A conceptual framework for designing the physical space of the primary schools based on the collaborative learning theory

Document Type : Original Article


1 master student in field of educational administration and human resource development ferdowsi university of mashhad

2 Associate Professor, Department of Educational Management and Human Resource Development, Faculty of Educational Sciences and Psychology, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad

3 Associate Professor of Architecture and Urban Development Department of Ferdowsi University of Mashhad


The aim of this study was to provide a conceptual framework for designing the physical space of the primary schools based on Vygotsky's collaborative learning theory. The research approach was the documentary research method and it was conducted using the content analysis technique. The research sample included the valid scientific documents, international standards and reports on the school's designation and case studies of the schools which were designed based on the social constructivism approach selected through purposeful sampling method. The research findings showed that the most important components of the collaborative learning Theory are: knowledge building, the active role of the learner, facilitating learning, variety of the learning materials and resources, the context and axial interactions that can provide a desirable representation of the physical space of the primary schools within the spatial (color, landscaping, and flexibility), psychological (informal social areas), physiological (temperature, ventilation, light and noise) and behavioral (U-shaped configuration, round tables, play areas, personal spaces, public learning space (street learning) dimensions. The results also showed that creating a collaborative learning environment in terms of the knowledge building, interaction, diversity in the resources and teaching materials, facilitating learning and making learner more active requires designing the physical space considering the color variability, flexibility in the space design, landscaping and also creating the informal social areas. In addition, attention to the characteristics of the space physiology could affect the learning speed, the quality of the teaching, and the promotion of the students' social behavior. Also, the behavioral characteristics facilitate the achievement of the educational goals, access to the diverse learning equipment and facilities, and the creation of a collaborative-centered learning environment.