[The following is an excerpt from TrustED®: The Bridge to School Improvement]
Chad P. Wick, president and CEO of the KnowledgeWorks Foundation, states, “You can’t expect children to learn 21st-century skills in schools built for the 1950s. We need schools designed for 21st-century success.” Some would argue that the learning environment’s meaning and function are minimal, as related to the traditional brick and mortar school. Projects such as the widely successful Hole-in-the-wall Project, where students accomplish exceptional learning levels, is far from ideal surroundings, suggests that students learn in any setting – and to a certain extent, that is quite true.
Yet, surroundings do matter, and there is a great deal of research behind that conclusion. An overwhelming amount of research also shows the best learning environments are not traditional lecture halls and factory-style rooms with rows and rows of desks.
“During the 1990s, the rise of constructivism and its associated theories in psychology and education represented a paradigm shift for educators and instructional designers to a view of learning that is necessarily more social, conversational, and constructive than traditional transmissive views of learning. These contemporary learning theories are based on substantively different ontologies and epistemologies than were traditional transmissive views of learning.” (Jonassen and Lund, 2012)
The most meaningful and functional learning environments today foster and support students in the process of constructing their learning. Students are not empty vessels awaiting knowledge and wisdom transmitted from the teacher. They are active learners.
Learning environments contribute to the school’s objectives when they are student rather than teacher-centered… [continue reading]