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Research surrounding how we interact with the spaces we spend time in is not a new concept. In recent years, studies have shown that the work environment can impact certain factors like stress levels. Similar studies are beginning to examine educational environments, and some have looked at the classroom specifically, revealing that features like natural light can aid in achievement. MDR’s recent survey asked educators if they thought education spaces impact learning. Nearly all educators believed space in schools, such as the physical surroundings, fixtures, and layout, had a high or moderate level of impact on successful learning; how a student reacts to their environment impacts their ability to concentrate and learn.

Space’s Impact on Learning by School Type, Size, School Poverty Level, and Metropolitan Classification

Regardless of school types, sizes, school poverty levels, or metropolitan classifications, almost all teachers agreed that space has a high or moderate impact on learning.

The Impact of Space on Learning, by Construction Phase

The results skew slightly differently based on whether respondents work in schools that completed construction, are planning for it in the next five years, or think they need renovation but it is not planned. Respondents who work in schools where construction did not take place but consider it necessary were significantly more likely to believe that education environments have a high impact on learning (64%).

Why Space Has a High Impact on Learning: Teacher Commentary

Respondents were asked if they agreed with a set of statements relating to how education environments impact learning—which were then compared with respondents’ overall opinion on whether space has a high (60% overall), moderate (34%), or low impact (2%) on learning. (See tables A9-A13). They provided open commentary about these statements, which are presented below.

How does space and furniture design impact your learning environment?

About this Research and Methodology

State of the K-12 Market 2018: The Impact of Learning Spaces on Student Success, is based on an online survey conducted by MDR, with a nationwide sample of K-12 public school educators. Teachers and librarian/media specialists were sent an email invitation to take the survey and 1,685 completed it. Data collection occurred from May 24 through June 17, 2018. Respondents were asked if their school had undergone a construction or renovation in the past five years, or if their school has a renovation planned in the near future. If neither was the case, they were asked if their school is in need of a renovation. Throughout the report, how the respondents answered this question will be referenced for perspective. Nearly one-fourth of the respondents work in schools planning a renovation, over one-third reported construction took place recently, and nearly two-thirds believe their school needs construction or a renovation in the next five years. This points to the importance teachers place on having modern, updated learning spaces in which to teach. Learn more about MDR Education reports at