Just like workplaces, learning environments have undergone some major design changes in recent years, and the COVID-19 pandemic only accelerated this transition. The place where children learn play a vital role not just in student performance but also child development, and builders and architects are taking notes.
Outdated approaches to design and architecture are being replaced with more modern, effective design solutions in an aim to create future-proof learning environments. As the new era of learning continues to shape the direction for schools to move in, new classroom design trends continue to emerge. In this article, we’re looking at five of the most important ones.
Focus on biophilic design
There’s no doubt that 2020 has taught us many things. From coming up with creative ways to keep our little ones entertained at home to learning the importance of establishing a good school routine and sticking to it, 2020 has definitely taught us some valuable lessons. It’s also highlighted the importance of feeling connected to nature and just how much we need it. This is exactly what biophilic design is all about. This nature-inspired design trend relies on the integration of natural elements into indoor spaces, be it through air-purifying plants, natural materials, or sunlight, that establishes the connection between ourselves and natural surroundings.
We’ve seen this design trend take over homes, workplaces, hospitals, and gyms, and now, it’s becoming an integral part of modern, engaging classroom design plans. Other than boosting productivity levels, classrooms designed with biophilia in mind can speed up learning and increase focus. This, in turn, creates an engaging learning environment that’s inspiring and welcoming, which is very important for the child’s development.
Multiple work zones
Sometimes, certain classes will require teachers and students to make changes to their classroom in order to accommodate their current needs. Having multiple work zones can definitely come in handy in situations like these.
For instance, if students need to work in groups or pairs, they may need to make changes to the current seating arrangement. Investing in furniture that is practical and easily movable can make this process so much easier. Tilt tables and standing height tables are great add-ons for modern classrooms, along with dry erase boards. The former make for flexible learning spaces that can easily be modified to fit the class’ current needs while the latter encourages students’ creativity and initiative, thus helping a child succeed in its efforts to absorb the new learning material.
Flexible and adaptable classroom design
The past year has also taught us the importance of flexibility and ability to adapt to new situations. We’re constantly learning, growing, and evolving, and the spaces where we work, live, and study need to reflect that. They need to be able to grow with us and accommodate our needs which tend to change with time. As a result, schools around the globe started embracing the modular building design trend and made it an essential part of their classroom design plan.
This trend is all about rethinking spaces and utilizing them to their fullest potential, whether with the help of interior partitions, sliding glass walls, or central hubs. From ensuring constant connectivity and incorporating intelligent features and systems to offering various options for space reconfiguration, modular classroom designs give students and teachers the flexibility they need to accommodate fluctuating class sizes and make the learning process more engaging and interactive.
Integration of learning technology
Technological advancements have had a significant impact on our everyday living, reshaping everything from the way we approach work to the way students acquire new knowledge. Nowadays, learning spaces are being fully equipped with the best learning technology for a classroom and both teachers and students are reaping the benefits of technology integration.
PowerPoint presentations and educational apps make classes much more engaging, and so do digital whiteboards and multiple projectors. Furthermore, grading systems are increasingly taking place online, textbooks are becoming digitalized, and homework is being posted on the internet so it’s easily accessible. By employing these technological design solutions, teachers are able to meet their pedagogic needs in a more efficient way while students are given a chance to actively engage with the learning material at hand and enjoy a more meaningful, interactive learning experience.
Learning spaces catering to different learning styles
When it comes to education and classroom design, there really is no one-size-fits-all approach. Not everyone learns the same way, and while some students thrive in situations where they collaborate and explore, others learn best in quiet, peaceful surroundings.
Modern classrooms take these differences into account, with many of them featuring various zones and learning spaces that cater to different learning styles. Some include privacy zones for students who are more focused when in remote settings, and others offer multiple seating options (bean bags, loungers, floor seats, etc.), thus boosting student engagement.
There’s no doubt that classrooms have come a long way when it comes to their ability to boost student engagement and promote child development. Instead of seeing depersonalized, sterile spaces, we’re seeing more positive, engaging, and interactive learning environments that support student performance.
While the concept of a good classroom design continues to change with time, it is important that the classrooms stay up to date, and it all starts by adopting design choices that encourage progress, growth, and success.
About the author: Mike Johnston is an experienced blogger and editor with a background in creative writing and digital media. He’s a regular contributor to numerous online publications, where he writes about lifestyle, home improvement, family life, and green living.