For those of you planning to take lessons online, here are some easy suggestions you can share with your students to help them define their own learning environment and stay engaged in their learning.
Natural Pod’s work is focused on setting the stage for deep learning to happen, so firstly we want to reiterate that the objectives of a good learning environment are to create a space that inspires and welcomes students; that fosters collaboration, innovation and creativity; and this is done with the aim of engaging students in the success of their own learning outcomes.
Here are some key best practices to create such environments:
- Flexibility. In a classroom setting, using furniture in a modular way that can be easily moved around depending on the needs of the class and curriculum, and creating different zones for collaborative work, group projects, and individual quiet time.
- Choice. Different students learn best in different ways: many need to sit, but some focus better when they can move, and others when lying down. Offering different seating options gives students choice and agency over how they learn best. It makes them more comfortable and they tend to be more engaged.
- Natural light. Everyone focuses better in natural light. We are hard-wired to connect with nature, and daylight has a calming effect on our system, helping to set us up for success.
- Plants. For the same reasons as natural light, greenery calms our nervous system by providing a connection to nature.
So how does all this translate to online learning?
You can support your students, and yourself for that matter, by helping them create their own learning environment that sets the stage for engagement.
- Choose a designated space. This could be in their room or some other part of the home, preferably near a window giving access to natural light.
- Choose a seating option that suits them best. Ask them how they physically focus best. Some may want to create a standing desk for themselves, while for others it may be cushions on the floor.
- Ensure a clutter-free space. This is important because the learning space should be free from distractions. A plant in the space is beneficial, but keep it simple.
These suggestions may sound obvious or unnecessary, but for young people who don’t typically have any say in how a home is set up, to have an allocated space that they’ve created for themselves can really make a difference to how they relate to the process of learning. It sets the stage for focus and intention and often defines whether students engage and take ownership of their own learning, or not.
These are simple suggestions for students who may need to learn from home for a while. At some point schools will open again and if you’re using this time to plan ahead for either a refresh of your learning space or to create a new learning environment, please know the Natural Pod team is fully operational and ready to support you in the planning, designing and implementation of your learning environment.
If you can imagine it. We can deliver it.