Holistic Classrooms Shown to Boost Learning

05/19/2015 |

Building design has a measureable impact on educational outcomes

School room

While much has been made about the impact of design elements on building occupants, a new study shows that a holistic design can improve learning outcomes by as much as 16%. The researchers from the University of Salford studied over 150 classrooms and 3,766 pupils in the U.K. to determine the effects of various design decisions on student learning, which was measured by comparing beginning and ending teacher assessed grades in reading, writing, and mathematics.

The research identified seven key design parameters that can improve educational outcomes: light, temperature, air quality, ownership, flexibility, complexity, and color. While many of the recommended improvements may already be familiar – such as expanding access to natural light, improving air quality and making sure acoustics are correct for individual classrooms – the study also demonstrates the importance of elements such as visual diversity and ensuring that classrooms are multifunctional enough to accommodate a variety of learning styles.

The researchers are also quick to note that many of the suggested improvements are low- to no-cost, affording building designers and teachers a valuable opportunity to improve outcomes with minimal investment.

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