An Examination of the Affects of Classroom Learning Environment on Student’s Outcomes

An Examination of the Affects of Classroom Learning Environment on Student’s Outcomes

Abstract

Students’ learning outcomes are affected by very many factors that range from the physical to the psychological ones. Many studies have been conducted regarding the psychological factors that impact on the levels of student’s outcomes and such factors has been found to be numerous and overwhelming. Other studies have been conducted to investigate on how the levels to which students’ outcomes are affected by physical factors. For the purpose of this paper, physical learning environment will be concentrated up on mainly focusing on the effects that it has on students’ outcomes.  From the word go, learning environment is a major and vital consideration as far as teaching and learning are reflected up on. It is very crucial in the learning process and majorly impacts on the levels of learning among students. To some extent students’ learning highly stimulated by the learning environments and as such students become more engaged in the learning process and eventually influencing their overall learning behaviors.  Apart from serving such roles, the learning environment is vital in building and overall development of cognitive skills as well as the abilities of the student.

Introduction

The learning environment denotes the place allotted for offices, open spaces or classrooms. Learning environment can also be used to refer to the pedagogical and psychological, social context setting that has impacts on the attitudes, learning process and the general outcome of the students. The learning environment as well as the key features present in it is believed to play crucial roles in the improvement of the learning process in schools and as such have been identified as key drivers and major determinants of learning among students. Learning environment that has the potential of motivating students to involve in the learning process as well as the effect on their behaviors is considered very influential in developing the skills of these students as well as their cognitive perception. Learning environment has two major components namely the psychological and the physical component. The former refers to the students interacts among themselves, students and their teachers, as well as students interacting with the environment. On the other hand, the latter refers to all the physical constituents that include learning facilities and teaching facilities that can be found either within or without the classroom. The aforementioned two components work in hand in the complementation of each other and in the design as well as modeling of the learning environment and impacts largely on the learning practice and everything that takes place in it.

Based on previous studies it has been affirmed that both artificial as well as natural lighting impacts on an individual alertness, wellbeing, mood and the health. according to the same studies, the color temperature of artificial lightening as well as the intensity of such lighting impacts on the psychological processes of in the body of such individuals; melatonin, variability of heart beat, and blood pressure. One of the main advantages of the biological impact of lighting is the suppression and reticence of melatonin among individual exposed to diverse lighting systems (Wellhousen & Crowther, 2004). Besides the physiological and psychological effects of the different kinds of illumination, research has shown that the levels of human performance can be improved by specific lighting conditions. For instance, based on studies, task performance, levels of speed, and accuracy levels can positively be impacted up on by artificial lighting. Looking into the effects that lighting has on the performance levels of students, previous studies have already established the importance of lighting in the general performance of adults. However, the level to which lighting impacts on the performance of school children remain scant (Sleegers et al. 2011).

Other studies have shown that classroom characterized by diffused and uniformed daylight is very conducive in facilitating and boosting the levels of students’ performance. Classrooms should be designed in such a way that they give room for artificial electric lights to be turned off during the day. Natural light combined with substantial subtle variation are known continuously to keep the mind active and engaged (McCreely & Hill, 2005).

Hypothesis:

Lighting levels can affect on students learning outcome.

Null Hypothesis:

Lighting levels can not affect on students learning outcome.

Literature Review

Over the years, many studies have been conducted in regard to the impacts that lighting has on the levels of performance among students under different classroom settings. They have based their concerns in trying to establish the degree to which controlled daylight as well as artificial illumination affects teaching and learning in schools. Some of these studies have indicated that artificial illumination alongside controlled daylight has a huge impact on the quality of student performance. It implies illumination of the classroom environment has an impact on the general levels of learning outcome among students, whether it is an indoor or outdoor classroom (Classroom Learning Environment, 2014).  They have advocated for well illuminated and lightened school environment. For instance, according to a study conducted by Benya (2001), poorly designed electric lighting with off-color day lighting can lead into formation of visual discomfort and incapacitating glare. In addition, the effect of undesirable solar heat gain can be created by incorrectly placed daylight systems eventually leading to the creation of discomfort conditions.

On a study carried out by McCreery and Hill (2005), it can be asserted that the levels of students’ performance can be facilitated and motivated by proper installation of appropriate artificial illumination as well as controlled daylight. Based on the study, the research question tried to determine as to what could be done teachers in order to help students improve their general performance levels through improved learning. The study found that the crucial role that would be done, and that required adequate attention by the stakeholders; maintenance teams, designers, educators, and administrators is the use of illumination.  However, illumination includes different types of lighting that includes reflected light, direct and indirect natural lighting, artificial lighting, as well the control of any other source of any other form of light (McCreery & Hill, 2005).

As indicted by a study conducted by National Clearinghouse of Education (NCEF), there is a strong and distinct link between the levels of students’ achievement and the illumination levels (National Research Council, 1999). Both teaching and learning are critically impacted by correct illumination. However, it is not only correct illumination that affects the learning outcomes, but also controlled illumination has a huge impact on the how students perform in their class work.  Negative effects such as increased body temperatures, reduction concentration span, eye fatigues, and glare are some of the effects of poorly controlled illumination. According to behaviorism theory, learning is a complex process that takes into account, and that combines several aspects of stimuli (Sweller, Ayres & Kalyuga, 2011).

Based on the color theory, the levels of students’ outcomes are largely degrees affected by color. In fact according to some studies carried out by some color design professionals, medical researchers, and psychologists color has a great impact on the biological reaction exhibited by different human subjects. Levels of productivity, mood, as well as vision are greatly affected by color (Juslen, & Rautkyla, 2011).  Color is believed to have much impact on the performance of students in the sense that there is some energy carried by lighting. The color effects caused by lighting have huge impacts on the human body in the sense that they influence human mind and emotions. Based on some of these studies lighting does not only affect the cortex but also the entire nervous system (Thomas, Mott & Burnette, 2013). Alpha brain that is mainly used in the determination and assessment of the human alertness has been found to be largely affected by color (Rijlaarsdam, Bergh & Couzijn, 2005). From the above discussion, it has been found that different lighting will have different colors, especially the artificial electrified lights based for example, based on the type of the bulb that is used. Studies indicated that some hormones responsible for energy production as well as mental clarity is produced when some colors are transmitted via an individual’s eye (Mott, 2012).

According to a study conducted by Wurtman (as cited in Tanner, 2009), light is a very basic requirement in the general performance of the human body, ranking right after food and water that are considered the most basic requirements in controlling the functioning of the body. In fact according to the same study, biorhythms, activity of the brain, the pulse rate, as well as blood pressure is largely affected by lights of different colors. The melatonin’s synthesis by the pineal grand’s is facilitated by full spectrum light. Circadian rhythms is regulated through the use of controlled and daylight. Some signs such as jet lags among students and teachers have pointed out as some of the negative effects that can be experienced following windowless as well as poorly lit classrooms. In addition, such environments have been known to cause mild seizures among teachers and students Tanner, and Lackey (as cited in Tanner, 2009).

In Colorado, Washington and California, a study was conducted featuring more than 21000 students and in which the students were controlled for socioeconomic status. According to the study, there was a positive response among students who were exposed to most day lighting (Vanhemert, 2013). It showed that those students who were exposed to well illuminated and well lighted classrooms advanced by twenty percent in mathematics and a relatively twenty-six percent in reading over a period on six months as compared to those students who had access of limited daylight in the classrooms (Samani & Samani, 2012).

Some other studies have found that in door environment quality has huge impacts on the satisfaction levels of the students and hence their levels of performance. Such environments have been found to either support or hinder the teaching and learning process.  In door environment, qualities such as well-lighted classrooms are very conducive in the maintenance of the general well-being, health, and general performance. Rooms with relatively larger rooms have also been found to positively and highly contribute to increased students’ performance levels (Higher levels of ambient lighting=better results, 2012). Students who were learning in classroom environments that had wider windows were proved to perform at a progressive rate of about fifteen percent in mathematics and reading levels were rated at twenty-three percent. This is as compared to those students in classroom environments that have smaller windows.

According to medical doctors on previously conducted studies, there is a biological need for windows. The studies indicate that classrooms without windows should be avoided permanently. This is because windowed classrooms have the potential of allowing natural lighting (Johnson, 2011).

Additional studies continue to indicate that proper illumination as well as appropriate lightened classrooms whether indoors or outdoors contributes positively towards teaching and learning, and there is a direct relationship between lighting and the levels of performance among students. Some of such researches have asserted that appropriate and enough lighting is very essential for visual tasks as well as the reading process (Heschong, Wright & Okura, 2002). It implies that the visual environment has a big impact on the learning skills of the student as far as the mental manners and visuals skills of the students are considered. Findings indicate that if the interior environment is very conducive to motivating the students, and then there are high chances such students becoming academically successful (Higgins, 2005).

Besides the physical impact that lighting has on the lives of human subject, there has been indication that lighting has stronger impacts on the psychological aspects of an individual. Studies show that a visual message is sent to the mind of an individual when the mind of an individual is subjected to some lights (Hathaway et al. 1992). Such effects improve the moods and the incentive levels of different individuals. Up on conducting additional research, it has been verified that light affects the functioning of the clock of the human mind thereby affecting the sleeping and awakening of an individual (Clark et al. 2001).

 

 

 

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