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How to design an effective learning environment

26/01/2018

In a study conducted by the University of Salford, it was found that a classroom environment can affect pupil’s learning and academic progress by up to 25%.

The study provided five key areas to provide engaging and inspiring environments for our future generations.

Light

Natural lighting can help to increase student productivity and improve information retention.

But this doesn’t mean to say that artificial lighting is to be eliminated completely, in fact it was found that artificial lighting plays an essential role in maintaining consistent levels of light throughout the day and the year, preventing eyestrain and importantly increasing students’ focus.

Our expert says: “We work with our clients throughout the design process to achieve and understand the right features for the pupils. We encourage the use of floor-to-ceiling, double glazed windows which maximise natural light, provide a stunning aesthetic and enhance productivity.”

Air quality

Pupils’ performance is increased by up to 15% when ventilation rates in teaching spaces are increased, improving pupil alertness, reducing carbon dioxide levels and improving the air quality often associated with large classrooms.

The UK Government recommends that the average concentration of carbon dioxide should not exceed 1500 parts per million (ppm) when measured at seated head height, during the continuous period between the start and finish of teaching on any day.

Our expert says: “Modular construction is so flexible we can accommodate even the most complicated ventilation and design requirements. Independent air-permeability tests have shown that our buildings perform up to 70% better than traditionally constructed buildings.”

Room Temperature

The optimum performing temperature for children is around 22°C with minimum temperatures of 18°C in classrooms and 15°C for areas of high activity according to The Education (School Premises) Regulations 1999; this ensures students’ concentration and productivity levels plus reduces drowsiness.

Our expert says: “Air pressure tests carried out on a range of completed buildings in accordance with Building Regulations Part L2A have demonstrated that steel-framed modular technology can achieve a higher degree of precision, leading to improved thermal efficiency, lower running costs and reduced carbon emissions.”

Acoustics

Excess noise can be disruptive to learning, affecting speech perception, student concentration and behaviour. Teachers can also suffer vocal strain if they need to shout to be heard over the classroom noise.

The EFSA recommends  35-40 BB93 decibel limits for ambient noise levels  within a classroom and the following methods could improve your classroom acoustics;

  • find the source of the noise and try to buffer it
  • keep classrooms away from noise problems
  • buy sound absorbing tiles or panels to help contain noise
  • use carpets instead of hard floors
  • double glazed windows reduce disruption from external noise

Flexibility

A dynamic classroom space is increasingly working its’ way up the list of priorities for UK schools; Teachers prefer to flex their space around different learning styles, teaching techniques, age brackets, subjects and activity types.

Certain trends are becoming apparent, with spaces for older children tending to be large and squarer whereas primary classrooms are designed to include zones for different learning activities.

Our expert says: “Portakabin buildings are extremely flexible and can evolve with the ever changing needs of the school. They are available to hire or buy and can be delivered and ready to use in days, in order to meet even the most urgent requests with minimal disruption.”

Further information about the UKs government’s guidance on acoustics, lighting and ventilation in schools can be found here.



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