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An adaptive learning space.

A virtual adaptive learning space, where teachers guide, but students focus on areas of interest and can collaborate at will.

Photo of Gabrielle Grist
3 5

Written by

I am a.....

  • A student who has taught (Rachael Guinness) and a teacher who has been a student (Gabrielle Grist).

Tell us about your idea

We suggest a daily learning experience platform where students can interact with three spaces: 

(1) a Private space, where they work independently in a way that is adapted to their interests and ability;

(2) a Classroom, where a teacher shares curriculum-based content and sets tasks with an entire class of students; and 

(3) a Community space, where students learn from one another.

Students navigate between all three spaces to create a personalised, but guided, learning experience.

We draw on our experience as one teacher and one student, primary research into student and educator needs, The Review to Achieve Educational Excellence in Australian Schools, and work by Zaretta Hammond on culturally responsive teaching and the brain.


(1) Building upon student interests and background knowledge enhances cognitively dependent learners’ ability to learn other fields and subjects. 

(2) Not all students learn the same way. Teachers, when resourced and empowered appropriately, can be the personal trainers of students’ cognitive development, and students should be partners in their own learning.

(3) Individual performance improves when working with other people rather than alone. Remote learning has made it difficult for students to run ideas past people at will and when required to enhance group learning.

(4) Contemporary education should emphasise critical and creative thinking, social skills, a connection to community and problem solving.



Owner: student 

Participant: teacher

The private space is where the student works, reflects and manages tasks. It cannot be seen by other students, but teachers can access it to observe, understand, talk to, and assign tasks to a student.

This space is always accessible to students. When they engage with the other two spaces, they can collapse it, or have it open. It comprises a:

Desk: where the student takes notes or completes tasks. The work that they complete here is customised to them. Existing EdTech which uses adaptive learning capabilities, such as Mathspace, can be deployed in these spaces. Teachers can set different tasks for groups of or individual students to work through at their respective work desks. 

Bookshelf: where a student saves texts (of all mediums) that interest them, and pinned items from the knowledge board in the Community space. 

Growth chart: displaying a students’ progress on curriculum learning areas, but also their areas of interest.

Upcoming work overview: a daily schedule and tasks due; monthly calendar of upcoming activities 

Home and community task list: tasks can be set by teachers which focus on: (1) enhancing curriculum; (2) connecting the unknown of the classroom to the known (by drawing upon interests); and (3) encourage them to interact and engage with their community.

Journal: a space to reflect on what they learned and interested them each day. This has been successfully used to establish a growth mindset with previous students. It also provides the teacher with valuable insight.


Owner: teacher

Participants: students 

The Classroom space is curriculum-focused and run by the teacher. This structured learning space is where students are taught and provided with class-wide resources, with the goal of giving them the agency to learn at their own pace and from one another. 

A teacher has the ability to pull students to the classroom at will in order to direct learning. 

The teacher, after having briefed and taught students in this space, can choose when to release students. Students can then choose to go to their private space or the community space.

This is the only space where the camera would frequently focus on the teacher. However, the teacher can choose to turn off this focus on them, and facilitate group discussions and individual presentations. 


Owner: none

Participants: all 

The community space is where you go to learn from your peers and develop areas of interest that are not based solely in the curriculum. Students can access this space at any time, unless they are in the Classroom. 

Knowledge bank: where students and teachers can save texts that others or they have created, covering the curriculum or other topics. Students can filter this knowledge by topic or poster, and use them as discussion starters in breakaway rooms. 

Breakaway rooms: virtual rooms where  students can set the topic or problem space of the space. If a student signals themselves as available, they can be invited into a breakout room. Teachers can drop in at any time. 

Event schedule: Make use of the fact that people can attend and watch talks from all over the world! This is where students can see upcoming events of interest that others have shared, and choose to attend them with classmates. 


We hope to explore how to embed tactile experiences and greater connection with community and the environment.

What part(s) of the pre-COVID school system do you wish to leave in the past? Why?

Students have less control over their education and ability to be partners in their own learning. Teachers are often forced, due to structural problems, to assign blanket tasks to groups who require bespoke learning experiences.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what inspired you to share this idea.

We are a university student and university teacher who are obsessed with education, who feel that this period is creating opportunities to transform the way people can access and engage with learning for the better. 

What region are you located in?

  • Oceana

Where are you located?

Corrigin, in rural Western Australia, and Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Mudita Kundra

Hi Gabrielle Grist 
Thanks for sharing this idea – love the community component balanced with progress self-tracking piece. I was thinking about some aspects of this while working on my idea. Didn't get nearly as far as the shape you've given to a student's learning journey with your idea.
Looking forward to seeing how this progresses.
All the best!

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