learning environment


Creative Design Environments: A Small-Scale Case Study

03 June 2014

This paper describes how to further develop students' creative thinking and design problem-solving skills by involving them in a creative design environment.

Problems in the Information Age have been mentioned throughout literature by various researchers. One of the main issues is the lack of creativity and innovation. As Drucker (1994) stated, creativity can be considered an essential capability for working smarter in knowledgeable societies. Another problem frequently stated is that technologies have been used as add-ons to existing practices rather than as a catalyst for fundamentally rethinking what education should be about in the next century (Fischer, 1998b). The current mindset about learning is dominated by a view of teaching as informing learners about something they presumably know nothing or little about. This is a misleading conception (Bruner, 1996). Yet, learning is more than being taught (Illich, 1973b). In order to deal with the complexities of 21st century learning, creativity skills, especially within the context of online collaboration, should be conveyed to learners.


After providing a brief literary overview of the field of creativity and a definition of creative knowledge environments, this paper presents an exemplar from the University Arts in London of a creative knowledge environment and presents the critical features of such tools to foster social creativity.

online resources creativity learning environment

Intelligent Tutoring for Life Long Learning

17 January 2014

The I-TUTOR (Intelligent Tutoring for Lifelong Learning) project started in January 2012 with the aim of developing a multi-agent based intelligent system to support online teachers, trainers, and tutors.

The Intelligent Tutoring for Life Long Learning (I-TUTOR) project aims at developing an intelligent tutoring system, to be applied in open source learning environments, able to monitor, track, analyze and give formative assessement and feedback loop to students within the learning environment, and give inputs to tutors and teachers involved in distance learning to better their role during the process of learning. The software is developed in java thus could be easily implmented and re-used in most of the common free platforms for eELearning.


Tutoring in distance education plays a crucial role in ensuring support and facilitate learning of students. Tasks carried out by tutors ensuring individualized paths and effective learning are often very time consuming; at least online educators have to monitor, track and assess what the student does within the learning environment (i.e. pages and documents consulted/downloaded);

  • analyze students’ writings; manage knowledge sources by, for instance, building representations of knowledge through conceptual maps or taxonomies; watch the network of formal and non-formal relationships as it develops within the class, fosters its strengthening and supports the inclusion of all individuals; and
  • give formative evaluation and feedback.

All these activities lead to the effective planning of learning paths, and aim at student-centered, individualized learning. Considering the numbers of students involved in distance learning (full or blended), the possibility to fully perform the activities needed to follow the students and therefore planning accordingly is put in danger by the load of work necessary for each student.


ICT can further support online teachers, trainers and tutors, by means of a multi-agent based, intelligent tutoring system pursuing the goal of monitoring, tracking, assessing students, giving formative feedbacks and useful data to better individualize learning paths.

distance learning open source learning environment software online platform

Vittra schools in Sweden use personal devices and redesigned learning spaces to modernise education

10 December 2013
learning space learning environment physical learning spaces learning technology computer-based educational tools

Book about Personalized Learning Environments - "Entornos personales de aprendizaje: claves para el ecosistema educativo en red"

09 May 2013

Linda Castañeda and Jordi Adell are the editors of "Entornos personales de aprendizaje: claves para el ecosistema educativo en red", a book about personalized learning environments (PLE) published under a Creative Commons licence.

The book (only available in Spanish) aims to give the reader an introduction to the concept of PLE ecosystem and the pedagogical ideas underpinning it. It also shares some relevant experiences that exemplify how it can be used in all levels of education and how research is approached from different PLEs perspectives.


The publication includes texts of experienced educators and researchers, such as Jesús Salinas, Oskar Casquero, Ricardo Torres Kompen, Cristina Costa, Ismael Peña-López, Lola Urbano, J. Daniel García, Fernando Trujillo Sáez, David Álvarez, Juan Sánchez, Francisco Fernández, Victoria Marín, Carlos Santos, Luis Pedro, Ana Isabel Vázquez-Martínez, Mª Paz Prendes, Alec Couros, Gráinne Conole and Graham Attwell.

learning environment xMOOCs change in higher education

What youngsters think of social networks...

19 June 2011
youth Social Media Skills creativity learning environment

Open Educational Resources (OER) Q&A - Patrick McAndrew

27 April 2011
learning environment quality higher education teaching practices

Knowledge economies and innovation society evolve around learning

30 April 2009
This article is an attempt to describe and analyse the pivotal and dynamic role of learning in shaping up and fuelling the metamorphosis of current post-industrial societies and economies into true knowledge economies and innovation societies.
We start by contrasting two current European expert views on the role of learning in the emerging innovation societies and reflecting on them. Then, to gather momentum, we look back into a few classics of the modern work-based learning theory to argue for promising ways forward. We base our discussion on contemporary debates as well as on our vast experience in taking part in tackling the challenges of developing the complex interfaces and joint learning environments between academia and work places.

Globalisation has brought systems intelligence to the core of the success factors, and working life will experience a prominent shift towards an emphasis on new visionary knowledge creation. We strive to address the whole continuum from generic global traits and trends down to a specific training concept piloted by a university outreach programme. Our main concern is that the decisive importance of learning as the vehicle for pulling the contemporary societies out of the current crises has been identified, but not yet fully recognised by the policy-makers, with their mindsets constrained by past policies and beliefs. We suggest that taking off from traditional thinking is necessary for equipping the emerging knowledge economies with the mastery of systemic innovation.

The full text of this article is available in English and Spanish.The Spanish version is made possible thanks to our partner, the Organisation of Ibero-American States for Education, Science and Culture (OEI). // El texto integro de este artículo está disponible en inglés y castellano. La versión castellana ha sido posible gracias a nuestro socio, la Organización de Estados Iberoamericanos para la Educación, la Ciencia y la Cultura (OEI).