Powerful Learning Environments: A Guide to Designing Innovation Labs

  • Ineke Miltenburg Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands
  • Ron Weerheijm Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands
Keywords: competence profile, innovation lab, learning environment, honors


The RUAS Honors Program aims to encourage students to develop into excellent professionals. To do so, RUAS has developed a competence profile entitled Learning to Innovate. This profile serves as a guide for designing a teaching approach which enables students to actively develop into such professionals.

There are five crucial characteristics for designing learning environments which challenge students to master the said competence profile: a multidisciplinary issue drawn from actual practice; an authentic learning environment; professional excellence as both the aim and basis for assessment; qualified teachers setting high standards for their students; and working and learning in a Community of Learners made up of all those involved.

In this paper, we first explain the essence of an Innovation Lab or I-lab. We then present some additional considerations and various different approaches to designing a powerful learning environment like the I-Lab.