Design learning space

It is important that you plan, prototype and test the space carefully before investing heavily in a 'final' product.

Key questions

  • What is the best way to plan the space and who can be involved in this process?
  • What are the constraints for developing your desired space and how can you overcome these constraints?
  • What funding is required to redesign the space and how will you finance it?

Tips for designing learning space

  • Remain focused on the educational model, identify desired learning or learning problems you are trying to address.
  • Engage all users in the ideation phase. See for some ideation strategies.
  • Plan and prototype a space using digital or physical models or drawings.
  • Work towards a realistic budget.
  • Explore available product options. See the procurement (staff only) website for details on catalogues and how to purchase.

For registered professional learning to guide you through the learning space design process, attend Flexible Learning Space by Design or Flexible Learning Space by Design (online).


A broad understanding of an innovative learning environment can be understood as:

  • Learner-centred - focus of all activities.
  • Structured and well designed - role of teachers in supporting inquiry and autonomous learning.
  • Profoundly personalised - sensitive to individual and group differences in terms of background, prior knowledge, motivation and abilities.
  • Inclusive - sensitive to individual and group differences in terms of learning needs.
  • Social - learning most effective when cooperative and in-group settings (Blackmore, Bateman, O'Mara, & Loughlin, 2011).

As a basic requirement, flexible learning spaces should provide sound acoustics, lighting, technology, heating and air quality. Flexible learning spaces should allow teachers to structure multiple learning areas and activities so students can learn at an appropriate level to their own development. The spaces should also be designed to support the use of digital technologies, working together across traditional student groups and problem solving (Ministry of Education).

Whole-school factors do not seem to be anywhere near as important as the design of individual classrooms (Barrett, et al. 2015). Evidence suggests that the physical characteristics of primary schools do impact on pupils' learning progress in reading, writing and mathematics. This impact is quite large, explaining 16% of the variation in the overall progress over a year of the 3677 pupils included in the study (Barrett, et al. 2015).

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