Brain Compatible Learning Environments: Facilitating the Development of Home Learning Environments During e-Learning

By: Ryan Wlodek, Ph.D.

The necessity to move from in-person learning to hybrid and remote learning models has created situations in which many students have become responsible for ensuring they have a dedicated area at home conducive to remote learning.  Lighting is necessary to consider in the development of any learning environment. 

The amounts of artificial and natural light vary and traditional indoor classrooms rely heavily on the use of artificial light.  Insufficient light may impact vision and contribute to fatigue which has ramifications on student learning.  In general, bright light is better as dim lighting conditions contribute to student fatigue; however, there are other related factors to consider with lighting. 

Sunlight is important because it is directly related to the synthesis of vitamin D, which is essential for processing other minerals.  Vitamin D deficiency may result from lack of exposure to sufficient amounts of sunlight and is associated with a number of health related conditions which may impact learning.  The ultraviolet light in sunlight also assists with the biological regulation of the body.  In particular, lighting cycles help regulate hormones that contribute to mood conditions such as seasonal affective disorder.

Teaching students to develop and maintain learning environments at home that optimize engagement is essential during e-learning.  Students need to be encouraged to enhance lighting conditions in their work space while they are learning from home.  Students can improve their learning environments by simply maintaining a work space near a window that lets in lots of natural light and making sure they have sufficient artificial light to brighten up the room.  Glare is also an important factor to consider; therefore, the ability to control natural lighting is essential. Teachers can also facilitate student learning at home by assigning learning activities that require students to work outside under bright lighting conditions.

Copyright © 2020 By Ryan M. Wlodek All Rights Reserved.

References:

Barrett, P., Davies, F., Zhang, Y., & Barrett, L. (2015). The impact of classroom design on            pupils’ learning: Final results of a holistic, multi-level analysis. Building and   Environment89, 118-133. doi:10.1016/j.buildenv.2015.02.013

Jensen, E. (2005). Teaching with the Brain in Mind, 2nd Edition. Alexandria: ASCD.

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