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Higher Education Trends and Classroom Design

Higher education trends include designing inviting and productive indoor learning environments. This is often a challenge as it takes knowing today’s students and professors and understanding how college classroom teaching is changing.

The physical environment in which a college student spends his time has a direct impact on his ability to absorb and process information.  Classrooms of days past usually had the students’ chairs and square desks lined up in parallel rows, while the teacher’s desk sat at the front of the room.  This was perfect for delivering lectures but not so good for small group learning, collaborative learning or interactive learning.

To facilitate today’s student-centered learning experiences, colleges are using design.  This is often as simple as employing furniture that supports collaborative learning.  For example, square desks are not easily moved into a circle where students can sit closely together, talk and share ideas.

On the other hand, trapezoidal and arc-shaped desks do just that.  They fit together to create an inviting gathering space.  This proximity encourages students to work collaboratively instead of sitting alone at a desk and staring out a window. When it is time for the lecture to resume, the desks can quickly be placed back into rows if necessary.

Flexible chairs are another design element that is changing how college classrooms work.  These chairs allow students to comfortably lean forward, sideways or backwards, inviting conversation and collaboration with neighboring students.  No more sitting in a rigid chair that forces the student to only face forward.

As college learning evolves, so does design.  In fact, in many instances, design is leading the way, creating high performance classrooms where students are actively engaged and excited to learn.  Contact us for ideas on how to design the next great higher education classroom.