Evolution Is not enough: Revolutionizing Current Learning Environments to Smart Learning Environments

  • Kinshuk
  • Nian-Shing Chen
  • I-Ling Cheng
  • Sie Wai Chew


Advances in technology in recent years have changed the learning behaviors of learners and reshaped teaching methods. This had resulted in several challenges faced by current educational systems, such as an increased focus on informal learning, a growing gap of prior knowledge among students in classrooms and a mismatch between individual career choices and the development of the work force. This paper looks at these challenges with a view towards revolutionizing current learning environments to smart learning environments and provides new suggestions for technological solutions. Furthermore, this paper argues for a transformation from the current learning environments to smart learning environments. This is to be achieved by reengineering the fundamental structure and operations of current educational systems to better integrate these new technologies with the required pedagogical shift. The future perspectives of smart learning environments are reviewed and shared, through examples of emerging innovations such as the flipped classroom, game based learning, gesture based learning, along with pedagogical shifts, such as life-long learning portfolio maintenance, team teaching, and separation of learning and competency assessment.


Smart learning environment Reengineering education Reorganizing schooling Pedagogical innovations Full context awareness Learning analytics Autonomous decision making 


  1. Abowd, G. D., Dey, A. K., Brown, P. J., Davies, N., Smith, M., & Steggles, P. (1999). Towards a better understanding of context and context-awareness. In H.-W. Gellersen (Ed.), Handheld and ubiquitous computing (pp. 304–307). Springer Berlin Heidelberg. Retrieved from http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/3-540-48157-5_29
  2. ASTD. (2008). Tapping the potential of informal Learning. Alexandria, VA: ASTD. Retrieved from https://www.td.org/Publications/Research-Reports/2008/2008-Tapping-the-Potential-of-Informal-Learning
  3. Bell, P., Lewenstein, B., Shouse, A. W., & Feder, M. A. (2009). Learning Science in Informal Environments: People, Places, and Pursuits. Washington, DC: National Academies Press. Retrieved from http://www.nap.edu/catalog/12190/learning-science-in-informal-environments-people-places-and-pursuits
  4. Boulanger, D., Seanosky, J., Kumar, V., Kinshuk, Panneerselvam, K., & Somasundaram, T. S. (2015). Smart Learning analytics. In G. Chen, V. Kumar, Kinshuk, R. Huang, & S. C. Kong (Eds.), Emerging issues in smart Learning (pp. 289–296). Springer Berlin Heidelberg. Retrieved from http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-662-44188-6_39
  5. Caffarella, R. S. (1993). Self-directed learning. New Directions for Adult And Continuing Education, 1993(57), 25–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chan T.-W., Roschelle J., Hsi S., Kinshuk, Sharples M., Brown T., Patton C., Cherniavsky J., Pea R., Norris C., Soloway E., Balacheff N., Scardamalia M., Dillenbour P., Looi C.-K., Milrad M., Hoppe U., & G1:1 Members (2006). One-to-one technology-enhanced learning: an opportunity for global research collaboration. Research and Practice in Technology Enhanced Learning, 1(1), 3–29.Google Scholar
  7. Chao, K. J., Huang, H. W., Fang, W. C., & Chen, N. S. (2013). Embodied play to learn: exploring kinect-facilitated memory performance. British Journal of Educational Technology, 44(5), E151–E155.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chen, H. Y. L., & Chen, N. S. (2014). Design and Evaluation of a Flipped Course Adopting the Holistic Flipped Classroom Approach. In 2014 I.E. 14th International Conference on Advanced Learning Technologies (ICALT) (pp. 627–631).Google Scholar
  9. Chen, N. S., & Fang, W. C. (2014). Gesture-Based Technologies for enhancing Learning, In The New Development of Technology Enhanced Learning (pp. 95–112). Berlin Heidelberg: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Chen, N. S., Ko, H. C., Kinshuk, & Lin, T. (2005). A model for synchronous learning using the internet. Innovations in Education And Teaching International, 42(2), 181–194.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Chen, Y., Wang, Y., Kinshuk, & Chen, N. S. (2014). Is FLIP enough? Or should we use the FLIPPED model instead? Computers & Education, 79, 16–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Cheng, I. L., Chew, S. W., & Chen, N. S. (2015). Kaleidoscopic Course: The Concept, Design, And Implementation Of The Flipped Classroom. Berlin: Springer.Google Scholar
  13. Chew, S. W., Cheng, I. L., & Chen, N. S. (2015). Yet another perspectives about designing and implementing a MOOC. Berlin: Springer.Google Scholar
  14. Clayton-Pedersen, A. R., & O’Neill, J. L. (2005). Curricula Designed to Meet 21st-Century Expectations. In Educating the net generation (P. 9.). Boulder, CO: Educause. Retrieved from http://digitalcommons.brockport.edu/bookshelf/272/
  15. Conner, M. (2008). Informal learning. Available atwww.agelesslearner.com. - Google search. Retrieved October 28, 2015, from http://marciaconner.com/resources/informal-learning/
  16. Cross, J. (2011). Informal Learning: Rediscovering the Natural Pathways That Inspire Innovation and Performance. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons. Retrieved from https://www.coe.int/t/dg4/youth/Source/Resources/Documents/2003_links_formal_NFE_en.pdf
  17. Dabbagh, N., & Kitsantas, A. (2012). Personal Learning environments, social media, and self-regulated learning: A natural formula for connecting formal and informal learning. The Internet and Higher Education, 15(1), 3–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. du Bois-Reymond, M. (2003). Study on the links between formal and non-formal education. Strasbourg: Directorate of Youth and Sport of the Council of Europe.Google Scholar
  19. Friedman, T. L. (2005). The world is flat: A brief history of the twenty-first century. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.Google Scholar
  20. Fulton, K. (2012). Upside down and inside out: Flip your classroom to improve student learning. Learning & Leading with Technology, 39(8), 12–17.Google Scholar
  21. Hastie, M., Hung, I. C., Chen, N. S., & Kinshuk (2010). A blended synchronous learning model for educational international collaboration. Innovations in Education And Teaching International, 47(1), 9–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hung, I. C., Lin, L. I., Fang, W. C., & Chen, N. S. (2014). Learning with the body: An embodiment-based learning strategy enhances performance of comprehending fundamental optics. Interacting with Computers, 26(4), 360–371. doi: 10.1093/iwc/iwu011.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hwang, G.-J. (2014). Definition, framework and research issues of smart learning environments - a context-aware ubiquitous learning perspective. Smart Learning Environments, 1(1), 4. doi: 10.1186/s40561-014-0004-5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Johnson, L., Adams, S., & Cummins, M. (2012). The 2012 horizon report. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium.Google Scholar
  25. Kaufmann, H. (2003). Collaborative augmented reality in education. Vienna, Austria: Institute of Software Technology and Interactive Systems, Vienna University of Technology.Google Scholar
  26. Kay, J. (2008). Life-long Learning, learner models and augmented cognition. In B. P. Woolf, E. Aïmeur, R. Nkambou, & S. Lajoie (Eds.), Intelligent Tutoring Systems (pp. 3–5). Berlin: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Kinshuk (2014). Roadmap for adaptive and personalized learning in Ubiquitous environments. In Ubiquitous Learning Environments and Technologies (pp. 1–13). Heidelberg: Springer.Google Scholar
  28. Kinshuk (2015). Smart learning/ecology of education/…. Personal blog. Retrieved from http://www.kinshuk.info/2015/10/smart-learning-ecology-of-education/.
  29. Kinshuk (2016). Designing adaptive and personalized learning environments (p. eISBN: 978–1-315-79549-2). New York, NY: Routledge.Google Scholar
  30. Kirschner, P. A., & van Merriënboer, J. J. (2013). Do learners really know best? urban legends in education. Educational Psychologist, 48(3), 169–183.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Kumar, V. S., Kinshuk, Dr Clemens, C., & Harris, S. (2015a). Causal Models and Big Data Learning Analytics. In Ubiquitous Learning Environments and Technologies (pp. 31–53). Heidelberg: Springer.Google Scholar
  32. Kumar, V. S., Kinshuk, D., Somasundaram, T. S., Boulanger, D., Seanosky, J., & Vilela, M. F. (2015b). Big data Learning analytics: A new perpsective. In Ubiquitous Learning Environments And Technologies (pp. 139–158). Heidelberg, Germany: Springer.Google Scholar
  33. Kumar, V., Boulanger, D., Seanosky, J., Kinshuk, Panneerselvam, K., & Somasundaram, T. S. (2014). Competence analytics. Journal of Computers in Education, 1(4), 251–270.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Leavitt, M. C. (2006). Team teaching: benefits and challenges. Stanford University’s Newsletter on Teaching, 16(1), 1–4.Google Scholar
  35. Li, B. P., Kong, S. C., & Chen, G. (2015). A study on the development of the smart classroom scale. In Emerging issues in smart learning (pp. 45–52). Heidelberg: Springer. Retrieved from http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-662-44188-6_6
  36. Malcolm, J., Hodkinson, P., & Colley, H. (2003). The interrelationships between informal and formal learning. Journal of Workplace Learning, 15(7/8), 313–318.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. McDaniel, E. A., & Colarulli, G. C. (1997). Collaborative teaching in the face of productivity concerns: the dispersed team model. Innovative Higher Education, 22(1), 19–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. McLaughlin, J. E., Roth, M. T., Glatt, D. M., Gharkholonarehe, N., Davidson, C. A., Griffin, L. M., Esserman, D. A., & Mumper, R. J. (2014). The flipped classroom: A course redesign to foster learning and engagement in a health professions school. Academic Medicine, 89(2), 236–243.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. McNeely, J. L. (2005). Using Technology as a Learning Tool, Not Just the Cool New Thing. In Educating the net generation (pp. 4.1–4.10). Boulder, Colo.: EDUCAUSE, c2005. 1 v.(various pagings): illustrations. Retrieved from http://digitalcommons.brockport.edu/bookshelf/272/
  40. Mottus, A., Kinshuk, Graf, S., & Chen, N.-S. (2015). Use of Dashboards and Visualization Techniques to Support Teacher Decision Making. In Kinshuk, & R. Huang (Eds.), Ubiquitous Learning Environments and Technologies, (pp. 181–199). Heidelberg: Springer.Google Scholar
  41. Mubin, O., Shahid, S., & Bartneck, C. (2013). Robot assisted language Learning through games: A comparison of two case studies. Australian Journal of Intelligent Information Processing Systems, 13(3), 9–14.Google Scholar
  42. Paquette, G., Mariño, O., Rogozan, D., & Léonard, M. (2015). Competency-based personalization for massive online learning. Smart Learning Environments, 2(1), 1–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Price, J. K. (2015). Transforming learning for the smart learning environment: lessons learned from the Intel education initiatives. Smart Learning Environments, 2(1), 16. doi: 10.1186/s40561-015-0022-y.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Riddle, R. (2012). MOOCs: What role do they have in higher education? Retrieved 2015, 14 October from https://cit.duke.edu/blog/2012/09/moocs-what-role-do-they-have-in-higher-education/
  45. Schilit, B., Adams, N., & Want, R. (1994). Context-aware computing applications. In Mobile Computing Systems and Applications, 1994. WMCSA 1994. First Workshop on (pp. 85–90). IEEE. Retrieved from http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpls/abs_all.jsp?arnumber=4624429
  46. Shute, V. J., & Ventura, M. (2013). Stealth assessment: Measuring and supporting learning in video games. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  47. Sitzmann, T. (2011). A Meta-analytic examination of the instructional effectiveness of computer-based simulation games. Personnel Psychology, 64(2), 489–528.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Spector, J. M. (2014). Conceptualizing the emerging field of smart learning environments. Smart Learning Environments, 1(1), 2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Tobias, S., Fletcher, J. D., & Wind, A. P. (2014). Game-based learning. In In Handbook of research on educational communications and technology (pp. 485–503). New York: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Wikipedia (n.d.). Augmented Reality. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Augmented_reality.
  51. Wirth, K. R., & Perkins, D. (2008). Learning to Learn. Retrieved from http://geology.wwu.edu/dept/faculty/hirschd/courses/2012/winter/306/handouts/learning.pdf
  52. Woolf, B. P. (2010). A Roadmap for Education Technology. Retrieved from https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-00588291/

Copyright information

© International Artificial Intelligence in Education Society 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kinshuk
    • 1
  • Nian-Shing Chen
    • 2
  • I-Ling Cheng
    • 2
  • Sie Wai Chew
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Athabasca UniversityAthabascaCanada
  2. 2.National Sun Yat-sen UniversityKaohsiungTaiwan

Personalised recommendations