What can we say we have learned from our experiences over the last year? Whether working from home, learning from home, socializing virtually, and entertaining ourselves at home, we were all forced into “new ways” of conducting our lives. With this in mind, let’s take a closer look at how our new surroundings have influenced our productivity.
A Closer Look at How Learning Environments Impact Productivity
Let’s be honest with ourselves. How often have we really evaluated if we are more productive on the couch or recliner, or at the kitchen table? Do we have a way to measure if we feel energized in the living room or outside on the porch? Could we really determine if we are more convincing and influential when conducting our Zoom meetings from the spare bedroom or in the home office space?
Through self reflection, we can easily determine that the changes in our environment do have an impact on our work, for good or for bad.
So, how do we capitalize on what we learned from the COVID-19 disruption to improve learning environments for students as they return to school? In this blog, we’ll take a closer look at how and why changing learning environments can impact student success.
Related Article: Transform the Learning Environment, Transform Learning!
How One Mom Realized Student Success By Reinventing the Learning Environment
A friend of mine who has three children doing remote learning quickly discovered that creating the right learning space was critical to engaging her children with their classwork.
At first, she allowed her kids to work in their individual bedrooms, but she quickly discovered they were easily distracted and were not completing their school work, which caused them to fall further behind in their assignments. Needing a solution, she decided to run a family meeting and discuss with each child what they wanted and needed in their “learning space.” Using their responses, she re-designed a spare office and reimagined the learning environment to meet her children’s unique learning needs.
Personalized Spaces Promote Ownership of Learning
First, it was determined her children needed a designated area, away from any spaces in the house that created distractions. Repurposing the unused office area, she painted two walls with cool blue tones to mimic the blue sky. this create a calming, comfortable space. Then she allowed each child to pick one piece of art to display on the walls. Requiring another family meeting, each child was asked to research an artist and explain how the art piece they selected made them feel. They ordered the prints, framed them into some old frames from the attic, and then hung them on adjacent walls. This space was used as each child’s “home base.”
As they started to use the space, the children quickly learned they needed to keep clutter to a minimum. All three students stated that they felt more productive when their learning space was organized, prompting the youngest learner to elect herself to picking up at the end of each day.
Letting each child select their favorite seating option from around the house, my friend then constructed work surfaces that her children could move easily about the space. Each child “owned their space,” allowing them to better focus and concentrate. Her oldest found that he liked moving his work surface around the room, following the natural light from the window. On the other hand, the youngest learner complained that the sun made her sleepy and she preferred her desk in a corner area with a lamp.
Every day, there was something new to learn about how the learning environment influenced each of her children’s ability to succeed.
Using Color, Comfort and Space to Spark Creativity and Inspiration
What I love about this story is the journey all of the students took to better understand their learning environment and how to make sure their space enabled each child to improve focus, make better grades, and overall, experience greater academic and personal success.
Today, my friend feels strongly that her family came out on the other side in a much better place. She is now passionate that they will continue to provide the best environments for her kids either it be learning, playing, or relaxing. She is hoping as her children return to the classroom settings, the school staff take into consideration things like flexibility, comfort, and ownership of the space, similar to what her children could experience at home.
The Right Learning Environment Can Transform Learning
Whether you’re a mom repurposing your home for remote learners, or you’re a teacher re-designing your classroom after the COVID-19 disruption, it’s important you remember that learning environments have a huge impact on student success!
For more helpful information on transforming your learning environment to ensure student success, check out these helpful resources!
- Explore Classroom Design Strategies that Promote Student Engagement
- Student-Centered Learning Environments that Inspire Learning
- Classroom Layouts that Promote Student Belonging