Often, educators (professors or lecturers) at college and university feel that they should maintain a stern, exacting, rigorous, and disciplinarian approach to teaching course contents. They assume that mature learners require and will benefit the most from a ‘sterile’ classroom environment. That is why college and university classes are famous for lectures, powerpoint presentations, etc. However, if students are asked about the amount and quality of learning experienced, their responses will shock most educators.
We think that when people grow older, they no longer need an invigorating and stimulating environment for learning (somehow adults have a difficult time accepting that they still enjoy being and learniing in environments that are exciting and fun to be). We wrongly believe that colorful, richer environments are only suitable for young learners at Kindergarten and primary school levels. However, brain research and studies in the area of learning point to a single significant truth about the environment in which humans learn. Regardless of age, learning is maximum when it takes place in an enriched context (surrounding).
It is important for educators at any level of teaching to deliberately work toward creating a more appealing classroom environment. This is done by restructuring both the physical as well as the social-emotional aspects of the classroom. Holding learning sessions in non-traditional settings, where there are colorful pictures, bulletin boards with posters, etc. help the classroom become a place where learning is sought and enjoyed.
The following photos testify to the fact that even college classes can be filled with ‘fun and meaningful’ learning experiences (EDUC 375 Psychological Environment for Learning class; 2nd Semester 2006-07).