You are here

How your surroundings affect the way you study

Wednesday 31 July 2019, Support

by Ella Hendrix

How your surroundings affect the way you study

Relevant to
Ella Hendrix

Research has found that learning environments play a crucial role in student success. Several factors can affect learning ability, including seating, light, noise, and even colour. Students who study in a positive learning environment have been shown to be more motivated, engaged, and have a higher overall learning ability. On the other hand, students learning in poor environments – those that are uncomfortable, loud, or full of distractions – will find it far more difficult to absorb information and stay engaged. With this in mind, let’s look at how your surroundings affect the way you study, and consider some of the best ways to create your ideal learning environment.

Comfort
No matter where you choose to study, be it your bedroom, a local coffee shop, or your university library, it is vital that you’re comfortable. According to lecture hall seating specialists at Race Furniture, ‘When you are comfortable, you will stay focused and motivated for longer, which will help you to absorb more information. The right type of seating can also improve posture, encourage the use of movement, and reduce the risk of injury’.

Seating should therefore be a key consideration when creating a study space. Make sure you choose seating that is comfortable and provides the correct level of support, to maintain good posture throughout your study sessions. Keep in mind that, if you’re uncomfortable, you’re likely to become distracted more easily, and this will have a negative effect on your overall learning ability.

Lighting
Lighting can also play an important role in how well you engage in your learning. Studies have found that students learning in naturally lit environments typically achieve grades that are 25% higher than those in dimly lit classrooms. Natural light has also been shown to effectively boost mood and reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. Try to take advantage of natural lighting as much as possible, by positioning desks near windows and choosing study rooms that benefit from sunlight throughout the day. You should try and avoid using fluorescent lamps, as these can cause glare and make you feel tired quicker.

Colour
Colour can play a key role in how effectively you learn, so you should always consider this when choosing your ideal study space. Different colours can have a variety of effects on mood and emotion – for example. red is a strong colour that can stimulate learning and encourage creativity, but it has also been known to raise blood pressure, heartbeat, and stress levels. For that reason, shades of red are often avoided in learning environments. Whereas, yellow has been shown to create a positive feeling and can help students stay engaged throughout their study sessions. This makes yellow a great colour to use in learning environments. You can use colour to enhance learning and influence mood – try using different colours in your study space to see the effect they have on your learning ability.

Noise
Some people prefer some background noise while they’re studying, while others work most effectively in complete silence. According to InformED, a blog by Open Colleges, ‘There are times to use background noise and music to your advantage and times to seek out silence for your study sessions’. Research has found that some low-level background noise can encourage creativity and help you relax while studying. However, too much noise can act as a distraction and make it harder to focus on your learning. Whether you choose to study with some background noise or in complete silence is completely down to your personal preference. However, if you find that noise is having a negative effect on your learning, then be sure to find a calm and quiet study space where you can learn most effectively. You should also remove distractions, like mobile phones and other devices, that could potentially have a negative effect.

Clutter
Many studies have found that mess and clutter can have a negative effect on learning ability. Research suggests you will be more motivated and focused on your learning if your study space is clear and tidy. Whereas, disorganised and messy spaces can create feelings of stress and anxiety, which will have an obvious negative effect on your learning. It is therefore always worth giving your study space a quick tidy before you start studying.

Final thought
Your study space plays a vital role in how effectively you learn and absorb new information. Comfort, noise, lighting, and colour can all affect your learning ability. You should, therefore, keep these important factors in mind to help you create your ideal study space.