Optimize Learning Outcomes

Designing Physical Activity Into Schoolyards (09-09-14)

Research conducted in Finland supports the design of school playgrounds that encourage active living.  A Finnish team learned that “higher levels of physical activity are related to better academic achievement during the first three school years particularly in boys. . . . Higher levels of physical activity at recess were related to better reading skills and participation in organized sports was linked to higher arithmetic test scores.”   

Research on Learning Spaces Design (08-26-14)

The Society for College and University Planning (SCUP) has released the final report of Boys, Melhuish, and Wilson, the team awarded SCUP’s 2013-2014 M. Perry Chapman Prize.  Their work builds on previous studies that have determined that “there is never one correct solution for the design of a learning space that can be drawn from analyzing the data. Engagement with particular spaces depends on what students and faculty bring to them, how particular educational processes are played out, and what the space enables or hinders across diverse perceptions and experiences.”

Visually Complex Classrooms Bad for Learning (05-29-14)

Classrooms should not be visually complex.  As researchers from Carnegie Mellon report “Maps, number lines, shapes, artwork and other materials tend to cover elementary classroom walls. However, new research . . . shows that too much of a good thing may end up disrupting attention and learning in young children.” Fisher, Godwin, and Seltman learned that “children in highly decorated classrooms were more distracted, spent more time off-task and demonstrated smaller learning gains than when the decorations were removed.”