Classroom Re-design to Facilitate Student Learning: A Case Study of Changes to a University Classroom

Tom Perks, Doug Orr, Elham Al-Omari


This case study examines the physical aspects of a particular university classroom, and what affect specific changes to the classroom had on the perceptions of students, instructors and observers regarding the room as an effective learning space. We compare survey and focus group data collected from students taking courses in the classroom prior to changes to the physical environment with comparable data from students taking courses in the same classroom after specific changes had been made. Immediately following changes to the classroom, notable increases were observed in reported perceptions of student satisfaction with the physical environment, including perceptions of the classroom as a more effective and engaging learning space. Similar perceptions of improvement as a teaching-learning space were reported by instructors and observers. However, subsequent follow-up data collection and analyses suggested little if any sustained increase in perceptions of efficacy of the room as a learning space; indeed, most reported variables returned to baseline levels. The implications of these findings and their relevance to classroom design nevertheless may provide insight regarding the manner in which physical space might support or even enhance teaching and learning.


learning spaces, active learning, classrooms, teaching and learning environment, classroom design

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