Learning Environments Research

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In this article, I report a two-year study of working closely with science teachers and examining perceptions of Year 9 (12–13 year olds) students in 13 New Zealand secondary schools. The Constructivist Learning Environment Survey (CLES) was used. The questionnaire was administered to 327 students in the first year and 362 students in the second year to find out their perceptions of their preferred learning environments in order to compare this with their perceptions of the actual situation. The data were used to plan improvements in learning environments through a teacher professional learning process by redesigning programmes and encouraging changes in students’ classroom behaviours. Co-constructive learning strategies and reshaping of lessons to include current topics were used as tools to encourage students’ expression of opinions, personal relevance and shared control in their learning. After each subsequent year-long intervention, the CLES was re-administered to reveal that there had indeed been an improvement. The research is distinctive because it is a learning environment study in New Zealand schools examining students’ psychosocial perceptions related to their first-year experiences of science at the secondary level.
 
Between 2015 and 2018, a university in the Mountain West region of the United States piloted a mathematics intervention supported by the U.S. Department of Education’s Strengthening Institutions Program (SIP). Designed to improve outcomes of undergraduates taking Algebra and Pre-Calculus courses, the intervention applied pedagogical and delivery practices founded in self-efficacy theory and mathematics mindset utilizing peer tutors in the classroom. Using hierarchical linear modelling, we compared outcomes of SIP (n = 325) and non-SIP (n = 2727) students while controlling for teaching and classroom characteristics and student background characteristics. Students enrolled in College Algebra were three times as likely to pass if they were enrolled in the SIP intervention section (Odds Ratio = 3.1). Pre-Calculus students enrolled in the intervention had approximately the same likelihood of passing as students in traditional instruction, but final examination scores were significantly higher for SIP students. Our research suggests that the SIP intervention played a role in improving student performance in both courses. Program successes and challenges for implementation are also presented.
 
Scree plot with eigenvalues
The New What Is Happening In this Class questionnaire (NWIHIC) was constructed based on Moos’s scheme for human environments. The sample consisted of 2280 students from elementary and secondary schools (grades 5–9). The data were analyzed using SPSS26 and AMOS software version 25. Principal components factor analysis with oblique rotation, as well as convergent and discriminant validity analyses, revealed a strong structure of the questionnaire (χ2 = 3104.307; χ2/dƒ = 2.69; RMR = 0.038; RMSEA = 0.027; GFI = 0.947; AGFI = 0.937; NFI = 0.956; TLI = 0.968; IFI = 0.972; CFI = 0.972). As a result, eight factors emerged: student cohesiveness, teacher support, involvement, task orientation, cooperation, equity, differentiated instruction, and ongoing assessment. Moreover, significant gender and grade differences were also found.
 
Hypothesized relationship between learning environment, academic motivation, learning strategies and student engagement
The current work focused on how the learning environment of college students influenced their academic motivation, choice of learning strategies, and level of engagement in the classroom. The study is important because these variables are known to contribute to student achievement and success. Using a cross-sectional predictive design, a total of 1002 college students participated in the research by answering four standardized scales (college and university classroom environment inventory, academic motivation scale, motivated strategies for learning questionnaire and student course engagement questionnaire). The learning environment was positively related to college students’ academic motivation [F (9,1001) = 14.645, R2 = .117, p < .05], [F (9,1001) = 21.202, R2 = .161, p < .05], the choice of learning strategies [F (9,1001) = 11.268, R2 = .093, p < .05], [F (9,1001) = 21.738, R2 = .165, p < .05] and the level of student engagement [F (9,1001) = 17.350, R2 = .136, p < .05].
 
In learning environments research, limited attention has been paid to the effects of the family environment on student thinking. This study constructed a five-dimension survey of the family environment, based on previous studies of the classroom learning environment, and used it to compare the effects of the family environment and the classroom learning environment associated with an interdisciplinary course (i.e., Liberal Studies) on the critical thinking disposition of 2189 secondary students in Hong Kong. Stepwise regression revealed that: the overall effects of the classroom learning environment of Liberal Studies on critical thinking disposition were greater than those of the family environment; the content-oriented dimensions of both environments were stronger predictors of critical thinking disposition than the relationship-oriented dimensions of both environments; and the effect of the dimension of challenging task on critical thinking disposition was stronger than that of other pedagogy-oriented dimensions. Also the means of all dimensions of the family environment were significantly lower than those of the corresponding dimensions of the classroom learning environment. It is suggested that more effort should be made to enhance both classroom learning environment and family environment to generate convergent forces to efficiently cultivate students’ critical thinking.
 
Mean item scores for Relaxed, Virtuous and Worried clusters of students
Research courses are part of many higher education curricula. However, students’ attitudes towards statistics and research courses tend to be negative. One way to measure students’ attitude is with the Revised-Attitudes Towards Research scale (R-ATR). The current study examined: (1) the internal reliability of the R-ATR, (2) the attitude of Dutch second-year architecture students towards research courses, and (3) whether attitude is related to age and gender. It was found that the R-ATR has good internal reliability and that Dutch second-year architecture students’ attitude towards research courses is reasonably favorable. Students generally acknowledge the usefulness of research courses and do not feel anxious, but find them stressful and difficult to some extent and do not enjoy them. Further analyses showed three types of students: relaxed students, virtuous students and worried students, who each require a different approach to improving their attitude towards research courses. No relationship emerged between attitude and age or gender, but female students considered research courses somewhat more useful. Providing a research-friendly, enjoyable, and supportive environment might improve students’ attitude towards research courses.
 
Examples of a lecture-theatre space (left) and a new collaborative learning and teaching space (right) recently added at the study campus. The collaborative learning and teaching spaces provide both small- and large-group collaboration during class time, technology to support multiple types of learning activities, and mobile round tables. In contrast, the lecture-theatre space has fixed seats in rows with a single projector and dual screens at the front of the classroom
Percentage of students enrolled in each of two teaching and learning spaces who identify as women as a percentage of total students enrolled in the given space.
Comparison of average percentage time allocations to different instructor behaviors between rooms (Note: percentages do not add to 100% because coding allows multiple behavior tags for each block of observed time.)
Responses to clicker questions regarding factors influencing classroom enrollment. a) Importance of the time of class, b) Importance of class location and/or distance of travel, c) Importance of the type of classroom, d) Importance of friend and/or peer recommendations, e) Importance of extracurricular group, department, or advisor recommendations, f) Identification of the enrolled section as the student’s first choice. (CLT = collaborative learning and teaching, LT = lecture-theater)
Student success in each course section measured by average GPA earned and percentage earning D, F, or DFW (withdrawn from course).
Instruction based on active learning is being promoted in higher education by the creation of new collaborative teaching and learning spaces, but capacity does not yet exist for all courses to be held in these new spaces. In this study, we examined how students choose between sections of the same course, with the same materials and techniques used by the same instructor, delivered in a collaborative teaching and learning space compared with a lecture-theater space. We also measured how the factors used in enrollment decision-making, and the subsequent learning experiences in the chosen environment, are associated with student attitudes related to learning chemistry. We collected student survey data from undergraduate students enrolled in Organic Chemistry II using items from the Colorado Learning Attitudes toward Science Survey for Chemistry and questions about the enrollment process. Students also responded to in-class prompts at the end of the semester about several different factors that could have influenced their decision to enroll in their section of the course. We combined these student responses with other data to create structural equation models for how the design of the teaching and learning space is associated with decision-making factors or attitudes about learning chemistry. Our models showed correlations among space enrollment, aspects of student identity, decision-making factors, and attitudes toward learning chemistry. These results suggest that students are self-sorting between the various learning spaces, which demonstrates a need for further research into the drivers of these sorting patterns over time.
 
Proposed research model
Measurement invariance
With the rapid progress of technological development, self-efficacy in reference to digital devices (i.e., information and computer technology [ICT] self-efficacy) is an important driver that helps students to deal with technological problems and support their lifelong learning processes. Schools, peers, and home learning environments are important sources for the development of positive self-efficacy. Expanding on previous research, we investigated the associations between different aspects of the digital home learning environment and students’ ICT self-efficacy. The moderation effects of gender were also tested. A total of 651 children answered a questionnaire about different digital home learning environment dimensions and estimated their ICT self-efficacy using an adapted scale—Schwarzer and Jerusalem’s (1999) general self-efficacy scale. Using the structural equation modeling technique, a digital home learning environment containing six different qualities of parental support was investigated. Families’ cultural capital, parents’ attitudes toward the Internet, and shared Internet activities at home contributed positively to ICT self-efficacy. We observed small gender differences, with the moderation effect being nonsignificant. The results help researchers and practitioners to understand how different dimensions of the digital home learning environment support ICT self-efficacy. We will discuss how parents can enhance the home learning environment and how teachers can integrate this knowledge into formal education.
 
Average item mean, average item standard deviation and difference between learning environments before and after pandemic-related disruption (ANOVA results and Cohen's d effect size) for each WIHIC scale
When the 2020 semester began in the USA in January, it was unimaginable that the near-total closure of educational system across the globe would become the new normal. To mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus, teaching faculty hastily converted to an online learning environment in order for instruction to continue. This mixed-methods study used the What Is Happening In this Class? (WIHIC) questionnaire and analysis of student course evaluations to explore changes in student perceptions of learning environments from before to after the switch to remote learning because of the pandemic. Students perceived a statistically-significant decline in student cohesiveness, teacher support, involvement, task orientation and equity, with the largest decline of 0.56 standard deviations occurring for student cohesiveness. Qualitative comments illuminated reasons for these declines and suggested ways to mitigate declines in the future.
 
Standardized estimates of the CFA 6-factor model (Question numbers correspond to items in Table 1.)
School climate measures are important tools that assist educators in evaluating the “norms, values, and expectations that support people feeling socially, emotionally and physically safe” (National School Climate Council, 2007, p. 4). Positive school climate is associated with academic performance indicators such as grade point average, achievement-related markers such as school satisfaction and identification, and student mental health and psychosocial outcomes. In Mongolia, no school climate measures have been developed or translated and evaluated for use in Mongolian schools. We adapted and validated of the What’s Happening in This School (WHITS), a self-report measure for secondary schools, for use in Mongolia. After conducting a thorough literature review, we selected, translated and administered the WHITS to 1,471 students in grades 8–12 at seven schools in three of the largest cities in Mongolia. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses confirmed a six-factor structure that includes 36 of the original 48 items. The adapted measure, WHITS-Mongolia, is reliable and valid for use in Mongolian secondary schools. This study underscores the importance of evaluating the utility and validity of specific measures within a country.
 
Model for interpersonal teacher behaviour. Adapted from Wubbels and Brekelmans (2005)
This qualitative study explored Hong Kong students’ views and reactive emotions towards interpersonal teacher behaviour in their classrooms. Fifteen focus-group interviews were conducted with 69 secondary-school students. Content analysis was performed to identify main themes. Cultural similarities and differences were identified in students’ perceptions compared with the original descriptors of the Model for Interpersonal Teacher Behaviour (MITB). While similarities lend support to the content validity of the items in the Questionnaire on Teacher Interaction (QTI) and its Chinese version (C-QTI), differences highlight cultural variations in perceptions of interpersonal teacher behaviour in the Hong Kong context. Students’ accounts indicated positive reactive emotions towards Friendly/Helpful, Understanding, and Leadership, negative emotions to Dissatisfied, Admonishing, and Uncertain, and mixed emotions towards Strict and Student Freedom and Responsibility behaviours. The study has contributed to the dearth of qualitative studies based on the MITB by providing a comprehensive picture of students’ perceptions of its eight types of behaviour and their reactive emotions towards the manifestation of these behaviours. Such a picture could enhance teachers’ reflection for professional development and improvement of their interpersonal behaviour in the classroom.
 
Structure of the self-directed learning module for five school days
Path model summarizing the variables being tested
MGSEM for 6th/7th graders in a self-directed learning environment. Effects presented as first (bold) unstandardized coefficients (B); second standardized coefficients (β); bold pathways are significant at *p < .05, **p < .01, ***p < .001; factor loadings are standardized
MGSEM for 6th/7th graders in a teacher-directed learning environment. Effects presented as first (bold) unstandardized coefficients (B); second standardized coefficients (β); bold pathways are significant at *p < .05, **p < .01, ***p < .001; factor loadings are standardized
An increasing number of German schools have suspended teacher-directed learning (TL) in favor of self-directed learning (SL) modules. We used the broaden-and-build theory and self-determination theory as a theoretical framework to determine whether students in self-directed and teacher-directed learning environments differ in the interplay of positive emotions and learning strategies of students in secondary education. The study also compares the mediating role of autonomy support on the relationship between positive emotions and learning strategies. Questionnaire data from 787 German secondary school students in the sixth and seventh grades were analyzed. The results of the latent mean comparison indicated that students in the self-directed learning environment demonstrated more adaptive learning behaviors. Further, a multigroup structural equation model identified strong differences in the interplay of the variables between students in the self-directed and teacher-directed learning environments. In the teacher-directed learning environment, autonomy support was not found to mediate the relationship between positive emotions and learning strategies.
 
4C/ID model (reprinted from 4CID.org, 2020)
PRISMA flow diagram through the 4C/ID model meta-analysis
Forest plot with the selected studies
Intercorrelation between moderators
The four-component instructional design model (4C/ID) has been increasingly used in face-to-face and online learning environments. We present a meta-analysis on the use and effect on performance of educational programs developed with the 4C/ID model after more than 20 years of its application and research in different academic areas and technical training. We performed the meta-analysis through the combination of effect sizes from studies using Cohen's d. The combination of the studies suggests that the use of educational programs developed with 4C/ID has a high impact on performance (d = 0.79 standard deviations), regardless of the academic area, the design of the study and the outcome (knowledge and complex skills). The grade under study was a significant moderator on the effect, showing that the higher-education level is more suitable for application of the 4C/ID model. Our results suggest that the use of the 4C/ID model should be prioritized as an instructional model in college and university learning environments.
 
We investigated the impact of RULER—an evidence-based approach to social and emotional learning—on school climate. Students and teachers from 37 Mexican high schools completed measures of school climate and school satisfaction before, one year into, and two years into RULER implementation. There were significant improvements in multiple dimensions of school climate, including teaching quality, student relationships, adult relationships, student–adult relationships, discipline, support for social and emotional learning, student voice, and respect for diversity, as well as school satisfaction. Many of these effects were found after adult training, before students received RULER directly. We discuss implications of these findings for improving social and emotional learning and school climate.
 
Number of messages sent to the WhatsApp group across 20 weeks
Hourly and weekly distribution of number of messages sent to WhatsApp group
Distribution of themes extracted from teacher’s messages in WhatsApp group
Example of teacher’s and students’ interactions through images and texts on WhatsApp
Participants’ interactions in WhatsApp group
In this study, we examined a mathematics teacher’s communicative acts on an instant messaging tool, WhatsApp, and its role in creating a sustained learning environment between secondary-school students and a teacher in Turkey. The interactions of a mathematics teacher and his students (n = 38) over two years were explored. The WhatsApp group increased interaction in out-of-school hours. Analysis of the teacher’s communicative acts was the leading force that encouraged the group to continue to interact. The teacher portrayed an informal and sincere presentation of himself on social media. A constructive communication style between teacher and students was fostered by connecting through WhatsApp in out-of-school hours, when the teacher’s informal communicative acts have facilitated their learning.
 
The digitisation of higher education is raising significant questions about the impact of artificial intelligence and automation on teaching and learning environments, highlighting the need to investigate how teachers and students can work with new educational technologies in complementary ways. This paper reports results from a pilot study of the collaborative augmentation and simplification of text (CoAST) system, which is online software designed to facilitate the engagement of university students with theoretically-sophisticated academic texts. CoAST offers a digital learning interface that uses natural language processing algorithms to identify words that can be difficult to understand for readers at different ability levels. Course lecturers use their pedagogical content knowledge to add brief annotations to identified words. The software was trialed using a quasi-experimental design with (1) 23 undergraduate Education Studies students and (2) 23 digital and technology solutions students. Results suggest that CoAST offers a digital learning environment that can effectively mediate and enhance pedagogical relationships between teachers, students, and complex theoretical texts.
 
Panoramic view of the flexible classroom
Placement of 360° cameras and audio recorders
a One of the groups meeting at one corner of the room b The other group meeting at another corner c Panoramic view of the roleplay groups
aTwo students walking from different directions b Two students looking at each other’s notes c A student looking at the other side of the room d Students writing their opinions on the whiteboard wall
The main objective of the study was to understand specific ways in which a flexible, technology-enhanced space can create opportunities for student engagement. Despite a few studies that address classroom elements such as furniture, researchers argue for more-holistic attention to the materials of learning environments to better support the activities in which students engage. To address this gap, we designed this qualitative case study of the role of the physical structure of flexible classrooms on college students’ engagement. Findings from the analysis of the data can be classified into three areas: (a) flexible room layout and movable furniture enabled participants to create settings that could support students’ group interactions; (b) flexible room layout and movable tools enabled people to move around to enhance student–to–student and teacher–to–student interaction; and (c) through the movement of furniture and tools and movement of people, participants were able to easily transition between different activities. The easy movement of tools and furniture widens the range of available classroom configurations to optimize engagement opportunities. Similarly, the flexibility of the classroom allows for the relatively easy movement of people. Our data suggest that such flexibility can facilitate interaction and engagement among students and instructors to create opportunities to promote both cognitive and emotional engagement. Findings underscore the critical role of space, furniture, and tools in the creation of learning environments that support student engagement in higher-education settings.
 
Trajectories of students’ classroom engagement
Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is defined as a scientifically-valid instructional framework for guiding the design of learning environments that support all students. The implementation of UDL often requires proactive considerations of learner variability and iterative instructional designs that meet emergent student needs in a learning environment. This article focuses on a case study with a concurrent mixed-methods design that explored how a codesign process involving researchers, an educator, and students evolved to facilitate the implementation of UDL in an elementary classroom. An elementary educator and 25 students participated in the study. Quantitative and qualitative data collected from observations, interviews, and repeated measurements of student engagement were analyzed to track changes in the educator’s instructional designs, attitudes toward UDL implementation, and student engagement. We identified an improvement in the educator’s UDL-aligned instructional practices and positive attitudes toward using student perception data to inform instructional improvement through the codesign process. Opportunities and challenges with respect to the UDL implementation were discussed.
 
Illustration of Open Learning Space in School A (a) and Conventional Classrooms in Schools B and C (b & c). The pictures from open learning space show that one large space has several areas for work, allowing a division of the class of about 70–80 students into smaller groups with mobile and dynamic furniture. The pictures from conventional classrooms show smaller self-contained rooms for around 20 students with a designated desk for each student
Relative amounts of observed teachers’ (N = 15) instructions on students’ movement in each participating school (A-C) and grade. Teachers’ instruction categories include T1 = Teacher(s) does not allow movement, T2 = Teacher(s) allows free movement in classroom, T3 = Teacher(s) organizes transition, T4 = Teacher(s) organizes physical activity
As a result of educational reforms in many countries, including Finland, new or renovated comprehensive schools have increasingly begun to incorporate open and flexible designs and principles. Multipurpose and adaptable open learning spaces can provide children with amplified opportunities to be physically active during general education. Classroom-based physical activity has been associated with better academic-related outcomes and students’ on-task behaviour, while overall physical activity has been associated with better health. In the present study, we investigated the effects of classroom type, gender and grade level on classroom-based physical activity, and the associations between systematically-observed teachers’ instructions about students’ movement and classroom-based physical activity. The participants consisted of 182 3rd and 5th grade students in one school with open learning space and two schools with conventional classrooms. Overall, classroom-based physical activity, assessed with accelerometery, was not higher in open learning space than in conventional classrooms. However, 5th grade students had more sedentary time and less moderate-to-vigorous physical activity in open learning spaces than conventional classrooms, but both 3rd and 5th graders had more breaks from sedentary time in open learning spaces than conventional classrooms. Girls were more sedentary than boys, while 5th graders were less physically active than 3rd graders. Teachers’ instructions regarding 5th graders’ movement in open learning spaces were more restrictive and both 3rd and 5th graders had more instructed transitions in open learning spaces. In conventional classrooms, students had more teacher-organised physical activity. Teachers’ restrictive guidance was associated with less light physical activity, while teachers’ organised physical activity was associated with more moderate-to-vigorous physical activity.
 
The aim of this study was to examine the effects of critical thinking (CT) teaching involving general, immersion, and mixed approaches on the CT skills and dispositions of high-school students. The study, which had three experimental groups (EG) and one control group, employed a pretest–posttest control-group quasi-experimental design. CT teaching was initiated with a general approach in EG I, an immersion approach in EG II, and a mixed approach in EG III. The Critical Thinking Skill Test and UF/EMI Critical Thinking Disposition Instrument were used to collect the data. General, immersion, and mixed approaches improved CT skills and dispositions, with a large effect size for the improvement of CT skills. CT teaching with general, immersion, and mixed approaches had large, moderate, and small effects, respectively, on improving CT dispositions. In terms of improving CT skills and dispositions, the most effective approach, respectively, was the general, mixed, and immersion approach.
 
Girls’ attitudes towards mathematics can impact their achievement and career choices in STEM fields. Can the introduction of inquiry-based learning (IBL) in mathematics classes generate positive associations between girls’ perceptions of the learning environment and their attitudes towards mathematics? Based in the United Arab Emirates, this study provided important information about the relationships between learning environment factors central to an inquiry method and student engagement. Data collection involved administering two surveys to female mathematics students ( N = 291) in four schools: one to assess students’ perceptions of the learning environment and another to assess students’ attitudes towards mathematics. Positive and statistically-significant ( p < .01) associations emerged between learning environment factors important to an inquiry approach and students’ attitudes. These findings provide important information about how IBL might improve girls’ attitudes towards mathematics classes and whether IBL environments are related to their attitudes.
 
The learning environment comprises the psychological, social, cultural and physical setting in which learning occurs and has an influence on student motivation and success. The purpose of the present study was to explore qualitatively, from the perspectives of both students and faculty, the key elements of the learning environment that supported and hindered student learning. We recruited a total of 22 students and 9 faculty to participate in either a focus group or an individual interview session about their perceptions of the learning environment at their university. We analyzed the data using a directed content analysis and organized the themes around the three key dimensions of personal development, relationships, and institutional culture. Within each of these dimensions, we identified subthemes that facilitated or impeded student learning and faculty work. We also identified and discussed similarities in subthemes identified by students and faculty.
 
Competing requirements and challenges in implementing HyFlex
Synchronous interactions required by HyFlex
Simplified outline diagram of the HyFlex system
Outline schematic
Outline of the Kings’ College London HyFlex system from guidance material. (Image credit: Mira Vogel)
In 2020, King’s College London introduced HyFlex teaching as a means to supplement online and face-to-face teaching and to respond to Covid-19 restrictions. This enabled teaching to a mixed cohort of students (both online and on campus). This article provides an outline of how such an approach was conceptualized and implemented in a higher-education institution during an intense three-month period over that summer and prior to the limited re-opening of the university campus. This was a new approach that offers a number of pointers for reflection and provides key insights in on this novel learning environment and the physical and pedagogical contexts in which learning can occur. Technical implementation factors are detailed, along with both reflections on challenges and solutions. Pedagogical issues such as cognitive load, social presence, and resolving the issues of a cohort spread across two locations are discussed. While we should be mindful of the limitations of this relatively-specific research, and shouldn’t therefore over-extrapolate our findings, one key finding is that delivering Hyflex is associated with a higher cognitive load. Further, the audio quality of our implementation enhanced the feeling of presence in the learning environment. We recommend providing appropriate technical and pedagogical training, as well as audio-visual and digital education support.
 
We investigated teachers’ perceptions of an online inservice teacher course in China and its outcomes, as well as connections between these two types of perceptions. Data were collected from a sample of 251 teachers following a course on Information and Communication Technology in education using a questionnaire survey and interviews. Teachers were generally satisfied with the setup and content of the course, but considered that interaction during training and motivation were not optimal. A correlation analysis showed that teachers’ perceptions of the course were significantly and positively related to their perceptions of training outcomes. Regression analyses revealed that the connection of training content with teachers’ daily practice contributed most positively to teachers’ perceptions of the training outcomes. Suggestions for optimizing online inservice teacher courses are provided.
 
Reflecting on academic errors is a critical skill for engaging with feedback for learning. However, teachers lack training in knowing how to create environments that promote reflection and help students to acquire this skill (Metcalfe, Annual Review of Psychology, 68, 465-489). Part of the problem is that many teacher education programs in North America and Europe do not require preservice teachers to explicitly reflect on their own academic errors. In fact, specific tools for probing, measuring and discussing preservice teachers’ attitudes toward their academic errors are missing. In the absence of empirical evidence of preservice teachers’ attitudes about errors, the effects of these attitudes on later practice remains unknown. The objective of the present study was to develop an inventory to measure preservice teachers’ attitudes towards mistakes in learning environments. In two separate studies, the Attitudes Towards Mistakes Inventory–Learning Environments (ATMI-LE or ATMI for short) was developed and refined. The first exploratory factor analytic study involved 225 preservice teachers and was designed to develop the ATMI. The second confirmatory factor analytic study involved an independent sample of 207 preservice teachers and was designed to replicate findings from study 1 and refine the inventory. The second study incorporated other survey/scale measures to evaluate the criterion validity of the ATMI in relation to fear of failure, performance orientations, trust in instructor and persistence. Results indicated three distinct dimensions of the ATMI—beliefs, emotions and actions – underlying preservice teachers’ attitudes towards mistakes. Moreover, each dimension was internally consistent and shared expected correlations with related constructs.
 
Lecture theatre for 506 students
Lecture theatre for 502 students
Tutorial classroom (A) with different furniture arrangements
Theatrette
We investigated how learning environments–involving their physical, pedagogical, and psychosocial dimensions–influence students learning experiences in an Australian Faculty of Business and Economics. Qualitative data collection involved observations of eight classrooms over a semester, four focus groups with 21 students and interviews with six educators. The study provided deeper understanding of the dynamic and complex intrinsic interrelations of learning environment dimensions over time, addressing previous gaps in research. It identified and analysed spaces and practices, educational activities, and students’ subjective experiences in different learning environments to illustrate how these multiple elements intersect and influence on the students’ experience. The mixed methods used in the research helped to uncover a broader view of the learning environment and its interdependent influences over time on students’ learning experiences. One practical implication is that any strategies to support a more holistic student learning experience through more effective use of learning environments should be developed at an institutional level.
 
The pedagogical beliefs of novice teachers and their coaches throughout a two-year induction program and how those beliefs impact their induction experiences were explored. Mixed methods were used to explore survey responses from novice teachers and their supporting coaches. We used t-tests to identify differences in specific beliefs within groups over time and across groups, and multiple linear regressions to identify how respondent beliefs about different aspects of induction predict novice teachers’ program outcomes. We also qualitatively analyzed comments to learn how Candidates and Coaches viewed their induction experience differently. The study identified differences in how novice teachers and their coaches process induction and, more importantly, the need for greater connection across novice teacher learning environments. That is, there needs to be more-coordinated efforts to create vertical professional development for novice teachers. Findings have implications for induction design and structures to help to promote novice teacher development.
 
The RELATE tool for special education classroom observation components, elements and sample indicators
Distribution of classroom observation scores by RELATE tool element
Classroom observation is an accountability practice which promotes the evaluation of teachers’ capacity to meet standards, improve teaching practices, and enhance student learning outcomes. Prior research has revealed that these practices are not without bias: the reliability of observation can be challenged because of classroom or observer characteristics. Unlike general education learning environments, much less is known about the reliability of observing classrooms that service students with disabilities. In this study, we evaluated the reliability of special-education classroom observation by school personnel. Using a systematic scorer design modeled after the MET Project, we examined different combinations of observers (special educator, school leader, paraprofessional, and researcher) and lessons to test the impact of prior exposure to a teacher on scoring the RELATE Tool for Special Education Classroom Observation (RELATE). Analyses of RELATE scorer reliability, comparison of school personnel and researchers on their scores’ aggregates and variance, and the implications for generalization and special education classroom observation are discussed.
 
We examined the predictive relationship between high school students’ gender, ethnicity, science self-efficacy as measured by the Science Self-Efficacy Questionnaire composite score, teacher interpersonal behaviors (TIP) as measured by the Questionnaire on Teacher Interaction (QTI) scale scores, and science grade point average in an urban Title I school in the United States using hierarchical multiple regression. The overall model was statistically significant. Individually, a statistically-significant relationship was found between students’ gender, science self-efficacy, and science GPAs, as well as a between the teacher interpersonal behavior subscales of student responsibility/freedom and uncertainty. Previous literature supports the current findings that demonstrate a predictive relationship between gender, self-efficacy, and student achievement. However, current findings deviate from previous literature that has demonstrated a predictive relationship between students’ perceptions of TIP and science achievement. The contribution of the current study to the existing research literature is discussed together with the conceptual basis that supports the predictive relationship of gender, ethnicity, science self-efficacy, the dimensions of TIP, and the subscales of TIP on students’ GPAs. In light of the findings, implications for practice and the need for further investigation are discussed.
 
The new learning space
Rate of lecture-based teaching, collaborative learning and self-learning
Categories and statements in the social cohesion questionnaire
In recent years, the importance of the pedagogical and physical design of new learning environments has grown. Around the world, innovative pedagogy has been implemented to address, among other things, the development of social skills. In this study, we examined an educational program that is an applied example of the constructivist approach whose goal is to develop collaborative skills and team work. The teaching and learning methods involved 143 class observations and 149 students’ questionnaire responses, and then the impact of the new learning environment on the development of a sense of social cohesion was investigated among 82 students. There was a statistically-significant advantage for sense of social cohesion among students of the innovative program compared with the traditional class. Students interpreted the collaborative learning and social mediation that teachers create as key factors in the development of classroom cohesion.
 
The effect of the flipped classroom model on students’ academic achievement, academic satisfaction, and general belongingness was investigated using an experimental design. Purposive sampling was used to select 94 undergraduate students as participants. The participants were divided into three groups: one experimental group with the flipped classroom model and two control groups with the traditional classroom and distance education models. The groups attended the same course content sessions that are suitable for their classroom model over eight weeks. For analysis, descriptive statistics, dependent groups t-tests, Wilcoxon signed-rank test, ANCOVA, and ANOVA tests were performed. Students’ academic achievement, academic satisfaction, and general belongingness levels significantly increased in the flipped classroom compared with the other classroom models. Suggestions for future research and limitations of the study are provided.
 
Wright Maps of OCLEI (Dimension 1 = Access; Dimension 2 = Interaction; Dimension 3 = Lecturer Support; Dimension 4 = Equity; Dimension 5 = Investigation)
This paper reports the development and validation of a new questionnaire to assess students' perceptions of the online learning environment in Indonesia during the COVID-19 pandemic. In total, 669 participants (454 women, 215 men) from various universities were recruited online to complete a 25-item questionnaire. Item factor analysis verified a five-factor model, while multidimensional Rasch analysis showed that all items fit this model and have good reliability. The factors of Access, Interaction, Lecturer Support, Equity, and Investigation formed the valid and reliable Online Classroom Learning Environment Inventory (OCLEI). All aspects of online learning readiness were related to the five factors of the OCLEI, therefore supporting convergent validity. With these results, we concluded that the OCLEI is a novel measure that can be used in future educational research in Indonesia. Limitations and implications are noted.
 
A holistic conceptualization of forms of learning and constructivist learning environment
Structural representation of a 4-factor learning forms scale
Structural representation of a 5-factor constructivist learning environment scale
2-steps hierarchical multiple regression models for the prediction of forms of learning from learning environment and controlling variables
While most quality debates about undergraduate education center on topics such as test scores, learning standards, and teacher quality and retention, the environment in which students learn is often neglected. We examined the dimensions of constructivist learning environments and further tested their linkages with student learning experiences across the forms of formal, non-formal, and informal episodes. To this end, the study involved a cross-sectional survey design with relevant data from samples (N = 1121, Female = 454 and Male = 663) of volunteer undergraduate students enrolled in three public universities in Ethiopia. Both exploratory factor analysis and confirmatory factor analysis supported the validity of 4-factor learning forms and 5-factor constructivist learning environment scales. Structural equation modeling analysis indicated good fit for these models. Moreover, results of multiple regression analyses illustrated that the domains of constructivist learning environments significantly predicted the different forms of learning, 0.22 ≤ R2 ≥ 0.38, with personal relevance accounting for most of the variation (0.11 ≤ β ≥ 0.38). It was concluded that undergraduate students learn in diverse ways within a constructivist learning environment, but that non-formal learning episodes were relatively rare. This could be attributed to the minimal opportunities that students have had for non-formal learning during the undergraduate years in the studied context. Implications of the findings, limitations in the existing research and suggested improvements are discussed.
 
Screenshot of a self-explanation prompt (translated from German)
Declarative knowledge rating in Experiment 1
Declarative knowledge rating in Experiment 2
3D scatterplot with regression plane predicting knowledge gain after 2 weeks based on immediate knowledge gain and NFC
In two experiments with German secondary school students (N1 = 43; N2 = 41), we aimed to analyze and optimize an effective learning environment. We sought further active ingredients and crucial factors for deep processing during an example-based training intervention, which consisted mainly of video examples and self-explanation prompts. In Experiment 1, we analyzed whether presenting learning goals influenced learning processes (i.e. mental effort and self-explanation quality) and learning outcomes (i.e. declarative knowledge about argumentation). In Experiment 2, we examined the role of the ratio between the number of self-explanation and practice tasks. Both experiments revealed that learners highly improved their declarative knowledge on argumentation. These effects remained stable after 2 and 3 weeks—regardless of whether learning goals had been presented or the ratio between self-explanation and practice tasks. Furthermore, mental effort and the Need for Cognition (NFC) were identified and discussed as crucial factors for deep processing the given examples and for the knowledge gain from pretest to delayed posttests. Presenting learning goals reduced mental effort, albeit at the expense of beneficial cognitive processing of the given examples. Finally, NFC contributed to learners’ mental engagement not only during but also after the training intervention.
 
Structure of the HELES with example items for each subscale
The desire to support student learning and professional development, in combination with accreditation requirements, necessitates the need to evaluate the learning environment of educational programs. The Health Education Learning Environment Survey (HELES) is a recently-developed global measure of the learning environment for health professions programs. This paper provides evidence of the applicability of the HELES for evaluating the learning environment across four health professions programs: medicine, nursing, occupational therapy and pharmaceutical sciences. Two consecutive years of HELES data were collected from each program at a single university (year 1 = 552 students; year 2 = 745 students) using an anonymous online survey. Reliability analyses across programs and administration years supported the reliability of the tool. Two-way factorial ANOVAs with program and administration year as the independent variables indicated statistically- and practically-significant differences across programs for four of the seven scales. Overall, these results support the use of the HELES to evaluate student perceptions of the learning environment multiple of health professions programs.
 
Moving towards Smart Learning Spaces (SLS) requires reconsideration of the school environment using a multi-dimensional approach that considers pedagogical, environmental and technological aspects. However, learning spaces have not changed that much. New designs and remodelling of educational contexts rarely incorporate teachers’ insights, knowledge and perceptions of environments in which learning occurs, nor are they evidence-based. This paper explores the perceptions of and attitudes towards change of teachers working in preschool, primary and compulsory secondary education in Catalonia regarding SLS. To achieve this, a survey study was carried out (n = 847). After the verification of the instrument’s validity and reliability, univariate and bivariate analysis were performed, followed by a two-step cluster analysis. The findings show that teachers have a weak perception of their classrooms’ actual suitability as SLS, which impedes further pedagogical reflection about change. Irrespective of the classrooms’ actual conditions, the analysis identified three groups of teachers with different degrees of favourability towards SLS. These profiles bring to light contradictory perceptions regarding both constructivist, student-centred pedagogical assemblages involving environmental changes and certain conceptions and control practices that are more typical of traditional teaching styles. Recommendations can inform the decision-making of management teams and teachers in re-conceptualizing the learning space, as well as their interventions in schools.
 
Hierarchical linear model for perceived classroom discipline with school-level predictors
Classroom discipline is a significant concern in most educational systems and a critical element of an effective learning environment. In this article, we present a multilevel analysis of teachers' perceived classroom discipline (PCD) in Portugal, using data from the TALIS 2013. Portuguese teachers perceived slightly more classroom discipline problems than the mean of OECD countries, with classroom variables explaining PCD much better than school-related variables. The percentage of low achievers in the classroom, teacher's self-efficacy, and teacher's need for training in classroom management were the best predictors of PCD. Still, student-related factors (e.g., low achievement) were better predictors of PCD than teacher-related factors (e.g., teacher experience or teacher gender).
 
Mean scores and standard deviations of both controlled and autonomous motivation for each motivation profile found
Mean scores and standard deviations of students’ attitudes for each motivation profile
This study focused on K–12 students attending outreach activities (i.e. activities from STEM-based industry emphasizing applications of STEM content in the STEM field), with the main objective being to motivate students for a future career in STEM. Outreach activities can be regarded as environments that extend the regular in-class learning environment and that differ from regular environments in terms of several dimensions, such as autonomy, relevance and learning resources. To date, little research has been conducted on these types of learning environments. We followed a person-centred approach in identifying students’ motivational profiles and corresponding student groups in outreach activities, and in evaluating whether students with different profiles differ in their STEM-related attitudes and experience of outreach activities. Both quantitative and qualitative data were collected. Latent-profile analyses revealed four different motivational profiles: good-quality motivation, moderate-motivation, high-quantity motivation and low-quantity motivation. Students with a good-quality motivation reported significantly more favorable-attitudes towards a future career in STEM compared with the other groups, with content and personal relevance being key factors for students with this profile. This study provided support for adding outreach activities to the school learning environment.
 
Use of furniture (left) and IT equipment by gender
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, digital technologies for distance learning have been used in educational institutions worldwide, raising issues about social implications, technological development, and teaching and learning strategies. While disparities regarding access to technical equipment and the internet ('the digital divide') have been the subject of previous research, the physical learning environment of learners participating in online learning activities has hardly been investigated. In this study, the physical-spatial conditions of learning environments, including technical equipment for distance learning activities and their influence on adult learners in academic continuing education during initial COVID-19 restrictions, were examined. Data were collected with an online survey sent to all students enrolled in an Austrian continuing education university , together with a small number of semi-structured interviews. A total of 257 students participated in the survey during the 2020 summer semester. Our findings provide insights in two infrequently-studied areas in learning environment research: the physical learning environment for online learning and the learning environment in academic continuing education. The study illustrates that students in academic continuing education have spacious living conditions and almost all the equipment necessary for digitally-supported learning. According to gender and household structure, significant differences were found regarding technical equipment, ergonomic furniture and availability of a dedicated learning place. In their learning sessions during the restrictions, students reported low stress levels and positive well-being. The more that they perceived that their physical learning environment was meeting their needs, the higher were their motivation and well-being and the lower was their stress. Their learning experience was further improved by the extent to which they had a separate and fixed learning place that did not need to be coordinated or shared with others. The study contributes to the literature on creating conducive learning environments for digitally-supported online learning for adult learners.
 
Abstract Background When novice teachers start working in a school, it is vital that they are aware of the moral aspects of the work environment and can use their moral abilities to make their work not only successful, but also right. To map these moral abilities, we developed the Moral Authorship Questionnaire for self-assessment. Objective: This paper reports the initial test of the structural validity and reliability of the developed self-assessment questionnaire. Setting: Dutch student teachers, novice teachers and more-experienced teachers in primary and secondary education participated in this research. Method: To test the psychometric qualities of the attitude scales, we used Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) and Pearson correlations. Results: The initial test resulted in reliable and valid subscales consisting of 69 Likert items in the renewed questionnaire. Next, the Pearson correlation between the subscales was calculated. Finally, the Pearson correlations between the domains were calculated to validate the construct of Moral Authorship. Conclusion: The test results show that the six tasks of moral authorship can be measured using Likert items. The questionnaire can be used as a tool for self-assessment and reflection on one’s moral abilities in one’s professional learning environment. Further testing to adjust the questionnaire is needed to improve the personal moral authorship profile, or ‘the moral selfie’.
 
Sequential explanatory design
adapted from Simons (2009), with quantitative sentiment analysis preceding qualitative study of sentiments
Screenshot from first unit in the VLE (Moodle) of the subject, UA1 Discussion forum
Time schedule of the learning activities and questionnaires (EA: evaluation activities; EA1: 10% of the final scoring; EA2: 25% EA3: 25%; Final Activity: FA: 40%; VC: videoconference)
Teacher training takes place in distance education to a large extent. Within these contexts, trainers should make use of all the information available to adapt and refine their instructional methods during the training process. Sentiment analysis (SA) can give immediate feedback of the emotions expressed and help in the training process, although it has been used infrequently in educational settings, slow to assess, and bound to interpretative issues, such as gender bias. This research aimed to design and evaluate a SA gender-sensitive method as a proxy to characterize the emotional climate of teacher trainees in an online course. An explanatory case study with mixed methods was implemented among students of the Interuniversity Master of Educational Technologies (N = 48). Participants’ messages were analyzed and correlated with learning achievement and, along with a qualitative study of participants’ satisfaction with the Master’s degree, to validate the effectiveness of the method. Results show that sentiment expression cannot be used to exactly predict participants’ achievement, but it can guide trainers to foresee how participants will broadly act in a learning task and, in consequence, use SA results for tuning and improving the quality of the guidance during the course. Gender differences found in our study support gendered patterns related to the emotional climate, with female participants posting more negative messages than their counterparts. Last but not least, the design of well-adjusted teaching–learning sequences with appropriate scaffolding can contribute to building a positive climate in the online learning environment.
 
Research model
Standardized path coefficients from SEM
In this study, we examined relationships between learning environment characteristics (disciplinary climate, teacher support, and teacher feedback) and student outcomes (enjoyment of reading, and reading achievement) among 12,058 students from China who took part in the 2018 Programme for International Student Assessment. The results of structural equation modeling analyses revealed that teacher feedback and enjoyment of reading each had a statistically significant association with reading achievement. Additionally, enjoyment of reading mediated the association between teacher feedback and reading achievement.
 
Hypothesized structural model
Structural equation model. All solid line path coefficients are significant at p < .05
We explored Asian international students’ successful learning experiences and adjustment through the lens of self-determination theory. To explore how international students perceive their classroom learning environments and learning experiences in more detail, a sequential explanatory mixed-methods approach was used. In the quantitative phase, empirical relationships between autonomy-supportive environments and affective (language anxiety), behavioral (discussion participation), and cognitive (adaptive beliefs about classroom assessments) learning components in the classroom were examined. In the qualitative phase, results from the quantitative study were further explored for additional explanations through follow-up interviews. Autonomy-supportive environments seemed to satisfy international students’ basic psychological needs, which decreased language anxiety and increased classroom participation and adaptive perspectives about classroom assessments. The discussion focuses on the theoretical and classroom implications of the quantitative and qualitative findings. This study contributes to the literature by suggesting a solid theoretical foundation to support successful academic adjustment among Asian international students.
 
of NSI’s Five-Step Process
Profiles for the mean scores of the CCQ for students in the teacher’s year 8 (left) and year 10 (right) Italian classes
The culmination of the brainstorming activity reported on the whiteboard
Average item means for the pre-test and post-test scores for year 10 students’ responses to the CCQ
The context in which learning takes place, or learning environment, is pivotal to a positive learning experience for students. Although numerous studies have established strong links between a positive learning environment and a range of student outcomes, far less research has examined how teachers might establish such an environment. Amidst growing acknowledgment that opportunities for the co-construction of learning and assessment design could provide a means of developing a more positive learning environment, this case study examined one such journey. Using a case study approach, we argue that student feedback involving a learning environment survey provides a valuable starting point for including students in co-construction and classroom improvement. Our findings indicate that teachers can improve the learning environment by involving students in meaningful co-construction through open tasks.
 
The model for interpersonal teacher behaviour.
Adapted from: Wubbels et al. (2005). Two decades of research on teacher–student relationships in class. International Journal of Educational Research 43, p. 9
Two-dimensional solution of SSA map of teacher interpersonal behaviour
Interpersonal teacher behaviour refers to the teacher–student interactions in the classroom. One way to measure these interactions is through the Questionnaire on Teacher Interaction (QTI), which is based on the Model for Interpersonal Teacher Behaviour (MITB). This study examined the structure of the Chinese version of the QTI (C-QTI) among a convenience sample of 612 secondary-school students in Hong Kong, using Smallest Space Analysis (SSA) to cross-validate a previous study of primary students utilizing the same approach. Results indicated that the C-QTI fits the MITB circumplex structure in terms of the scale order in a circular structure. The SSA map yielded six sectors: leadership-understanding, helpful/friendly, student responsibility/freedom, uncertain, dissatisfied-admonishing and strict. The two merged sectors demonstrate students’ inability to distinguish between their distinct behaviours. Eight items appeared in a sector different from their original MITB location, which could be attributed to the meanings attached to the different behaviours in the Chinese cultural context of Hong Kong or to the items’ lack of clarity. Comparison of secondary and primary students indicated similarities in scale and item location. However, secondary students were better able to distinguish between the different behaviours, reflecting the possible effect of their developmental level. The study highlights the need to construct contextually-relevant items and examine their existence and clarity as reflected by students’ perceptions. It also suggests the utility of SSA as a useful approach to study interpersonal teacher behaviour and facilitate the QTI adaptation process.
 
Changes in learning environments are pivotal when schools and local organizations embark on educational partnerships. Local organisations offer specialized knowledge to schools and, as classes move out schools, the contribution of the physical setting is crucial and central to understand the didactical potential of learning outside school. Therefore, we explore how local organizations exploit their specific physical settings and the materials in situ for educational purposes and how they bridge the gap between their specialized knowledge and students’ general academic knowledge and prerequisites. Through our case study, we found that teaching outside school has the capacity for the exemplary in teaching, but this widely depends on educators’ didactics and their ability to relate learning content to the physical setting and materials in situ.
 
Self-perception and aggregated student perceptions of instructional quality
Average factor scores for students’ and self-perceptions of the latent variables
Formulations of the items used to assess instructional quality and descriptive statistics
Association of perception profile and subject
Association of perception profile and gender and subject
Teachers' self-perceptions and their students' perceptions of the three basic dimensions of instructional quality were compared based on a sample of 171 classes and their teachers in German secondary education. Low to moderate correlations (r = .35 to .50) were found between the two perspectives. Differences in perceptions vary across teachers based on favorable and less favorable students' assessments. Results from latent profile analyses based on perception combinations of teachers and their classes hint at four differential profiles, reflecting to a large extent patterns of under-and overestimation of people's own competence identified in previous research. Significant differences in gender among individuals assigned to the four profiles could be found. Implications of identifying the divergence between teachers' and students' perceptions of instructional quality for reflective practice are discussed. Theoretical framework Based on the paradigm of reflective practice (Schön, 1983), teachers' self-reflection on teaching is considered an important prerequisite for professional development (Bengtsson, 2003; Ross & Bruce, 2007). Within the paradigm, reflection-on-practice focuses on how practitioners can change their methods or how they should move in new directions (Schön, 1983) and, with respect to teachers, this means becoming more-reasoned actors by questioning routines (Cruickshank, 1987) as well as by confronting personal assumptions and * Benedikt Wisniewski
 
Key elements for smart schools
The advent of the Fourth Industrial Revolution is introducing developments in Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, and other technologies in different sectors of our society, including education. This reality leads to a paradigm shift in which web-based cyber-physical environments will shape future learning environments. Thus, learning becomes ubiquitous , and schools assume new roles with systemic changes in communication, administration and management, becoming learning organisations. The use of technologies aligned with pedagogical strategies and new methodologies must lead to more-personalised systems. In this article, a comprehensive definition of smart schools is proposed. Smart schools must be endowed with integral management systems, inclusive, sustainable, and adopt new learning methodologies and advances from Industry 4.0 in an efficient way. Despite this conception and because research, government policies and business projects are not always in line with research, there is a need for deeper knowledge of how schools are approaching their upcoming transformation. To illuminate this purpose, in this study 37 principals from primary and secondary schools in Catalonia were interviewed. Thematic analysis focusing on technological and pedagogical innovations, management systems, inclusion, and sustainability identified some analogies with related research, pointing out that schools are far from implementing advanced technologies. Inclusion is the most-respected element thanks to the existing government regulation. Sustainability is hardly considered because of a lack of economic resources, but several schools consider themselves green schools and exhibit environmental practices. Conclusions are drawn to show that, although schools are not yet prepared to cope with the Fourth Industrial Revolution, its impact relies on the technol-ogy's level of maturity and ease of use, as well as stakeholders as policymakers.
 
Top-cited authors
Jill Aldridge
  • Curtin University
Monique Volman
  • University of Amsterdam
Loulou Detienne
  • Ghent University
Fien Depaepe
  • KU Leuven
Ine Windey
  • KU Leuven