There is no easy, one-size-fits-all solution for creating the ideal learning environment. The multitude of factors ranging from teachers’ teaching styles to community involvement and everything in between necessitate that the ideal learning spaces for a school will vary. However, after almost a decade of working with schools to create their ideal learning environments, we have found that there are 5 essential elements that, when combined, create a high-impact learning environment. Learner mobility is showcased in this breakout space shown in the photo. Students' learning is not confined to the classroom.
High-impact learning environments center on the reality that the 21st Century knowledge worker will need extremely high agility and adaptability in order to succeed. They have to be able to assimilate new technologies, adopt new skill sets, and validate information that they are receiving. Sure, you can look up bits and pieces of information online, but effectively sourcing, analyzing, and validating that data – then using it to collaborate with others – is an extremely important soft skill that not all students are acquiring at the K-12 level. And while the physical classroom setting doesn’t necessarily correct this problem, it does support the lifelong learner and his or her future needs.
A supportive, collaborative, high-impact learning environment includes the following critical elements:
Integrated Technology: The integration of technology into the educational environment is more involved than placing computers in a classroom. Integrated technology becomes an integral part of the learning experience in a high-impact learning environment.
Learner Mobility: Today’s learner is mobile. Formal and informal learning contexts are now prevalent as a result of pedagogy and technology.
Adaptability: The learning facility use is likely to change as often as education changes; therefore, the design of a space must allow owners many options of use.
Multiple Modalities: A high-impact learning environment is designed so that differentiated instruction may take place with ease. This means creating spaces, configurations, and flexibility to allow for highly varied learning environments.
Dynamic Ergonomics: Humans are made to move and an active learning environment stimulates cognitive development.
For a more in-depth look at shifting to high-impact learning environments, check out our follow up article here.
Digital Storyteller, MeTEOR Education
About the Author:
Amy Bradley has a Bachelor’s degree in Linguistics with a minor in Japanese and TESL from the University of Florida. She has TESL certification and worked teaching English language learners at the University of Florida English Language Institute before coming to MeTEOR Education in 2014. At MeTEOR Education, she helps spread the message of High-Impact Learning Environments and Experiences through MeTEOR’s digital pieces and social media sites. In her free time, she enjoys practicing Japanese and sewing.