The Optimal Learning Environment: Learning Theories
How can designers create the ‘perfect’ learning environment? It is nearly impossible to provide a generic and accurate answer to this question because learning environments are designed to suite or support particular learning theories – and there are many theories that explain the learning process. Researchers often base their theories on physiological, psychological and sociological changes that take place when learning occurs and often exclude the physical/material conditions that surround the learning process. As a result, learning environments are often described in terms of pedagogical philosophy, curriculum design and social climate and there is little research on the role the physical environment plays in the learning process. This article is the first in a series of articles that will explore various learning theories, the description of the learning environments associated with each theory, the physical contexts designers have created to support them, and proffer a perspective from which designers can conceptualize the creation of an optimal learning environment.