Learning factories present a promising environment for education, training and research, especially in manufacturing related areas which are a main driver for wealth creation in any nation. While numerous learning factories have been built in industry and academia in the last decades, a comprehensive scientific overview of the topic is still missing. This paper intends to close this gap by establishing the state of the art of learning factories. The motivations, historic background, and the didactic foundations of learning factories are outlined. Definitions of the term learning factory and the corresponding morphological model are provided. An overview of existing learning factory approaches in industry and academia is provided, showing the broad range of different applications and varying contents. The state of the art of learning factories curricula design and their use to enhance learning and research as well as potentials and limitations are presented. Conclusions and an outlook on further research priorities are offered.