Considering Learners' Perceptions in Designing Effective 21st Century Learning Environments for Basic Education in Finland

By Tiina Mäkelä, Marja Kankaanranta and Sacha Helfenstein.

Published by The International Journal of Educational Organization and Leadership

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: June 6, 2014 $US5.00

Focusing on so called "key competencies" or "21st century skills" urges educational organizations to redesign their psychosocial and physical learning environments. Inspired by studies indicating that considering learners’ perceptions of learning environments can have a positive impact on learning and wellbeing, our study aims at developing design principles for involving learners in the learning environment design. This pilot case study analyzed 7- to 14-years old Finns’ (n = 80) perceptions by using web questionnaires and design workshops. The results are in line with research indicating that Finnish learners value aspects such as safety and peacefulness, the possibilities for rest and physical activity, the presence of nature, and good social relations. They also value versatile, personally meaningful, and collaborative learning situations, including both traditional and novel tools and spaces for learning. The study offers educational administrators tools and data for redesigning learning environments.

Keywords: Educational Organization, 21st Century Skills, Learning Environments, Learners’ Perceptions, Participatory Design, Design Research

The International Journal of Educational Organization and Leadership, Volume 20, Issue 3, June 2014, pp.1-13. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: June 6, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 578.428KB)).

Tiina Mäkelä

Researcher, Ph.D. Student, Faculty of Information Technology, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland

Prof. Marja Kankaanranta

Research Professor, Faculty of Information Technology, Finnish Institute for Educational Research, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland

Sacha Helfenstein

Research Coordinator, Agora Center, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland