Clever Classrooms Research: What’s the learning impact of the classroom space?

Clever Classrooms is 12 years of research into the learning impact of less easy to measure ‘soft’ factors in the learning space. This summary report of the Holistic Evidence and Design (HEAD) project shares the key findings and with classroom displays included this has our full attention as we introduced the Blippit Boards app this year.

“This is the first time that clear evidence of the effect on users of the overall design of the physical learning space has been isolated in real-life situations. Specific aspects have been studied in the past, such as air quality, but how it all comes together for real people in real spaces has proved to be a knotty problem.

Three types of physical characteristic of the classrooms were assessed:

Stimulation, Individualisation and Naturalness, or more memorably the SIN design principles.

The factors found to be particularly influential are, in order of influence:

  1. Naturalness: light, temperature and air quality – accounting for half the learning impact

  2. Individualisation: ownership and flexibility – accounting for about a quarter

  3. Stimulation (appropriate level of): complexity and colour – again about a quarter.”

Report findings were considered so significant by the Dept of Education that funding was about to be made available to schools so they could actually act on them but literally at the last moment recession warnings caused funds to dry up – a real shame!!

“A very positive finding is that users (teachers) can readily action many of the factors. The suggestions included show that small changes, costing very little or nothing, can make a real difference. For example, changing the layout of the room, the choices of display, or colour of the walls.”

You can download the beautifully laid out PDF report via the Clever Classrooms Research Website.
Thanks to Professor Peter Barrett whose kind permission was given to quote some of the report here directly on the blog.

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