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The Impact of Inclusive Interactive Learning Environment on Student’s Academic and Social Growth

The Impact of Inclusive Interactive Learning Environment on Student’s Academic and Social Growth


An inclusive, interactive learning environment significantly impacts student’s academic performance and social development. Diversity and inclusion in education have become the concerns of all parties since they foster a conducive learning atmosphere for students to interact and exchange ideas, propelling skills and knowledge development. An inclusive learning environment accommodates students with and without special educational needs and students from different backgrounds, including nationality, colour, race, or socioeconomic status. A review of multiple literature demonstrates a correlation between implementing an inclusive, interactive learning environment and students’ academic and social development. The learning environment is essential in enhancing students’ learning and academic skills. This paper will utilize secondary data to illustrate the implication of an inclusive learning environment on academic and social growth for students with and without special educational needs. Supporting all students to learn in the same environment substantially impacts their social and academic life. Therefore, the education system must ensure all learning institutions incorporate essential teaching and learning strategies to foster an inclusive learning environment where all types of students can learn and acquire relevant skills and knowledge together.

Keywords: inclusive learning environment, academic performance, social development, and special educational needs.

The Impact of Inclusive, Interactive Learning Environment on Student’s Academic and Social Growth

An inclusive learning environment is a significantly fundamental element in learning institutions. The education system focuses on diversity and inclusion as essential elements forming education culture. Research shows that fostering an inclusive, interactive learning environment for students with special educational needs and those without special learning needs has significant implications for students without special needs (Molina Roldan et al., 2021; Kart & Kart, 2021). Molina Roldan et al. (2021) investigated to evaluate the impact of an inclusive learning environment on students without special educational needs and found out that students without special needs become aware of the different potentials and abilities among their counterparts, which make them respective and develop meaningful connection with them. Students without special educational needs also learn to incorporate diverse and better learning techniques and strategies to support a friendly learning atmosphere for their colleagues with special learning needs. According to Kart and Kart (2021), inclusive learning environments have varying social and academic benefits among students without special learning environments based on grade levels. Students in higher-grade levels show neutral or negative academic benefits in the inclusive, interactive environment instead of lower-grade students who have a neutral or positive impact on their academic performances. Kart and Kart (2021) depict that students without special educational needs acquire significant social benefits from the settings since it moulds their attitude and perspective on students with special needs, helping them eradicate prejudice and discrimination in education settings.

Apart from an inclusive learning environment being beneficial to students without special learning needs, students with special educational needs benefit from the learning setting. Kramer et al. (2021) depict that students with special learning needs have improved academic performance in an inclusive learning environment compared to those who learn in segregated settings. The authors also demonstrated that an inclusive learning environment does not affect the students’ social aspects, like their well-being. Placement of students with special learning needs in general education settings demonstrated an effort to honour individuals’ human rights since disability is not inability. Hence, students with learning disabilities have equal rights and freedom to education as their peers without special needs, which encourages equality and equity in education regardless of a person’s identity or appearance.

Nishina et al. (2019) and Thomas (2016) illustrate that inclusive learning environments greatly influence students’ academic success and social development. Nishina et al. (2019) emphasize ethnic diversity as essential in promoting inclusive learning. Apart from engaging students with and without special educational needs in a common learning environment, Nishina et al. (2019) suggest that education systems should encourage students from different ethnic groups to interact and learn in the same settings. The authors also encourage learning institutions to support a positive sense of identity among students from minor ethnic groups. Also, learning institutions should invest in diverse and inclusive teaching and learning strategies to accommodate the needs of all students and encourage good and ethical behaviors in the education setting, where students do not overlook the potential of students from discriminated ethnic groups in society, encouraging better learning to achieve academic success and steer social nourishment. Thomas (2016) depicts that an inclusive learning setting builds students’ sense of belonging, enhancing students’ engagement and idea sharing, improving their information retention ability, and improving academic performance. Therefore, an inclusive, interactive learning environment is key to students’ academic success and a driving force for social growth.

Definitions of Key Terms

  1. Diversity and inclusion – Diversity involves variation and presentation of the entire society based on personal and physical identity, including gender, ethnicity, and race, while inclusion involves strategies and techniques incorporated into the learning environment to accommodate the diverse population presentation. (Nishina et al., 2019; Brussino, 2021; Varsik, 2022)
  2. Inclusive learning environment – A learning setting that acknowledges the differences among learners and integrates effective learning strategies to help each learner address their needs. (Molina Roldan et al., 2021; Kramer et al., 2021; Kart & Kart, 2021; Thomas, 2016)
  3. Special educational needs – Students’ needs require unique considerations to help the learners acquire relevant academic skills through incorporating effective learning strategies in the learning environment. (Molina Roldan et al., 2021; Kramer et al., 2021; Edward, 2022)
  4. Academic performance – The learning outcomes learners achieve propel their purpose of undertaking any course or study. (Nishina et al., 2019; Thomas, 2016)
  5. Social growth and development – The ability to interact, build meaningful relationships with people in one’s surroundings, and support effective communication through information and idea sharing. (Nishina et al., 2019: Lawrie et al., 2017)

Related Literature

Professional Development

Educators play a vital role in achieving an inclusive learning environment that accommodates students from different backgrounds and identities in a common learning setting. Teachers’ empowerment and training build their skills and capacity to achieve an inclusive, interactive learning environment (Brussino, 2021; Leifler, 2020). Brussino (2021) demonstrates a need to implement policies and effective practices to instill best teaching practices among educators to enhance their capacity to support diversity and inclusion in the education system. Policies that demand the education system to help adequate training among educators boost teachers’ teaching capacity and increase their awareness of a diverse population in the learning environment, prompting them to incorporate inclusive teaching strategies that address all students’ needs. Teachers should have comprehensive teaching skills and the capacity to utilize inclusive teaching strategies effectively. The education system should initiate mentorship and training programs to equip educators with effective skills to integrate an inclusive learning environment.

Leifler (2020) illustrates the significance of incorporating professional development programs in education systems to achieve inclusive education. Training and empowerment programs equip teachers with relevant and effective skills to teach a class with diverse students, increasing their awareness of the differences among learners and improving their readiness to utilize different teaching methods to support all students’ academic needs and expectations. Improving teachers’ professional skills encourages flexibility in their teaching practices and methodologies since educators understand their students’ potential and abilities, helping make effective adjustments that support an inclusive learning environment. Teachers acknowledge their students’ needs, enabling them to implement strategies that can accommodate students with and without special educational needs in a common learning environment.

Teaching and Learning Strategies and Methods

Teaching strategies and techniques have a significant influence in supporting an inclusive, interactive learning environment for students with and without special educational needs (Lawrie et al., 2017; Yasdar et al., 2020; Alenizi, 2019; Altemueller & Lindquist, 2017; Soodak & McCarthy, 2013). Lawrie et al. (2017) showcase the existence of compromising barriers to enforcing and achieving an inclusive learning environment among educators despite numerous efforts to address the concerns and support an enabling learning environment for all students to attain standard academic performance. Teachers are willing to incorporate differentiated teaching techniques and strategies, which help students find the learning environment more interactive and friendly to enhance their academic growth. Lawrie et al. (2017) express the need for learning institutions to collaborate and identify challenges and barriers to achieving an inclusive education by integrating equitable approaches.

Students with special educational needs have equal rights to education as students without special needs. They are entitled to equal learning opportunities in an inclusive environment with the best learning strategies (Yasdar et al., 2020). Education and diversity are complementary aspects, which prompts education systems to incorporate effective teaching strategies that accommodate an inclusive environment that supports the diverse needs of learners. Educators should integrate the best techniques and methods in the classroom to uphold a learning culture of equity and equality, which promotes students’ academic development and social growth regardless of their differences. Educators should encourage the students to be stewards in reciprocating and adopting teaching instructions and methods to discourage barriers that might develop due to adjustments in teaching techniques.

Alenizi (2019) advocates using multisensory learning interventions in the classroom to improve the uses of different senses, touch, vision, movement, and feeling, to enhance effective learning. An inclusive learning environment consists of students with diverse learning abilities and potential. Hence, educators need to integrate multisensory learning strategies, which help students with learning disabilities to learn effectively in the general education system. According to Alenizi (2019), programs based on multisensory learning strategies significantly affect students’ visual perception. Multisensory techniques benefit students with learning disabilities by increasing their visual understanding of concepts. Apart from benefiting students with learning disabilities, multisensory strategies enhance effective learning among students without special educational needs. Visualizing learning concepts improves students’ ability to comprehend information and increases their ability to retain and recall learned ideas at a future date.

Class setting and management also influence the achievement of an inclusive learning environment. Altemueller and Lindquist (2017) recommend using flipped classroom instructions to achieve inclusive learning. Flipped classroom instruction fosters informal learning where educators use traditional teaching strategies, teach students outside the classroom setting, and major in problem-solving to promote an effective learning environment for all students. A flipped classroom allows students to explore diverse strategies, encouraging a student-driven learning atmosphere that improves academic performance and the ability to socialize with people from different backgrounds and with varying qualifications of education when learning outside the classroom. Flipped classroom instruction uses differentiated teaching methods, stimulating teacher-student collaborations and student-student engagements, enhancing better academic performance and social growth. Soodak and McCarthy (2013) advocate that education systems improve community-building management strategies in learning institutions to support diversity and inclusion in education. Educators should integrate strategies to promote collaboration, friendship building, and engaging parents and guardians in school decision-making to help foster an effective learning atmosphere for all students and respect the diverse identities expressed in a classroom.

Policies Development

Effective policies and practices are instrumental in achieving an inclusive learning environment. Policies enactment propels reforms in the education systems, which helps to integrate an inclusive education by incorporating effective teaching strategies that enhance student learning (Brussino, 2021; Varsik, 2022; Edward, 2022). According to Brussino (2021), the education system should enact effective policies and practices that obligate the learning institutions to incorporate programs to empower educators, which helps them to become instrumental in supporting diverse and inclusive learning environments that promote better academic performances and social development. Initiating policies makes education stakeholders accountable and responsible for accomplishing what the law requires, improving the ability to achieve an inclusive education. Also, policies set specific standards that the education system should meet to encourage a supportive learning atmosphere where students’ needs and expectations are aligned with the teaching methods and techniques. Individuals who act against the established policies and regulations are subjected to punishable actions, which ensures that educators adhere to teaching standards and meet all students’ needs.

Varsik (2022) enforces the need to develop policies that promote equity, inclusion, and diversity in education systems. Such policies encourage reforms in the learning curriculum strategies to ensure the needs of all students are addressed in an inclusive learning environment. The education system should change adopted teaching strategies to incorporate instructional and non-instructional teaching methods, which support a friendly learning environment where students use their preferred learning strategies. Nevertheless, Edward (2022)  advocates for collaboration between the government, policymakers, curriculum designers, and other education stakeholders to establish effective approaches that support an inclusive learning environment and address the gaps in meeting the education needs of students in an inclusive learning environment. Setting effective teaching standards prompts all stakeholders to be accountable for integrating inclusive education. Engaging all stakeholders in decision-making on the best teaching practices helps incorporate effective strategies in the curriculum of an inclusive education. Students benefit significantly in an environment that acknowledges their needs and incorporates best practices to address them.

Learning Theory Association

The cognitive learning theory is the most effective theory that offers a theoretical perspective on how an inclusive learning environment influences students’ academic performance and social growth (Molina Roldan et al., 2021; Soodak & McCarthy, 2013; Kramer et al., 2021; Kart & Kart, 2021; Leifler, 2020). Cognitive learning theory explains the contribution of internal and external environments to a person’s thinking to enhance learning. The cognitive learning theory is based on Piaget’s cognitive development theory, which demonstrates how children develop an understanding of their world. Cognitive learning theory focuses on attributes that motivate one to learn, either internal or external factors (Schunk, 2012). Therefore, this theory supports an inclusive learning environment as an influential element in propelling student learning and academic excellence.

All the resources reviewed in establishing the basis of how instrumental an inclusive learning environment influences academic and social development depicted that the learning environment is an essential external force stimulating effective learning and academic growth. An inclusive learning environment where students with and without special learning needs interact and learn in a general education system benefits students without special educational needs by enhancing their awareness and appreciation of the different abilities exhibited by students with special needs and learning to bond with them, steering academic and social development (Molina Roldan et al., 2021; Kart & Kart, 2021). Students with special educational needs attain better academic performances in an inclusive environment than when learning in segregated environments (Kramer et al., 2021). Moreover, educators play an essential role in fostering an inclusive learning environment. According to Leifler (2020), empowering and training educators boost their skills and capacity to integrate an inclusive, interactive learning environment that helps students interact and engage in learning activities to acquire knowledge from experience and participation, which improves academic skills. Educators incorporate differentiated teaching strategies and methods in a classroom, such as multisensory strategies and flipped classroom instruction, to support an inclusive learning environment that enhances cognitive development among students (Yasdar et al., 2020; Altemueller & Lindquist, 2017). An inclusive learning environment encourages students’ engagement, collaboration, and interaction, fostering academic excellence (Thomas, 2016). Hence, the cognitive learning theory illustrates the relationship between implementing an inclusive learning environment and students’ academic performance.

Gaps in Research

Most of the resources have portrayed significant implications of inclusive education on students’ academic performance and social development. However, much has not been stated about the effects of an inclusive learning system on teachers (Kramer et al., 2021). Inclusion makes the learning environment more heterogeneous, subjecting teachers to challenges in effectively integrating and supporting an inclusive learning environment. Further research should be conducted to understand how inclusive learning environments affect educators and what to address their challenges. Soodak and McCarthy (2013) identify an educational gap in the inconsistency of the quality of an inclusive environment. The authors raise concerns about the future investigation of what causes the quality inconsistency of an inclusive learning environment, establishing effective measures to manage the disparities caused by the variation and enhance accountability for students’ performances in the inclusive learning environment. There is a gap for further research on the specific policies and laws enacted in the education systems to influence the success of inclusive education (Brussino, 2021; Varsik, 2022; Edward, 2022). The articles have only highlighted that policies and practices help educators improve their capacity and skills to support an inclusive learning environment. Future research should focus on experimental and practical engagement in data collection to increase the accuracy of the presented data in secondary data sources used in similar future research. Also, little has been researched on managing the challenges students face in an inclusive learning environment in their efforts to adapt to the changes (Ainscow, 2020). Further research must identify the challenges and mitigation measures to foster a conducive learning environment.

Biblical Worldview

Biblical perspectives uphold diversity and inclusion, which make inclusive learning education theologically acceptable. In Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, Paul states, “We are the body of Christ, and each one of us is a part of it” (NIV, I Corinthians 12:27). This passage in the Bible depicts that as human as part of the body of Christ, we all have a responsibility to accomplish what God calls us to do and encourage others to do their part. Based on our commitment as instructed by Christ, the education systems should foster diversity and inclusion to promote unity and togetherness in the learning environment. Love is the greatest fruit of the Holy Spirit (NIV, Galatians 5: 22-23). Hence, the education sector can demonstrate its love for Christ as a fruit of the Holy Spirit by incorporating an inclusive learning environment that supports students with different identities and backgrounds. Therefore, implementing inclusive learning systems is the foundation of practising Christ’s teachings in the Gospel in education.

Inclusivity in education helps all stakeholders to practice Christian values, including love, unity, and goodness. Inclusive education unites students from different settings and with different identities, which demonstrates oneness in the community in society. A learning environment that fosters learning among students with and without special educational needs enables the students to express their love for one another, illustrated by students without learning disabilities respecting their peers with special needs and supporting them to reach a similar academic level. Educators also demonstrate their kindness, a Christian virtue, through their willingness to integrate differentiated teaching methods to accommodate and address the needs of all students in the same environment. Therefore, the biblical worldview lens supports the need to integrate an inclusive, interactive learning environment.


The education system has demonstrated great efforts to foster inclusivity and diversity in education. Most of the efforts have brought significant reforms in the sector. The greater focus on steering equity and equality in the education systems has led to an inclusive learning environment that accommodates students from all sorts of life, including students with learning disabilities. An inclusive learning environment has significantly benefited students with and without special educational needs since they can learn in a common environment despite their differences. Students without special learning needs benefit from the inclusive environment by acknowledging and appreciating the different abilities of their peers with learning disabilities. The inclusive environment allows the students to socialize and build friendships with colleagues, enhancing their academic and social development.

On the other hand, students with special educational needs have demonstrated better academic performance when learning in an inclusive learning environment compared to a segregated learning environment. Educators play a crucial role in integrating inclusive learning environments in the learning institutions. The educators are responsible for implementing the changes developed in the education system to promote equity, diversity, and inclusion in education. In support of an inclusive, interactive learning environment, the educators incorporate effective teaching and learning strategies and techniques, such as multisensory learning strategies, which help address the needs of students with special educational needs and make the learning environment friendly to steer effective learning. Hence, an inclusive learning environment is instrumental in enhancing students’ engagement and collaboration, encouraging student learning desire, and achieving academic success and social growth.


Ainscow, M. (2020). Inclusion and equity in education: Making sense of global challenges. Prospects49, 123-134.

Alenizi, M. A. K. (2019). Effectiveness of a program based on a multisensory strategy in developing visual perception of primary school learners with learning disabilities: A contextual study of Arabic learners. International Journal of Educational Psychology8(1), 72-104.

Altemueller, L., & Lindquist, C. (2017). Flipped classroom instruction for inclusive learning. British Journal of Special Education44(3), 341-358.

Brussino, O. (2021). Building capacity for inclusive teaching: Policies and practices to prepare all teachers for diversity and inclusion. OECD Education Working Papers, No. 256.

Edwards, M. (2022). Inclusive learning and teaching for Australian online university students with disability: A literature review. International Journal of Inclusive Education26(5), 510-525.

Kart, A., & Kart, M. (2021). Academic and social effects of inclusion on students without disabilities: A review of the literature. Education Sciences11(1), 16.

Krämer, S., Möller, J., & Zimmermann, F. (2021). Inclusive education of students with general learning difficulties: A meta-analysis. Review of Educational Research91(3), 432-478.

Lawrie, G., Marquis, E., Fuller, E., Newman, T., Qiu, M., Nomikoudis, M., & Van Dam, L. (2017). Moving towards inclusive learning and teaching: A synthesis of recent literature. Teaching and Learning Inquiry5(1), 9-21.

Leifler, E. (2020). Teachers’ capacity to create inclusive learning environments. International Journal for Lesson & Learning Studies9(3), 221-244.

Molina Roldán, S., Marauri, J., Aubert, A., & Flecha, R. (2021). How inclusive interactive learning environments benefit students without special needs. Frontiers in Psychology12, 1510.

Nishina, A., Lewis, J. A., Bellmore, A., & Witkow, M. R. (2019). Ethnic diversity and inclusive school environments. Educational Psychologist54(4), 306-321.

NIV New International Version Bible: Corinthians and Galatians.

Schunk, D. H. (2012). Learning theories an educational perspective. Pearson Education, Inc.

Soodak, L. C., & McCarthy, M. R. (2013). Classroom management in inclusive settings. In Handbook of classroom management (pp. 471-500). Routledge.

Thomas, L. (2016). Developing inclusive learning to improve the engagement, belonging, retention, and success of students from diverse groups. In Widening higher education participation (pp. 135-159). Chandos Publishing.

Varsik, S. (2022). A snapshot of equity and inclusion in OECD education systems: Findings from the strength through diversity policy survey. OECD Education Working Papers, No. 284.

Yasdar, M., Djafar, S., Elihami, E., & Faisal, F. (2020). Teaching methods used by teachers in primary schools are inclusive. Edumaspul: Jurnal Pendidikan4(2), 108-114.


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The Impact of Inclusive Interactive Learning

The Impact of Inclusive Interactive Learning

You will complete two annotated bibliography assignments during the course that will serve as the research foundation of your final paper:

  1. Course Project: Annotated Bibliography Sources 1 – 8 Assignment
  2. Course Project: Annotated Bibliography Sources 9 – 15 Assignment


Each annotated bibliography must follow the current APA format and consist of at least the number of scholarly sources required. Each annotated bibliography must have a title page with a running head and page numbers. The professional version of the current APA title page must be used for this assignment. No abstract is required.

Of the scholarly resources you provide for each assignment, at least five must be current and published in the last five years. These must be empirical, peer-reviewed journal articles and professional books. All sources must be directly related to your research topic.

Place your topic statement at the top of the annotated bibliography. Write the full citation for the reference, followed by the annotation. The text in the annotations must be indented so that the author’s last name is the only text flush left due to the hanging indent required in the current APA format.

Each annotation should include a summary of the main points in the reference and how the information will be beneficial and contribute to the final paper you will be writing in Module 5: Week 5 (final draft) and Module 7: Week 7 (final paper). In the resource’s summary, focus on the purpose of the research study/reference and the findings/conclusions. You do not need to include the details of the research study, such as the number of participants or the research method used. The annotations are designed to help you and your instructor better understand how your sources connect to your research topic.


  • The purpose of the annotation is to inform the reader of the main points of the reference and how it will be beneficial in your final draft/final paper.
  • Write the full reference citation followed by the summary of the reference. No reference list is to be written at the end of the paper.
  • Each annotation should be 150 – 200 words. Each line in the annotation needs to be indented so that the author’s last name is the only text that is flush left.
  • Include a summary of the main points of the reference. Explain how this information is useful to your problem/topic.
  • Focus on the purpose of the research study and the findings. You do not need to include the details of the research methods used in the studies (number of participants, research method used).

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