There is a huge range of creative teaching environments available nowadays, with many people opting to study in non-traditional learning spaces such as cafes, libraries, and even their bedrooms. Lecture theatres are a staple of higher education and many people believe they provide the ideal teaching environment. A positive learning environment can have a big impact on how well users engage and interact, and on overall learner ability. With this in mind, let’s look at what makes lecture theatres a popular and effective teaching environment.
Lecture theatres offer ample seating which can accomodate large numbers of students. There is a huge range of modern auditorium seating and lecture hall seating available that is both comfortable and space efficient. This is extremely important because students that are comfortable in their learning environment, will remain focused and motivated for longer, which will improve their ability to absorb new knowledge and work efficiently. Comfortable, quality seating also helps promotes good posture and reduces the risk of pain or injury from sitting for long periods of time. There is also now the option of flexible seating within lecture theatres. This allows students to change their location and positions as needed, which has been shown to improve learner performance.
Most lecture theatre design is based on that of an auditorium, with tiered seating leading down to the main stage area. This layout is highly efficient as it maximises occupancy, without compromising on user experience. It helps to create an environment which stimulates concentration and interaction, as all students have good visibility of the teacher, without any obstructions in their line of vision. Many modern lecture theatres also now feature acoustic paneling, which helps to improve the acoustics of the room and ensure that all learners are able to hear clearly during the teaching session.
Lecture theatres also tend to be spacious, with high ceilings and plenty of windows. This helps to create an open, relaxed atmosphere for students to work in, and also allows lots of natural sunlight to flood into the room. Research has shown sunlight to be effective in improving learning ability and concentration, thus increasing overall student performance. According to energy experts at Bristolite - “One study that looked at the difference between tests taken in an artificially lit environment and those sat in a naturally lit environment, found a 25 percent improvement in test scores achieved in naturally lit environments.”
Lecture theatres are usually equipped with the latest technology such as smart boards, projectors, and surround sound. These help to create a more efficient learning environment and streamline the user experience. Lecture theatres also provide individual desks which can be used as a workstation to take notes, or type on a laptop. Many modern lecture theatres now provide power sockets, so students are able to charge their laptops, phones or iPads during a teaching session.
One huge advantage of lecture theatres is that they are viewed as the traditional learning environment. This helps students get into the learning mindset and remain focused and motivated. Lecture theatres are also generally free from distractions that you may find in other less formal learning environments, such as - televisions, music, and phones. These can all act as distractors which will have a negative effect on learning ability.
Lecture theatres are traditionally spaces where large number of students sit and listen to a teacher, who talks to them about a particular subject for a set amount of time. This traditional, passive method of learning, has been found to be less effective than more interactive methods. However, there is nothing to say that traditional lecture theatres can’t be transformed into active teaching environments for students. Active learning environments have been shown to improve student performance, as they encourage collaboration and help learners remain focused and engaged throughout the teaching session. Some common techniques used to create an active learning environment include:
● Posing questions to the room during lectures and encouraging audience participation.
● Maximising student interaction by getting groups working together on a particular task.
● Asking volunteers to come down and assist with learning demonstrations.
● Arranging interactive learning games.
Although there is now a wide range of creative learning environments available, lecture theatres are still considered one of the most effective teaching environments. There are now many ways to make lecture theatres more active and engaging, and there is no doubt that they are an effective way of conveying new knowledge or skills to a large number of students in a relatively short time.