Dr Sandris Zeivots is a Research Associate and Lecturer in the School of International Studies and Education, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Since 2016, Sandris has facilitated education and technology programs and developed research at the International Research Centre for Youth Futures.
For over 15 years he has designed, facilitated and evaluated experiential learning programs in Australian and European (primarily, Baltic, Scandinavian and South-European) contexts. While currently his teaching is situated in higher education, he has worked across NGO, government, industry and trans-disciplinary sectors.
Sandris is passionate about learning, in particular, how we can design and experience learning that is engaging, purposeful and meaningful. His research focuses on experiential learning, positive education, learning spaces, emotional highs, design thinking and innovative practices in education.
Sydney Facilitators Network
Can supervise: YES
:: Experiential learning
:: Emotional highs
:: Research student / doctoral education
:: Learning spaces
:: Innovation and creativity
:: Phenomenology / Lived experience
:: Innovative practices in education
:: Teacher as researcher / Teacher education
:: Research student / doctoral education
:: Design Thinking
:: Intercultural learning
:: Positive education
This study examines the role of nature in relation to emotional highs in adult learning. Hermeneutic phenomenology was used as an overarching methodology and contained both descriptive and interpretive elements. The methodology enabled access to an exploration of the phenomenon with further interpretation of the experiences of the 21 adults who participated in one of three outdoor learning courses. As a part of the findings, three emerging themes are discussed: nature as a sense of escape; learning in nature; and sense of therapy in emotional highs. The study found that nature profoundly affected the experiences of the participants and at times operated as a co-therapist to foster unique learning opportunities. Nature was seen by participants as a learning environment where temporary escape from one's customary life is possible. Sense of escape in the education settings was found beneficial because it enabled participants, as learners, to get away from life's usual distractions and routines, and with available time and permission to reflect – to become someone else. This in turn positively affected learning capacity as participants re-connected with themselves without being bound to familiar and taken-for-granted practices
This study is concerned with emotional highs in experiential learning and, more specifically, determining triggers that lead to emotional highs. The research aims not only to understand the invisible side of emotions, but also genuinely consider how learners make sense of their experiences. To study the triggers of emotional highs, a deliberate decision was made to approach the phenomenon as an experience. Hermeneutic phenomenology is used as an overarching methodology. The study focused on experiences of 15 adult learners who participated in 1 of 3 experiential learning courses. The 3 courses were residential, lasted 4–8 days and took place with an equal number of days indoors and outdoors. Learners were asked to make sense of their lived experience through surveys, reflection and semi-structured interviews. Eight themes of emotional high triggers emerged, including Sense of being pushed, Out-of-me experience and Escaping one's environment.
Zeivots, S & Schuck, S 2018, 'Needs and expectations of a new learning space: Research students' perspectives', Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, vol. 34, no. 6, pp. 27-40.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Much of the literature on university learning spaces focuses on the undergraduate student experience, neglecting experiences of research students in new spaces. This article is concerned with research students' needs and expectations of a learning space. It focuses on a recently opened shared activity-based learning space that was specifically built for research students. The methodological focus draws on case study methods and hermeneutic phenomenology to observe students' lived experience in the new space and how they make sense of it. Twenty-six data sets, involving interviews, surveys and feedback, were collected from research students. The findings were analysed across three themes: physical, virtual, and hybrid space; a space free of distractions; and belonging to, and interaction with, university community. The article indicates the benefits of the new space for research students and articulates the particular needs of research students in such spaces.
Zeivots, S 2016, 'Emotional highs in adult experiential learning', Australian Journal of Adult Learning, vol. 56, no. 3, pp. 352-372.
Sinclair, N & Zeivots, S 2019, 'Attributes of meaningful engagement: Learning beyond curriculum', My School, Your School, Our School, Sydney.
Zeivots, S 2017, 'Research student expectations from activity-based learning space', Annual Campus Development 2017, Sydney.
Zeivots, S 2017, 'Research student expectations from activity-based learning space', Research Facilities. Design and Development 2017, Sydney.
Zeivots, S 2017, 'Research student expectations from activity-based working space', Next Generation Workplace 2017, Sydney.
Zeivots, S 2013, 'Lived experience of positive emotional experiences in learning', Researching Emotions, Adelaide.
Zeivots, S 2013, 'Lived experience of positive emotional experiences in learning', Conference on Education and Educational Psychology, Antalya, Turkey.
Zeivots, S University of Technology Sydney 2017, Report on shared HDR activity-based workspace, Sydney.
Zeivots, S 2015, 'Lived experience of emotional highs in experiential learning'.