Physical learning environments’ supportiveness to innovative pedagogies: students’ and teachers’ experiences

S. Baars*, G. L.M. Schellings, J. P. Joore, P. J.V. van Wesemael

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
12 Downloads (Pure)


Research into the relationship between innovative physical learning environments (PLEs) and innovative psychosocial learning environments (PSLEs) indicates that it must be understood as a network of relationships between multiple psychosocial and physical aspects. Actors shape this network by attaching meanings to these aspects and their relationships in a continuous process of gaining and exchanging experiences. This study used a psychosocial-physical, relational approach for exploring teachers’ and students’ experiences with six innovative PLEs in a higher educational institute, with the application of a psychosocial-physical relationship (PPR) framework. This framework, which brings together the multitude of PLE and PSLE aspects, was used to map and analyse teachers’ and students’ experiences that were gathered in focus group interviews. The PPR framework proved useful in analysing the results and comparing them with previous research. Previously-identified relationships were confirmed, clarified, and nuanced. The results underline the importance of the attunement of system aspects to pedagogical and spatial changes, and of a psychosocial-physical relational approach in designing and implementing new learning environments, including the involvement of actors in the discourse within and between the different system levels. Interventions can be less invasive, resistance to processes could be reduced, and innovative PLEs could be used more effectively.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)617-659
Number of pages43
JournalLearning Environments Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Higher education
  • Innovative pedagogy
  • Physical learning environment
  • Psychosocial learning environment
  • Teachers’ and students’ experiences


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