Future learning environments research

The future learning environments research cluster believes that learning happens through transformation in learners’ understanding by inspiring them to actively engage with meaningful problems across the various signature pedagogies.

Working from pedagogical approaches grounded in constructivism and self-actualisation, it is our belief that the learning environments should enable students to construct their own knowledge and understandings based on their aspirations to realise their potential for their place in the future. We assume an active role to imagine and build nurturing learning environments, practices, and resources that foster students’ learning journeys by recognising and supporting their diversity, learning needs, cultural values, and wellbeing.

  • Verswijvelen M, Sosa R, Martini N. (2020) Designing game-inspired narratives for learning. The Design Research Society 2020 International Conference 2020. Editor: Stella Boess. Brisbane, Aug 2020.
  • Kakh, S., Kalatehjari, R. (2020), Supporting Generation Z: Insights for educators and employers, In Proceeding of the ITP Research Symposium 2020, Rotorua, New Zealand
  • Kakh, S., Kalatehjari, R. (2020), Group-work and individual projects as two learning contexts, ATMC R&D Newsletter, 1: 12-18, Published by ATMC Aotearoa New Zealand Research and Ethics Committee
  • Gibbons A, and Sosa R. (2019) Plug in baby? The digital technology and Hangarau Matihiko Curriculum. New Zealand Journal of Infant and Toddler Education, 21(2), 21-24.
  • Kalatehjari, R., Kakh, S. (2019), Educational Assessment in New Zealand: The Intersections of Three Perspectives, In Proceeding of AUT Teaching and Learning Conference 2019, Auckland, New Zealand.
  • Marks, S., White, D., & Magdics, M. (2018). Evaluation of a Virtual Reality Nasal Cavity Education Tool. 2018 IEEE International Conference on Teaching, Assessment, and Learning for Engineering (TALE), 193–198. https://doi.org/10.1109/TALE.2018.8615344
  • Sosa R. and Kayrouz D. (2019) Creativity in graduate business education: Constitutive dimensions and connections. Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 57(4), 484-495. https://doi.org/10.1080/14703297.2019.1628799
  • Sosa, R. (2019) Teaching (with) Empathy and Creativity in Design, DRS LearnXDesign 2019 5th International Conference for Design Education Researchers, METU Ankara, 9-12 July 2019
  • Sosa, R. (2019) Qualities of Design Briefs for Studio Learning, DRS LearnXDesign 2019 Whittington, C., Anderson, T. & Connor, A.M. (2018) “Embedding authentic practice based learning in engineering undergraduate courses”, Proceedings of the 28th Australasian Association for Engineering Education Conference
  • Sosa, R., Connor, A., Corson, B. (2017) Framing creative problems. In C. Zhou (Ed.) Handbook of Research on Creative Problem-Solving Skill Development in Higher Education, IGI Global, Hershey, PA. http://doi.org/10.4018/978-1-5225-0643-0
  • Connor, A.M., Sosa, R., Jackson, A.G. & Marks, S. (2017) “Problem solving on the edges of disciplines”, Handbook of Research on Creative Problem-Solving Skill Development in Higher Education, IGI Global, 212-234
  • Marks, S., White, D., & Singh, M. (2017, November). Getting up your nose: A virtual reality education tool for nasal cavity anatomy. SIGGRAPH Asia 2017 Symposium on Education Proceedings. https://doi.org/10.1145/3134368.3139218
  • Livingstone, N., & Naismith, N. (2017). Faculty and undergraduate student perceptions of an integrated mentoring approach. Active Learning in Higher Education. doi:10.1177/1469787417723233
  • Naismith, N., Tookey, L., & Tookey, J. (2017). A comparative study of traditional and compressed scheduling on Undergraduate Construction Students’ performance. In AUBEA 2017 Conference. Melbourne, Australia
  • Connor, A.M. (2016) “Engaging undergraduates with research to promote cumulative learning”, International Journal of Research Studies in Education, 6(2), 91-99
  • Connor, A.M., Sosa, R., Karmokar, S., Marks, S., Buxton, M., Gribble, A. M., Jackson, A. & Foottit, J. (2016) “Exposing core competencies for future creative technologists”, Creative Technologies for Multidisciplinary Applications, IGI Global, 377-397
  • Sosa, R., Torres R, Cervera F, "O" R. (2016). Eliciting creative views of Tertiary Education through speculative future scenarios: Robot “O”. In Wass R. (Ed.) Tertiary Education Research in New Zealand, TERNZ. University of Otago, Aotearoa NZ.
  • Connor, A.M., Karmokar, S. & Whittington, C. (2015) “From STEM to STEAM: Strategies for enhancing engineering & technology education”, International Journal of Engineering Pedagogy, 5(2), 37-47
  • Connor, A.M., Marks, S. & Walker, C. (2015) "Creating creative technologists: Playing with(in) education", Creativity in the Digital Age, Springer, 35-56
  • Crutzen, J., Losekoot, E., & Staal, A. (2015). FM Kiwi-style: The development of FM professionals in New Zealand. In 14th EuroFM Research Symposium 2015: People Make Facilities Management.
  • Sosa, R. & Connor, A.M. (2015) “!orthodoxies in multidisciplinary design-oriented degree programmes”, Proceedings of Interplay 2015: The 2015 IASDR Conference
  • Morrison, A., & Knoche, H. (2014). Design transformations: teaching design through evaluations. Kybernetes, 43(9/10), 1372-1380. doi: 10.1108/K-07-2014-0153
  • Connor, A.M., Karmokar, S., Whittington, C. & Walker, C. (2014) “Full STEAM ahead: A manifesto for integrating arts pedagogics in to STEM education”, Proceedings of the 2014 IEEE International Conference on Teaching, Assessment and Learning in Engineering
  • Marks, S., Estevez, J. E., & Connor, A.M. (2014). Towards the Holodeck: Fully Immersive Virtual Reality Visualisation of Scientific and Engineering Data. 29th International Conference on Image and Vision Computing New Zealand (IVCNZ) 2014, 42–47. https://doi.org/10.1145/2683405.2683424
  • Connor, A.M., Buchan, J. & Petrova, K. (2009) “Bridging the research-practice gap in requirements engineering through effective teaching and peer learning”, Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Information Technology: New Generations
  • Kakh, S., A Rashid, A.S., Kalatehjari, R., Ali, N., Wan Mansor, W.F.A., Rezanejad, A., Writing Critical Literature Review in Geotechnical Engineering, The Electronic Journal of Geotechnical Engineering, 2429-2436
  • Philpott, A., Buchan, J. & Connor, A.M. (2007) “An integrated tool set to support software engineering learning”, Proceedings of the 2007 SIENZ Workshop  5th International Conference for Design Education Researchers, METU Ankara, 9-12 July 2019
  • Morrison, A., McDonald, L., MacColl, I., & Simpson, M. (2006). The Pedagogical Practice of Locative Experiences. Leonardo: Journal of the International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology.
  • MacColl I, Morrison A, Muhlberger R, Simpson M, Viller S. Reflections on reflection: blogging in undergraduate design studios. Paper presented at Blogtalk Downunder Conference, May 19–22, 2005, Sydney.

Our focus is on understanding and developing future-oriented learning environments. Our goal is to go beyond the contemporary ways of education by implementing active learning experiences appropriate to the generational, cultural, and educational needs of our students. Our aim is to prepare students for not only to be employable and solve real-world problems of today, but to creatively shape the future of work.

Our research initiates and tracks achievable objectives to enhance the quality and adaptability of our learning environments by re-thinking students’ success factors and barriers, authentic assessment and student-directed learning, interdisciplinary learning experiences, work-integrated opportunities, ethical and critical uses of learning technologies, students’ interpersonal skills, equity, and diversity, and the well-being of teaching specialists.

Research questions we pose

Based on this shared vision for the futures of learning environments in AUT, Aotearoa, and beyond, we formulate the following research questions to orient our inquiry in this area:

  • RQ1: What are the skillsets and dispositions that teachers and learners need to co-construct exceptional learning experiences in our School, Faculty, University, and more generally in Aotearoa?
  • RQ2: How are the needs changing in new generations of students?
  • RQ3: How can we innovate the learning experience using self-directed and active pedagogies, and authentic assessment strategies?
  • RQ4: What are the organisational and institutional enablers and barriers to achieve future-oriented exceptional learning experiences and exceptional teaching experiences?
  • RQ5: What are informed, evidence-based, innovative and reflective uses of learning technologies?
  • RQ6: How does the university-industry nexus shape future-oriented learning experiences and learning capacities in our students?

The work of this research cluster seeks to provide evidence-based strategies, practices, and tools that improve the learning-teaching (Ako) in the School of Future Environments, the Faculty of Design and Creative Technologies, Auckland University of Technology, and through partnerships across the education sector in Aotearoa.

The type of contributions sought by this group ranges from incremental improvements and updates to current practices, to more exploratory and innovative solutions that are based on local context but inform practice in other settings. Understanding that there are many possible, desirable, and imaginable futures in the space of formal and informal education, this group seeks to shape the future identities of the learners, teachers, university programmes and strategy, higher education, work and society.

Contact us

Associate Professor Ricardo Sosa