Developing a Pedagogical Framework and Design Principles for STEM Learning Environment Design


  • Tiina Mäkelä University of Jyvaskyla
  • Kristof Fenyvesi University of Jyvaskyla
  • Matias Mäki-Kuutti University of Jyvaskyla



STEM, pedagogical framework, pedagogical design principles, focus group, co-design learning environment


The need for effective and attractive learning environments (LEs) for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) has been internationally recognized. Additionally, the connection between STEM learning and cross-curricular skills such as creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship has garnered attention. A deep theoretical and empirical understanding is required when designing STEM LEs. In this study, a pedagogical framework for STEM LEs has been developed based on feedback from students, aged 10–18 years old, teachers, school directors, parents, and STEM professionals, and supported by the literature. First, representatives of key stakeholder groups in Belarus, Finland, Germany, Greece, and Spain (total n = 132) were invited to co-design focus group (FG) 1 sessions to collect their wishes related to STEM LEs. The data was collected through an online survey with open-ended questions. The analysis of the data led to the design of the pedagogical framework, which was validated by the same stakeholder groups (total n = 137) in FG2 discussions. The empirically and theoretically grounded framework entails general design principles as well as principles related to ways of teaching and learning, socio-emotional aspects, and cross-curricular skills. Both the results of this study and the previous literature suggest that different pedagogical design principles are highly interrelated. For instance, novel tools and methods, collaborative methods, reflective learning, and entrepreneurial skills may support creativity and innovation, and vice versa. Therefore, instead of focusing on singular design principles, we recommend considering a wide range of different LE design principles to support multiple ways of teaching and learning, and to develop both subject-related and cross-curricular knowledge, skills, attitudes, values, and ethics.


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How to Cite

Mäkelä, T., Fenyvesi, K., & Mäki-Kuutti, M. (2020). Developing a Pedagogical Framework and Design Principles for STEM Learning Environment Design . Journal of Research in STEM Education, 6(1), 1–17.




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