Skip to content

JELPP – Volume 32, Issue 1 (Jun 2017)

Innovative learning environments: Beginning with the concept

Jeremy Kedian1 and John West-Burnham2
1Leadership Innovation NZ, New Zealand; 2University of Worcester, United Kingdom


There is an observable trend in a number of countries, of schools moving away from the traditional or industrial modes of school organisation and leaning towards what has become known as modern or innovative learning environments (MLEs or ILEs). This has created difficulties for educational leaders who have found the change problematic. This article addresses the need to develop an appropriate and comprehensive conceptual understanding of the ILEs in order to introduce a different learning model and environment. In this model the authors use the notion of architectures to describe the process of “building” the concept. They propose the development of learning, social, thinking, futures, organisational and physical architectures. The article is speculative, yet includes appropriate theorizing. It acknowledges that the notion of ILEs is new, and requires time to be refined and embedded in existing educational systems.


Innovative / modern learning environments; learning architectures; social justice; learning; innovation in schools

The “state of play” concerning New Zealand’s transition to innovative learning environments: Preliminary results from phase one of the ILETC project

Chris Bradbeer, Marian Mahat, Terry Byers, Benjamin Cleveland, Tom Kvan and Wesley Imms
The University of Melbourne, Australia


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 anticipated pedagogical value of these “non-traditional” spaces is based on idealised visions of teaching and learning rather than empirically derived evidence. Before such complex issues can be efficiently addressed, evidence of the actual “state of play” of ILEs is required. Drawing on New Zealand specific data from a large Australasian research project, this paper triangulates principals’ opinions, teachers’ perspectives, and the literature on some key preliminary issues: what types of learning spaces can be found in New Zealand schools; what teaching styles are evident in these spaces; what pedagogical beliefs are driving ILE teaching practices; and what types of learning activities are occurring in ILEs? The paper provides an evidence-based platform for further discussion about the opportunities and challenges surrounding the use and practice
of ILEs in New Zealand.


Innovative learning environments; teacher change; deep learning; teacher mindframes; New Zealand; evidence