Universities and colleges are becoming increasingly aware of the need to offer their students a modern learning environment; an environment which reflects the technology-led world in which students communicate and live.
Modern classrooms have undoubtedly come a very long way from the regimented rows of desks which were a feature of traditional learning environments. A great deal of research has been carried out in recent years to try to discover how the surroundings in which children and students study affects the way in which they learn. As a result, it is now widely recognised that the classroom environment has a massive impact on learning and that providing the right environment leads to huge improvements in knowledge sharing, behaviour and student-teacher relationships. A well-designed, modern education environment is not just about the way a school or college looks inside, the right furniture and fittings have been proven to have a positive influence on the learning and health of those studying in the building. ‘Traditional’ styles of learning environment are still appropriate for some types of learning, however many colleges and universities are increasingly embracing a modern approach to all aspects of education environment design and this is reflected in the design work carried out by Ultimate.
The right furniture is an incredibly important part of a modern learning environment. Cast your mind back to your school classroom and you’ll probably remember lines of scratched wooden desks, uncomfortable chairs, creaking radiators and draughty windows! The reason you might have strong memories of your classroom is that the environment you learn in is very important and that the furniture you use is a tangible ‘link’ between you and the school building. Ultimate Office Solutions understand that research into the best learning environments is clear on one major point: modern classroom and study spaces must be flexible and the furniture provided has to be adaptable. For example, the location of desks in classrooms has proved to be significant. Positioning desks around the edges of classrooms for quieter work is important, alongside larger desks in the centre of the room to facilitate group work or noisier discussions. Desk systems need to be flexible and be designed to be separated into small desks or locked together to form larger working areas.
Colleges should look at all aspects of education environment design: display areas and exhibition areas, informal ‘break’ and relaxation areas, storage systems for students’ belongings, ICT housing and classroom furniture. They must realise that every detail of the design of an education environment can have an impact on the learning and well-being of the students studying in the building and can manage your learning environment project from design through to creation and completion.