Creating a Classroom Space to Meet Learners’ Needs
A learning environment that is conducive to learning takes into consideration the comfort of all learners. Good lighting, seating, room temperature, acoustics and visual aids will ensure that participants are comfortable and engaged.
Good Lighting for Learning
Good lighting can not only improve the ambiance of a space but promote learning by improving visibility and the energy level within the room. Lighting can be altered by choosing when to have the full compliment of lights turned on, when to use just natural light (if the room has windows) and creating a warm reading space with the addition of floor or table lamps or creating a seated task area with task lighting.
Arranging Seating to Allow for Active Learning
Training room layout or the seating arrangement is one factor that can be changed in most classrooms. Use the opportunity to create a space that is conducive to the activities planned such as a horseshoe arrangement for discussions, pods for small group activities and theatre style for large participant numbers where demonstrations or lectures are the main delivery style. Make sure that the room is large enough for the number of participants; cramped rooms can distract learners.
Comfortable Room Temperature Keeps Learners Engaged
Room temperature can influence attention spans and learning. It is important to check the room temperature and close blinds, open windows, use space heaters etc. if necessary. Basic comfort is needed if learners are to retain the information they are learning.
Test Room Acoustics to See if Sound Equipment is Necessary
If the room is large and the participant numbers is in excess of 50 people, a microphone and speakers may be necessary in order for the presenters or instructors voice to carry to the back of the room. Bad acoustics can be highly frustrating for learners who are intent on hearing the message. Good conference phone equipment is also important if learners are calling in to the session. Speakers may also be required if audio presentations such as video clips are shown.
Visual Aids Need to be Seen by All Learners
Visual aids can have a huge positive impact on learners’ ability to understand key concepts. However, if visual aids are poorly designed and are not visible to all learners within the classroom, they loose their impact. Choose font sizes of no less than 20 in PowerPoint presentations and choose backgrounds that are light with dark coloured font.
Comfortable learners are engaged learners and so it is important for instructors to consider the elements that they can control to create a classroom environment that is conducive to learning.