Improving educational outcome in the post-secondary world is a universal goal for educational institutions. How to go about doing so remains the focus of significant research and debate. An often overlooked factor, is the effect classroom design can play in optimizing student learning and engagement. In fact, several noteworthy studies have confirmed that thoughtfully and intentionally designed post-secondary spaces can affect retention, attention, motivation, learning and academic achievement. Here are three simple classroom design tips that promote and enhance active learning.
1. Integrate flexibility – modular furniture, technological devices and whiteboards will make room for collaborative project engagement and brainstorming sessions.
2. Abandon the ‘front of the room’ – utilize the middle part of the classroom as the primary “teaching corridor,” and leave the wings as study areas for students that can also be walled off with movable screens. This approach will encourage active involvement and shared communication.
3. Let the light in – Natural light in the classroom can improve performance. One study of 2,000 classrooms found those with more natural daylight performed higher on than those who had less. While installing new windows across campus could be a costly endeavor, swapping up spaces with windows that weren’t originally used for learning purposes (office spaces or lecture halls for example) could be a viable solution.
Generation Z will be the next wave of post-secondary students. In a constantly shifting technological and educational landscape, it’s crucial to design and integrate active learning spaces that inspire the innovators of tomorrow.