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THE LEARNING LANDSCAPE

PASI KURTTILA

Learning environments are virtual and physical spaces intended for learning and studying, which are mainly used during the school day for the aforementioned purpose. Recently, however, it has been awakened to the fact that a lot of learning takes place outside the school day and learning environments. There has also been a lot of talk about informal learning and informal learning.


The next important topic of discussion could be whether all virtual and physical spaces where learning takes place are learning environments? Or is the term learning environment used only for those spaces that are designed for this purpose?


In any case, the learning environments in which teachers and students operate are becoming more and more diverse all the time. This has led to an increased interest in different learning environments and their development. The concept of the learning environment has had to be expanded from the traditional classroom learning environment towards more multidimensional environments.


The social and psychological nature of learning environments is undergoing a strong change in the transformation of the operating culture of schools. According to the current understanding of learning and knowledge, the use of cooperative study methods and the production of knowledge and content together are increasingly encouraged in studying. The diversification of study methods and the material used in studies mean, for example, emphasizing the development and improvement of the student's self-regulation ability.


In addition to the formal classroom, the physical learning environment increasingly consists of various informal places and spaces for everyday learning. Traditionally, informal spaces have been considered spaces and places that are clearly separate from the school, such as science centers or workplaces. Nowadays, the possibility of building informal spaces in schools is also being investigated.


Nowadays, and especially in the future, formal and informal learning and at the same time learning environments will merge into a ubiquitous whole.


In a pedagogical sense, the requirements of a good learning environment are becoming more diverse all the time. According to the principle of open pedagogy, learners must be able to build and modify knowledge both alone, in a group and together with the teacher, taking advantage of the opportunities offered by the environment. This requires a diverse and pedagogically relevant set of learning environments.


The term learning landscape can be used for the entity in which learning takes place. The learning landscape can contain several learning environments of different levels and quality, and it can be seen as offerings consisting of different integrated or separate learning environments, from which the teacher and the learner can choose different options to support teaching and learning. It is a regional multi-sensory observable entity that surrounds the learner at the moment of observation and enables and supports learning. The learning environment provides opportunities for both formal and informal learning, and for this reason it is difficult to limit it using traditional learning environment thinking. The teacher examines and develops the learning landscape from a pedagogical point of view, and the teacher's role can vary from teacher to instructor, supporter and learner.


Learning landscape thinking provides a new starting point and perspective when planning and developing the school's operating culture and different learning environments, because the learning landscape is already fundamentally constantly developing and changing. There are no future learning environments, but the future is always present in already existing environments. It's just unevenly distributed or it only shows up from time to time. The school's operating culture directs the construction and structure of the learning landscape. The operating culture strongly defines the quality and comprehensiveness of the learning landscape experienced by the learner. If the operating culture of the school is based on open pedagogy and it is also realized in practice, the learning landscape experienced and used by the learner becomes wider and more versatile than in a school based on closed pedagogy.


In terms of the overall planning of the physical environment, learning landscape thinking means the comprehensive consideration of the different dimensions of the learning environments and the requirements set by the operating culture in the planning and implementation of the facilities. A traditional school building, where the facilities are mainly public or private in nature, does not meet the challenges of the diversity of the learning landscape. In addition to public and private space, the facilities must have other types of spaces that enable learners to work alone, in pairs, in small groups and in large groups using versatile information acquisition and working methods both independently, together with other learners and the teacher. In this case, it is possible to operate in such a learning landscape, where it is possible to utilize the offers of different learning environments found in the learning landscape in an appropriate and learning-promoting way, both from the perspective of the learner and the teacher.



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