Introduction

Imagine expanding the possibilities for learning. Having more places where learners are engaged, enthusiastic, and motivated. These characteristics are often found in kindergarten, yet they disappear in the later grades. Our current approach to learning compared to what learning is possible, parallels the relationship of the narrow band of visible light to the rest of the electromagnetic spectrum; the possibilities that we cannot see are immense.

There are numerous reasons why we do not expand the possibilities for learning. These include policy, traditions, and pre-determined standards or guidelines which supposedly answer all the questions, yet in reality allow little scope for creativity and innovation. The common thread to all of these reasons is resistance to change itself. The built infrastructure is often identified as being particularly difficult to change. However, when we accept that learning is not limited to a classroom, we realize we can also learn in a closet, a cafe, or a cathedral. We need to understand why we have put the current limits on our designs of the learning environments. Although learning environments have often been built with some physical flexibility, their basic design concepts are structured around a very narrow interpretation ‘school’. It is possible, however, to design settings for education that do indeed expand the possibilities for learning.