How Design Thinking, Project Based Learning and Innovation focused STEM Curriculum initiatives are informing our contemporary learning environments


Mark Freeman
Architect & Education Facility Planner
Gray Puksand


1 Learning Units(LU)

How applies to HSW:

• Our world is more globalised, automated and connected than ever before
• Our students need a wide range of knowledge & skills to deal with this change and complexity.

With this emphasis on preparing students for an ever changing world, what are our newest learning facilities able to achieve to support more contemporary, future focused learning models?

Through exploration of three new, innovative education projects, we will demonstrate how each provides spaces to support immersive, student centered, design and technology activities, capable of supporting multiple pedagogical approaches, STEM focused curriculums and Project Based Learning experiences.

The Centre for Advanced Design in Engineering Training has become an exemplar model for higher education engineering training, where multidisciplinary interaction, collaboration and innovation is integral to a design focused curriculum. An A4LE Australasia 2017 award winning project, CADET has been planned collaboratively with Deakin University’s School of Engineering, and evidences a high tech learning environment focusing on establishing pathways for secondary students into fields of Science & Engineering, responsive to future focused industry requirements and research opportunities.

Alongside this, Wyndham Tech School represents one of several new generation High Tech campus facilities being planned across bVictoria, where learning is characterised by student centered active investigation and inquiry. Students will participate in a unique learning program linked to Victorian Curriculum and pursue immersive, project based work to solve real world problems using the latest technology.

Finally, Prahran High School represents the latest in inner city Australian public secondary education, where the next generation of learning spaces forms an integral part of the interwoven vertical functionality of this new multi-level inner urban school. As a vertical learning community, this new school model evidences a research informed approach to the integration of STEM, Creative Arts, Health & bWell being Activities

These new facilities present the next evolution of contemporary learning spaces, planned to support multiple pedagogical approaches, across transdisciplinary activities and investigations.

Learning Objectives:
  • How true engagement with educators and specialists through co-authoring educational and functional briefs can enhance planning and design outcomes for innovative learning environments;
  • Collaboration, Connectivity and Community – How vertical learning environments promote opportunity for enhanced interdisciplinary collaborations;
  • Prahran High School – Developing a new model for multi-level educational facilities in higher density urban environments, outlining how connectivity, community and curriculum are supported and enhanced in a vertical campus;
  • Wyndham Tech School – Developing a new model for an immersive, engaging and student centered learning environment where Design Thinking, Technology and Challenge Based Learning promote connectivity, collaboration and community.


Primary Competency:

Design of Educational Facilities: Acts as a resource to the design team in providing ongoing guidance and support to ensure that the emerging and ultimate design aligns with the established community vision, education goals, future programming, written design standards, best/next practices and education policy.

Primary Domain:

Learning: Content of this session/workshop will focus on how we learn and/or how the physical environment responds specifically to various methods of instruction, pedagogies, learning styles, or learning trends.

Secondary Domain:

Context: Content of this session/workshop will focus on the circumstances that form the setting for the design and construction of specific learning environments and characteristics that distinguishes the project from other applications.