A framework for exploration of relationship between the psychosocial and physical learning environment

S. Baars, G. L.M. Schellings, S. Krishnamurthy, J. P. Joore, P. J. den Brok, P. J.V. van Wesemael

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


In order to construct a shared body of knowledge, research involving the relationship between the psychosocial learning environment (PSLE) and the physical learning environment (PLE) needs a commonly-accepted conceptual framework. By means of a thematic literature review, we collected the main aspects of the PSLE and PLE, their definitions and their relations as identified by earlier research. These findings led to a conceptual framework that structures the dimension of the PSLE into the sub-dimensions of personal development, relationships, and system maintenance and change, and the dimension of the PLE into the sub-dimensions of naturalness, individualisation, and stimulation. For each of these sub-dimensions, the framework distinguishes an intended, implemented and attained representation. A conceptual PSLE-PLE Relationship (PPR) model enables relations to be visualised. The review confirms that PSLE and PLE are interrelated in interactions between different sub-dimensions and their representations. However, evidence regarding these relationships is still weak because of the limited number of studies and their methodological limitations.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages27
JournalLearning Environments Research
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Conceptual analysis
  • Conceptual framework
  • Multidisciplinarity
  • Physical learning environment
  • Psychosocial learning environment
  • Thematic literature review

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