Albert Einstein once stated that he did not teach his students, “I am only trying to provide the conditions under which they can learn.”
A few decades have passed, but education systems around the world are catching up with this philosophy. The interior design of the learning space now much more student-conscious, providing the optimal environment not only for academic achievement, but also for social edification.
Interior design for an effective learning environment
To maximize learning potential, Lennie Scott-Webber, Director of Education Environments at Steelcase and former head of the Department of Interior Design and Fashion at Radford University, says we need to create a space that can become the catalyst for change.
“When you open a door to a space, does it allow you to act differently, other than being conditioned by behaviour to ‘sit and comply’ or ‘get up and comply’? If space doesn’t give permission to change, it’s too easy to go back to what we know, “Scott-Webber says.
What is an effective learning space like?
Although there is no one-size-fits-all classroom design, there are some basic principles that should be applied.
Designing a comfortable classroom doesn’t mean pampering students
Time and again it has been shown that students need to be comfortable to learn effectively. It’s common sense, and no, it doesn’t mean overprotecting students.
Jeremy Mettler, a social studies teacher at Batavia High School, says: “The reality is that if you’re sitting in an uncomfortable chair or distracted by the environment, you’re focusing on the source of the discomfort rather than learning. Distraction stresses, and if you’re stressed, you’re not learning. “
Comfort in a learning environment can be as simple as proper lighting, proper acoustics, and well-regulated room temperature.
We leave you here the best school products for each case:
Proximity to nature and lots of natural or almost natural light
In the 1990s, an architecture firm in California looked at how light affects learning. The question was: could the problem of lack of concentration be partially solved by improving lighting?
The answer surprised them. A rigorous study involving 21,000 students found that those studying in “classrooms with more natural light scored up to 25 percent higher on standardized tests than other students in the same school district.”
This corroborated the anecdotal evidence that architects had been quoting all along: “Children learn best under the lighting of skylights or windows, rather than light bulbs.”
Flexibility as a great ally
In coworking spaces, the spaces “me” and “us” are equally important: the latter for the collaborative effort and socialization, the former for concentrated work. Diversity in seating distribution also helps to get out of the routine and into a new perspective.
In a learning space, these different zones and seating flexibility are no less important, and the reasons are not so different. At Pennsylvania State University, for example, the HUB-Robeson Centre has a large staircase ideal for meeting, interacting and collaborating. The University of Bradley, Illinois, offers a more unique vision: collaborative study tables on landings attached to a steel ladder.
Students “look for open, fluid designs in the classroom. Instead of a static classroom filled with individual desks, designers should look for ways to create breakout spaces.” Edutopia educators recommend organizing desks and tables to create specific corners and spaces for different areas of study. “
In addition, “desks, chairs, tables, whiteboards; virtually any classroom furniture can and should have the ability to move to suit the needs of students.”
Here is a compilation of our best products to facilitate cooperative learning: