When creating a space for optimal learning experience, it's important to recognize the skillful use of colors in the environment. With each color possessing its' specific benefits, these color-motivated behaviors improve not only the academic performance of students but also the potential for their mental and physical health. Various studies have proven that color has both the ability to influence learners' cognition and emotions and can help refine the ever-growing educational system.
Color psychology explains how color affects how we feel and perceive certain things. Its' effects and symbolic reactions are unique to the context, but many can show physical and psychological benefits from boosted metabolism to increased state of productivity.
Having this information in mind, let's dive into three different ways in which tapping into color can improve students' learning experience and outcome in educational environments.
1. Zoning and Circulation
A customizable and specialized environment can be a critical foundation for students' learning and social development. As something as small as choosing the right color and pattern can immediately help the circulation throughout the space as well as provide visual interest. Especially after the pandemic, it has become more important to provide the students and educators flexible spatial designs in schools that accommodate for both collaborative and independent workspaces - spaces that incorporate abilities to create boundaries between each space while also provoking energizing or calming moods depending on the composition within an interior. So where does color come into play?
Using color isn't just to aesthetically please the eyes - it also serves to contribute to the zoning of a learning environment. "Zoning helps the overall interior function in a variety of ways while supporting different modes of learning and working." This process can include something as minor as adding small color accents to define each zone all the way to using colored elements (furniture or walls) to regenerate the space to support different learning systems and styles. By incorporating these colorful elements, it not only provides students with visible boost of serotonin while learning, but also accommodates for the versatility of the educators' lessons.
2. Stimulate an Active Learning Environment
Unfortunately due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many students have a hard time adjusting to the change from remote to in-person learning environment. Already acclimated to the freedom they experienced in a remote setting, students are now inevitably forced to step into and learn in conditions that aren't as comforting and familiar as their own homes. Confining students in an uncomfortable environment can not only refrain them from feeling ownership and pride in their classrooms but also dampen their ability to have a positive learning outcome by 38%.
Although schools can't 100% replicate the comforting space of each students' homes, they can still use different colors to provide a welcoming and stimulating environment for growth and independence. For example, colors like light blue, red, yellow, orange and green provoke productivity, whereas colors like blue, pink and pastels encourage relaxation. (Click Here to read the Ultimate Guide to more color psychology!). Utilizing different colors and hues in a learning environment can be a welcoming sight for students who need a change of scenery towards a sense of freedom and warmth of a home.
3. Use Nature to Inspire Mindfulness
As previously mentioned, the pandemic has shed a new light on the positives and negatives of traditional learning environments. With students being confined to a space in school buildings, the potential for their academic and personal growth has become limited and restricted. A study shows that the lack of time spent in open air and natural spaces causes obesity, a sedentary lifestyle and reduced mobility in young children. Those who live in contact with nature can receive the benefits not only of brain development, mental well-being and self-confidence but also of socio-emotional development with increased empathy and care for oneself and others. Even if your school doesn't have dedicated outdoor learning spaces, you can still take advantage of the use of colors to provide nature-inspired design principles that students can successfully utilize for the same effect.
Integrating natural elements in indoor learning spaces can have measurable benefits on both physical and mental health. Using the color green and wooden tones in different spatial elements with different textures and patterns can trigger increased academic results and decreased stress and anxiety in students by 78%. By merely bringing in aspects of the nature inside the confined walls encourages holistic development of the students and their academic performance.
We live in an ever-changing reality with endless possibilities and unknowns. It's our responsibility to provide our students with surroundings in which they are constantly inspired and provided with opportunities. With the right ingredient, we can provide our students with an optimal learning environment that directly impacts their growth, engagement and dreams. And where should you start? Color.