How to increase student success through flexible learning environments
As the world evolves, so does our understanding of education and the spaces in which students learn. While strict, quiet classrooms were once seen as the pinnacle of appropriate education, attitudes are beginning to change today. Flexible learning spaces are emerging as a powerful way to help students learn more fun and effectively. As such, they are starting to rise in popularity and are becoming a greater priority for educational institutions across the country. Understanding the ways in which these alternative educational environments benefit students can make it easier to understand their growing popularity and implementation. This is how flexible learning spaces drive student success.
What are flexible learning spaces?
The concept of flexible learning spaces is broad and can come in different shapes and sizes. At its core, flexible learning spaces are meant to be adaptable, more engaging and able to meet the various unique needs of individual students. Typically, these spaces contain movable furniture that can be adapted to particular classes, along with spaces conducive to a variety of different teaching methods. Ultimately, these spaces aim to be welcoming and malleable environments conducive to a variety of educational activities ranging from one-on-one instruction to intensive group projects. As time goes by, it is more than likely that many aspects of flexible learning spaces will be incorporated into all classrooms to enhance, reinforce and encourage student success.
How flexible learning spaces benefit students
While movable furniture may seem like an insignificant feature in the grand scheme of educational ventures, the truth is that flexible learning spaces can benefit students in several important ways. By understanding the various benefits of these educational environments, one can get a clearer picture of why they are considered the best future of education. Here are some ways students benefit from flexible learning environments.
4 benefits of flexible learning spaces
Tailor education to individual needs
One of the most valid criticisms of traditional teaching methods is that they require a one-size-fits-all approach to education. As most people know, every individual is different and has their own unique needs. When it comes to students, the case is no different and each individual learns in their own idiosyncratic way. Because of their malleability, flexible learning spaces are conducive to different methods of instruction to suit students who learn in different ways.
For example, while some students work better listening to a lecture, others may have difficulty processing information in this way. Flexible learning environments can accommodate these students in a variety of ways. An example of this is having an area where these students can read along. Another possibility is that there is room for other children to listen to a pre-recorded lecture, while the instructor has one-on-one sessions with students who are struggling with a particular topic.
Essentially, these educational environments can benefit all students by ensuring they find a form of learning that suits their needs. In this way, flexible learning environments can deliver an impressive performance that most traditional classrooms fail to achieve.
Encouraging student involvement in the classroom
Just as different students have different learning styles, different students also have different incentives that make them feel engaged and attentive. Unfortunately, many students find traditional classrooms uninteresting, which can lead to them falling behind, feeling unintelligent, and less motivated to commit themselves academically. However, flexible learning environments have the potential to revolutionize the learning experience for masses of students. Flexible learning environments prove to be incredibly engaging for most students. An important reason for this is their versatility and consistent evolution. This consistent change in environment keeps students engaged and excited, rather than bored.
Another important reason why students feel more engaged in flexible learning environments is that they have more autonomy over their learning experience. For example, if a particular student needs more time to work on a particular module, he or she can have a space marked out for personal use. This greater sense of control makes students feel more engaged and invested in their personal educational and academic experiences.
Cultivate student well-being and a great school culture
In any educational environment, student well-being should be a top priority. Unfortunately, many educational institutions prioritize academic results over the mental health of their students, resulting in a stressful learning environment or, in other words, a poor school culture. Flexible learning environments have the potential to boost student well-being and improve school culture in important ways.
An important way in which flexible learning environments stimulate student well-being and improve school culture is by providing a supportive learning environment. In these alternative classrooms, where unique needs are met, all students really feel supported as autonomous individuals. This results in a greater sense of connection with others and improved mental health. If this is the case, it becomes clear that flexible learning environments can be powerful tools to improve student well-being and school culture.
Improving academic results
Believe it or not, new findings show that students who learn in flexible learning environments are more likely to be successful in academic pursuits than their counterparts who study in traditional classrooms. This indicates that these alternative learning environments, in which students feel more engaged and stimulated, are actually more conducive to learning than rigid classrooms. What is interesting about these findings is that they reveal a misconception that is quite common in educational institutions around the world. Creating rigorous learning environments that are not very stimulating is the best way to help students retain information and learn at an advanced level.
One possible reason flexible learning environments increase student academic performance is the increased level of collaboration with other students. This consistent practice of sharing ideas and working with others helps students develop better critical thinking skills. This seems to have a dramatic positive effect on academic pursuits, seemingly making students more able to thrive and find solutions to problems. As such, it is becoming increasingly difficult for educational institutions to deny the benefit of integrating flexible learning environments into their facilities and curricula.
Flexible learning spaces are the future
While rigid classrooms have been the norm in education for decades, flexible learning environments are quickly becoming a viable alternative. From increasing student engagement to improving academic outcomes, these education spaces are emerging as a great path for the education landscape to evolve with the changing times. As such, it is more than likely that flexible educational environments will become a normalized part of schools around the world in the coming decades.