Established by Dr Kenn Fisher in Adelaide in 1996 as ‘Rubida Research’ and now distributed across South Australia and New South Wales, the New Learning Environments (NLE) team collaborates with learning communities and design professionals to co-create learning environments for new and emerging teaching, learning and research. Key NLE team members have backgrounds in Architecture and Education. We also draw on a vast network of colleagues in Health, Biophilia, Inclusion, Social and Urban Planning, Timetable Modelling and Facilities Management.

Learners and learning is at the heart of everything we do. The NLE team champions innovation in learning and learning environments in order to improve learning experiences and outcomes through practice and research. We facilitate collaborative design processes that encourage learning communities to be active participants, empowering them to tread their own path. 



NLE Director

Ana is an architect, and Director of educational planning consultancy, New Learning Environments (NLE). She is currently chair elect of the South Australian Chapter of the Association for Learning Environments (A4LE). Ana has temporarily paused her PhD studies where her focus was on the evaluation of learning environments to determine their effectiveness in supporting contemporary practice for the development of 21st century skills, and the role of the educational space planning on this process.

Her principal drive is to improve learning experiences and outcomes for all through the creation of new learning environments, where she continually questions what ‘learning’ means in the 21st century and what it will mean beyond. She is cooperative and versatile and values flexibility, communication and optimism. She views herself as a lifelong learner through her work which she sees is the embodiment of a continual active learning process.

Ana’s principal role has been acting as an interface or translator between designers, educators, students, members of the wider community and other key stakeholders to co-create learning environments for new and emerging teaching, learning and research paradigms, contextualised to the needs of the learning institution. With experience in both the architectural design of educational institutions and educational theory Ana has been able to facilitate meaningful dialogue between the learning community and design professionals. This has also included equipping the learning community with the tools and vocabulary to achieve this independently.

Acting as a change agent Ana has used research and evidence-based design principles to link pedagogy and space, matching 21st century aspirations for teaching and learning with contemporary learning space design. This has required engaging with whole organisational change in which the success of new campuses, new spaces, new curriculum, new delivery methods and new use of technology all rely on an associated cultural change.

When she is not working with NLE, she loves going on long hikes with her dog, exercising, volunteering at the local native animal rescue sanctuary, and also rescuing koalas.



A former secondary school teacher, Emma began a career in Educational Space Planning in 2007 as a Research Associate for Dr Kenn Fisher. Her work is grounded in current research and extensive community consultation with teachers, administrators, parents, and students.

Emma’s experience includes visioning and briefing on contemporary pedagogy and spatial responses; documentation including Educational Specifications and translational resources such as Translational Briefs and pedagogy space maps; and ongoing design critique informed by educational directives. She especially enjoys pre- and post-occupancy planning and evaluation involving teachers, students and families.

Emma has collaborated on projects globally across a wide range of community contexts including regional, regeneration, urban and social renewal. Her site experience spans greenfield, brownfield, heritage, constrained urban and existing facilities requiring different types of staging and decanting.

An educator at heart, Emma most enjoys working within school communities. When she isn’t consulting for NLE, Emma works at her local government secondary school, staying grounded and connected to the daily rhythms and cultures of school life. 


NLE is an active participant in a vibrant professional community and regularly collaborates with different institutions, organisations and sub-consultants, such as:


  • Workshop facilitation, award panel participation and presenting our experiences in learning space design with reputable organisations such as the Association for Learning Environments (A4LE) Australasia.
  • Engaging with professional learning events and site visits via peak research bodies such as the Learning Environments Applied Research Network (LEaRN) at the University of Melbourne.
  • Collaborating with sub-consultants in complimentary fields such as Event Map and Mosaic Space.
  • Ongoing mentorship via our founder and renowned pedagogy/space expert Dr Kenn Fisher, particularly in the field of biophilia.
  • Regular contributions to not for profit organisations dedicated to improving outcomes for young people.
  • Pro-bono passion projects including bush schools and communities with predominantly First Peoples cohorts.