A description of two effective and novel collaborative learning environments that support engineering and technological innovation is provided. While offering great value to systems, and systems of systems, engineering practice, these environments are not adequately described by either of these perspectives. Instead these multi-institutional semi-structured learning environments are best described using an informing sciences perspective. Evidence is presented that these environments not only fulfill the definition of an informing system but may represent two of the more complete and dynamic instances of such systems with each simultaneously informing practice, research and teaching in a substantive manner that also produces engineering and technological innovation. The potential for these environments to serve as laboratories for both traditional and participatory research for those studying informing systems is suggested.