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Spatial Learning @ Vasse: What impact does ‘innovative’ furniture have on student engagement and teacher practices?

While there is a significant body of literature that identifies furniture as a key component of an innovative learning environment, there is little published research that isolates and measures the impact of furniture on teaching and learning. Applying a single-subject research design from health sciences, this research study seeks to empirically measure the relationship between furniture and (1) students’ engagement in learning and (2) teacher pedagogies.

Operating over three years at Vasse Primary School, this co-designed research aims to address the following claims:

  • That students’ perceptions of their engagement in learning is/is not affected by particular furniture arrangements.
  • That levels of engagement improve/stay the same/are reduced when innovative furniture solutions are applied.
  • That teachers are seen/not seen to alter how they teach according to particular furniture arrangements.
  • That teachers are seen/not seen to improve the quality of their teaching in classrooms where innovative furniture arrangements are applied.

The results of this study will not only be used to inform teaching and learning practices using innovative furniture, they will also support more user-centred design of furniture to meet the diverse needs of learners. Importantly, it is also contributing to the field of research on innovative learning environments, as one of over 10 bespoke school-university partnered studies across Australia and New Zealand that form Plans 2 Pedagogy, a program of work being led by the University of Melbourne’s Learning Environments Applied Research Network (LEaRN).

Funding agency


Project duration

2019 - 2021.


  • Phase 1 report - see downloads.


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