Education Matters

Space matters: How learning environments can improve academic performance

Posted by Stefanie Gaspari on Dec 3, 2015, 6:00:00 AM

How learning environments can improve academic performanceConsciously or not, a space sets the stage for how we work, study and play. Make Space authors Scott Doorley and Scott Witthoft, both of Stanford University’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design, suggest space is the ‘body language’ of an organisation and, when designed with intent, can contribute to a culture of creativity and collaboration.

Space matters.

The move towards more agile learning spaces has gained momentum, not only in Australia but all around the world, as a result of recent evidence that found well-designed schools boost children’s academic performance, and the physical elements of a classroom can explain up to 16 percent of the variation in learning over a year (Clever Classrooms, Summary Report of the HEAD Project, University of Salford Manchester).

Accordingly, many schools are re-evaluating traditional details such as rows of identical desks and chairs, in favour of more student-centred agile learning environments. In addition, the factors of the built environment are being re-considered to maximise student learning outcomes.

Professor Stephen Heppell stresses the voice of the learner and the need to select the right furniture, finishes and equipment. He also advocates that learning suffers when the physical environment is wrong, suggesting educators must give consideration to key elements such as light, temperature and sound (

At Trinity Grammar School we support the notion that better spaces make better places for learning and are committed to providing dynamic teaching and learning spaces that allow students to learn and perform at their best.

The recent refurbishment of the Arthur Holt Library was designed to maximise natural light levels, minimise sound and incorporate elements of biophilic design (design that connects buildings to the natural world). The fully flexible learning spaces are supported by the latest in digital technologies, include a range of modern furnishings (selected by Trinity students) and are arranged to offer students a real-world experience that promotes a culture of collaboration.

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Topics: Boys' education, All boys education, Libraries