Date of Award

Spring 6-2-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Paul Sproll


This thesis reframes the traditional classroom as a “learning environment” in order to broaden the perspective of the causes and effects of learning in the context of today’s culture and technology. Learning environments are examined through the lens of three key learning theories: Lev Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development, the Montessori Method of Education , and the Reggio Emilia Approach. The learning environments are further dissected into the three dimensions of: (1) the physical space, (2) the psychological space, and (3) the virtual space, and these dimensions are examined through the various interactions, which happen within each space. Through qualitative analysis and observations, this thesis speculates that the psychological space and its particular interactions provide significant opportunities to evolve as dynamic conditions for future generations’ learning. The author heavily references Lee S. Shulman’s concept of Signature Pedagogies, in parallel to the assessments of the learning environments, as Shulman’s particularly resonate with the author’s personal educational experiences and the observation of classrooms made during this thesis research investigation. The inferences made in this work contribute to a reassessment of art & design education’s potential in the transformation of traditional pedagogies in the context of the evolving landscape of learning environments.

Included in

Art Education Commons



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