Built to Learn: how design affects learning outcomes

design affects learning, koru architects, eco architects, sustainable designThere are many different variables that affect one’s ability to learn. In our new report, we break down how design affects learning outcomes and how we can increase cognition through design.

Everyone in the education sector has similar core goals: to help students broaden their minds, develop important life skills, achieve their potential, and of course pass their tests and get good grades.

The campus – far from being an inert vessel – has wide-ranging psychological and physical effects on its users. We already know design affects learning outcomes in a number of well-documented ways, for example the relationship between cognition and basic physical factors like temperature, lighting and ventilation.

Now, new areas of research on the connection between nature or green space and learning, productivity and wellbeing is coming to light.

This, combined with theories of how people learn and the constructivist paradigm, has important implications for the design of schools, colleges and universities. Innovative green design has a huge potential for enriching the learning environment to better facilitate student engagement, achievement and wellbeing.

This report outlines how design affects learning outcomes and what you – as an educator, parent, or governor – can do to ensure students’ potential is reached.

3 key ways design affects learning

Our report covers each of these points in its own comprehensive chapter (with our design recommendations) but in summary:

  • Physical conditions – how factors like temperature, noise, lighting and ventilation can affect learning, as well as student and teacher stress.
  • Learner-centred design – this chapter explores constructivism, communal and secluded spaces and agency, and engagement and flexibility.
  • Nature and biophilic design – we discuss the Attention Restoration Theory and natural views, ‘prospect’ and ‘refuge’ spaces and indoor plants.

You can read the full report here.


Are you in education? What do you think about our report? Share your thoughts with us at @KoruArchitects

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