Menu Harvard Graduate School of Education
banner image

Learning Environments for Tomorrow: Next Practices for Educators and Architects

3/14/17 to 3/16/17

Tuition: $2,475 per person

Extended Application Deadline: March 9, 2017

Limited spots remain; applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis through March 9, 2017 or as space is available.

Faculty Chair Daniel Wilson on Learning Environments for Tomorrow:

A jointly-designed program from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and the Harvard Graduate School of Design.

What You Will Learn

Architects and educators will work together to understand key principles of designing innovative K–12 learning environments. Participants will explore the challenges of designing spaces that: enable personalized learning for students, support social and emotional development for both adults and children, serve as opportunities to learn about issues of sustainability, and include new media and information technology that supports learning.

Program Overview

Learning Environments for Tomorrow will explore four themes that are shaping the goals and structure of 21st-century education: collaboration, technology, engagement, and sustainability. Through a research-based understanding of current and emerging best practices, participants will work with Harvard faculty and leading practitioners to envision how school buildings can most effectively support learning in the coming decade and beyond.

Participants should attend in teams that include architects, educators, and leaders involved in a school building project.  Teams will learn a process of linking educational goals to design principles and apply the institute’s content to their local building projects. Teams will work with other teams in a “design studio” environment as they grapple with questions such as: What are the core 21st-century learning goals and programmatic features for our school? What are the guiding design principles that will drive our decision-making? What might be the key design patterns and diagrams that would best represent how our goals will be realized?

To support exploration, the program will engage participants through a variety of formats, including interactive plenary sessions, topic-specific workshops, and project teams working in a design studio, that are facilitated by architects, educators, and design thinking experts.

Related News

Space Exploration: Today's Optimal Learning Environment is Adaptable, Transparent, and Connected in More Ways Than One

Old School?

Program Objectives

The aim of the institute is to provoke, explore, and apply interdisciplinary insights to two overarching questions:

  • What are the principles of effective pedagogy and design for the coming decade?
  • How can new visions of learning environments be shaped by the latest research and practices in learning theory, emerging technologies, environmental sustainability, child/adult collaboration and community engagement?

In answering these questions, the program aims to achieve the following learning objectives:

  • Understand the principles of effective pedagogy and design for the coming decade
  • Learn the latest thinking in the areas of learning theory, child/adult collaboration, student and community engagement, social media technologies, and environmental sustainability
  • Consider the implications that the areas noted above have on designing effective learning environments
  • Critique learning environments and educational facilities that are seen as models of effective design
  • Develop planning and design strategies for facilities that serve a broad set of stakeholders — from students, teachers and administrators to the communities in which they are based
Who Should Attend
  • A team of educators and architects from a setting that is working together in a process of school design, redesign, or renovation, or school facility and space planning. Teams should include a cross section of key stakeholders from both the education and architecture sectors.
  • Applicants from the education sector could include school building committee members, superintendents, principals and assistant principals, teachers, directors of curriculum and instruction, parents, special educators, and local and state education leaders and policymakers.
  • Applicants from the architectural professions could include principal architects, project managers, engineers, chief builders, school designers, space planners, lead construction managers, or interior designers.
What People Are Saying

“It was greatmind blowing at times.” — participant

“The learning objectives were spot on, putting all of the disciplines together in project teams, very effective. I learned a lot!” —participant

Tremendous session. As a believer in “the learning organization,” this was very informative. Daniel is a fantastic leader and facilitator. I loved the activity that he incorporated into the session of co-creating sentences.” —Byron Ernest, Principal, Emmerich Manual High School, Indianapolis, Indiana
Daniel Wilson: Cultivating Collaboration in Schools


Faculty Chair

Daniel Wilson is lecturer on education and director of Project Zero at HGSE. Wilson is interested in the inherent dilemmas of knowing, trusting, leading, and belonging in adult collaborative learning. His work examines how groups navigate these tensions through using flexible language, routines, roles, and artifacts and is currently organized around three areas: professional learning in communities; learning behaviors in the workplace; and uncertainty and team learning.


Enrollment Instructions

Learning Environments for Tomorrow is an application program. As the work of the program is team-based, we highly encourage applications from teams of educators and architects engaged together in a process of school design, redesign or renovation, or school facility and space planning. Teams should include a cross section of key stakeholders from both the education and architecture sectors. Participants are selected based upon team composition as well as the match between their stated objectives and the goals of the program. In order to maximize the learning experience, the program aims to bring together as diverse a group as possible.


Step One
You will be asked to provide your personal profile and organizational information.

Step Two

  1. Explain how participation in the program will benefit your work and describe one or more significant challenges you would like to explore during the program. (250 word limit)
  2. In what ways do you expect your particular skills, experience and perspective to contribute to group discussions? (250 word limit)


Identify Your Team Coordinator

  • Before beginning the application process, you will need to identify a team coordinator.
  • The coordinator will be the primary point of contact during the application process and preparation for the program.
  • The coordinator does not need to attend the program and will have the opportunity to indicate if they will be attending during the application process.

The Application Process

  1. A team application to be completed once by the coordinator.
  2. A team member application to be completed by each member of your team.
  • In order for your team to be considered for review by the admissions committee, each team member will need to complete the team member application. The coordinator will receive a link to the team member application once the team application is complete.
  • Once started, the team application must be completed in a single session. It should take 15–20 minutes to complete.
  • A list of required questions will be provided at the beginning of the team application.
  • When your coordinator is ready to complete the team application, it can be accessed by continuing to the next page.
Fees, Hotel Accommodations, and Policies

The comprehensive tuition includes all instructional materials and refreshments. Participants receive a certificate of participation and a letter confirming clock hours of instruction.

Payment or a purchase order must be received within thirty days of program acceptance and prior to the program start. Participants are responsible for their own travel expenses. While a purchase order confirms a reservation, an outstanding balance is maintained until payment is rendered.

Please click here for more information on hotel accommodations for on-campus programs.

Please click here for more information on our on-campus and online refund and withdrawal policies. If you have any additional questions or concerns about your ability to participate, please contact our admissions team at or 1-800-545-1849.

The Harvard Graduate School of Education reserves the right to change faculty or cancel programs at its discretion. In the unlikely event of program changes, the school is not responsible for non-refundable travel arrangements or other planning expenses incurred.

Campaign Banner

Learn to Change the World

The Campaign for Harvard Graduate School of Education enables HGSE to fulfill its vision of changing the world through education by expanding opportunity and improving outcomes.

Learn More