The affordances of innovative learning environments for deep learning: educators’ and architects’ perceptions

  • Fiona YoungEmail author
  • Benjamin Cleveland
  • Wesley Imms


Recent learning environments research conducted in Australasia reports positive correlations between innovative learning environments (ILEs) and students’ deep learning. Yet, understandings about how ILEs may support teachers’ professional practice and students’ learning activities are limited, with little research having been conducted into how different spatial affordances may—or may not—enhance opportunities for effective teaching and learning. This study investigated the affordance for learning perceptions of educators and architects with respect to the action possibilities for deep learning in both ILEs and more traditional classrooms. The study identified a taxonomy of affordances found to enhance opportunities for varied pedagogical approaches. In addition, differences were found between educators’ and architects’ perceptions of affordances for learning, revealing a need to better understand how both groups might learn to recognise and subsequently take advantage of action possibilities for deep learning.


Affordances Action possibilities Innovative learning environments (ILEs) Deep learning 



This research was supported by the Australian Research Council’s Linkage Projects funding scheme LP150100022. We would like to acknowledge the support of the Innovative Learning Environments and Teachers Change (ILETC) ARC Linkage project and the Learning Environments Applied Research Network (LEaRN) at the University of Melbourne. We also thank Dr Kenn Fisher for his valuable input into this paper.


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Copyright information

© The Australian Association for Research in Education, Inc. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Learning Environments Applied Research Network (LEaRN), Faculty of Architecture, Building and PlanningThe University of MelbourneParkvilleAustralia
  2. 2.Learning Environments Applied Research Network (LEaRN), Melbourne Graduate School of EducationThe University of MelbourneParkvilleAustralia

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