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Nagham El Elani

About me

Prior to joining academia, Nagham served as a practicing senior architect and project manager in Qatar for twelve years. During this time, she contributed to various projects including mega structures like National Museum of Qatar, Gold Line Metro Stations, and Al Janoub Stadium, all designed, constructed by globally renowned international consultants. Motivated by her passion for sustainability in architecture, Nagham pursued advanced studies and attained certification as a LEED Advanced Professional from US Green Building Council and GSAS Certified Green Professional from Gulf Organization for Research and Development. In this role, she actively participated in certifying multiple buildings in accordance with green building standards in the region.

Project Title

Space for Mixed Digital Physical Embodied Learning

Project Description

Physical learning spaces have been found to affect school users, some of which are related to achievement, engagement, attendance, behaviour, and teacher and student well-being. Regarding embodied learning, multiple research areas have agreed with the concept of embodiment-supporting cognition. These include neuroscience, cognitive psychology, mathematics, gestures, and science. While reviewing the literature, researchers who have studied embodied learning have not addressed the spatial architectural requirements that would enhance this type of learning. This research aims to understand the characteristics of architectural physical space that encourage and enhance mixed digital physical embodied learning while understanding the relationship between digital and physical space. In a participatory action research project, 46 children and 2 teachers from 2 primary schools were involved. The research was comprised of 4 phases: observations, workshops, intervention, and framework development. A mixed-methods approach was utilized in the thematic analysis, employing both qualitative and quantitative techniques. The main themes that emerged were comfort, individual and quiet, connection with nature, spaciousness, variety, and congruency. The research proposed a framework for mixed-digital physical embodied learning that identified all constructs in embodied learning that relate to space and proposed five architectural modes and design possibilities informed by the themes. This framework supports educators and school staff in designing learning spaces and repurposing others for all levels and types of embodied learning based on intended interactions in the learning activities.


Rosie Parnell

Pamela Woolner


Bachelor in architectural engineering from Beirut Arab University, Lebanon

Masters in Architecture with a Minor in Art & Design from Newschool of Architecture in California, USA

Conference Participation

El Elani, N. (2022) ‘Spaces Enabling Mixed Digital Physical Embodied Learning’. ITK Doctoral Consortium,5/10/2022, Finland

El Elani, N. (2021) ‘Post pandemic - inequality in education’. The UK Ireland Planning Research Conference, 8/10/2021, Newcastle University

El Elani, N. (2021) ‘Education during the Pandemic – In-equality among Children’. First Year Research Conference, 9/6/2021, Newcastle University