? What competences do they have?