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Transforming Learning Environments: Innovations and Insights in Modern Educational Design

Published9 Oct 2023
Written ByRebecca Fox

In the ever-evolving landscape of education, the design of learning spaces plays a pivotal role in shaping the experiences of students and educators alike. It's not just about bricks and mortar; it's about creating environments that inspire growth, engagement, and adaptability.

From acoustic panels to cabinetry, flooring and landscaping, all finishes, applications and design elements influence the way an environment feels, functions and performs.

We have the privilege of delving into the insights of Chloe Summers from EIW Architects. A visionary in this field, Chloe has been at the forefront of integrating cutting-edge design innovations to craft learning environments that cater to the evolving needs of education.

Chloe Summers, EIW Architects


Decor Systems Question 1

How do you integrate cutting-edge design innovations to create learning spaces that cater to evolving educational needs and inspire students' growth and engagement?

Chloe Summers Answer 1

Innovation and the ability to adapt to change is an evolution, it is authentic and we do it as a collective; teachers, leaders, students and design team.

Our process is initiated by having an open mind. Then a lot of learning and a lot of listening from everyone. Cutting-edge innovations aren’t as successful if they are only one-sided, it’s a two-way street.

Firstly, open clear communication, understand everyone’s needs and what barriers exist. Then together, we develop an innovative learning environment, it takes twists and turns and pre-conceived ideas are rarely the result. It’s beyond what you imagined, and it solves a challenge differently to what you first assumed it would. The involvement and the “buy in” is critical to success, not just for the creation of something new, but also in the way the legacy lives on and is used everyday.

Decor Systems Question 2

In your recent projects, what unique approaches have you taken to seamlessly blend technology, flexible layouts, and aesthetic design, fostering a dynamic and adaptable learning environment?

Chloe Summers Answer 2

A lot of research is done by many people and many companies to harness the potential from these.Using best industry knowledge and practice together aids in a better outcome.

There are some fantastic innovators out there who work in technology, furniture design, product and materials development. Part of the art of collaboration is knowing how to make the spaces highly adaptable and when they are required to be more specialised.

Spaces that are under utilised, often because they try to be adaptable for everything, only results in compromised spaces that are only ok for some of the time. Successful spaces are those that explore different scenarios being used within that space, drawing upon expert knowledge and research to fit out these spaces.

Decor Systems Question 3

Sustainability and well-being are key considerations. Can you share how you balance sustainable design principles with creating inspiring educational spaces that enhance students' overall learning experience?

Chloe Summers Answer 3

EIW takes a holistic approach to sustainability focussing on regeneration and people. We often use the line to our clients; “we know that there are tools out there that can identify the best location for a window based on orientation and thermal performance and a sustainable outcome, BUT we know that this is not the full picture.

Researchers from across the world remind us that connection to nature and natural daylight all enhance the learning experience, as well as impact positively on mental health and performance.” So, we know it’s a balance (and there are more and more tools that are available that value the users health and wellbeing), and a holistic approach.

Better performing learning spaces, more likely to influence the future leaders in their contributions to making the world better? I like to think so!

Decor Systems Question 4

With the rise of hybrid learning models, how do you envision the future of educational spaces, and how do you design to accommodate both in-person and remote learning needs while maintaining a cohesive and transformative environment?

Chloe Summers Answer 4

This is interesting because using technology to enable hybrid learning models is certainly a direction. I am all for the use of technology to enhance what we are capable of. But I also feel that we have to be careful not to promote a loss of connection with other learners.

The issue of social isolation must be carefully considered in developing hybrid models. Whilst we need both technology growth and flexibility, we also need to enhance human connections and the face-to-face experience. We are after all a social species.

Decor Systems Question 5

From incorporating biophilic elements to leveraging emerging technologies, what pivotal design choices have you made to create immersive learning environments that spark creativity, collaboration, and a sense of discovery among students?

Chloe Summers Answer 5

We are seeing a lot more indoors and outdoor learning spaces, authentic connection to the outdoors, and the outdoors as the learning environment.

I know that when I experience nature and exercise in the morning I am far better at performing during the day. There’s a funny sort of oxymoron, where we keep trying to make a sustainable world and repair what damage has been done, but creating artificial environments or technologies… I can not help but think, are we overcomplicating this?

We have an historical context that shows we need to protect the land, and live with the land, to be outside… I think there is a lot to be said for learning with cultures who existed on the lands- and perhaps here lies more answers to a more sustainable future, a healthier student and a healthier planet?

A big thanks to Chloe for sharing her inspiring perspectives on learning environments.

Her vision for the future of educational spaces integrates innovation, sustainability, and a profound connection to the natural world, enhancing the learning experience and nurturing future leaders for a healthier and more sustainable world.

At Decor Systems, our commitment to innovation and progress sets us apart. We continually evolve by crafting new products and reimagining existing ones to align with the ever-evolving trends in the architectural and design landscape.

Our team of experts has thoughtfully curated essential products tailored for educational designs, including renowned options like Cewood and DecorZen. Our in-depth research and industry insight ensure your projects are equipped with the best acoustic solutions.

If you’d like to chat about a project, send us an email or give us a call!

ARM Architecture
Lyons, m3 Architecture
EIW Architects

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