Updated: Sep 8
So you have your study schedule and are about to start a study session, perhaps it’s for homework or in preparation for an exam. Will the physical environment you’ve chosen to study in, going to make it easier or harder for you to learn?
Indoor temperature, noise, and brightness can all have significant impacts on your effects on learning efficiency in perception, memory, problem-solving, and attention.
Here’s our 5-point checklist to help lighten the load on your learning brain.
#1; Is The Temperature OK?
Studies have proven that if the indoor temperature is too high or too low they impact the learning efficiency of the brain.
When temperatures were low (< 20°C) employees made 44% more mistakes than at the optimal room temperature of 25°C.
On average, a school year that was hotter than the optimal room temperature by 1°F (0.56°C) correlated to a loss of 1% of a year's learning.
Your personal optimal learning temperature could be quite different from what these studies found. It's worth checking whether you are too cold or too hot and making an adjustment if necessary.
#2; Can You Read Without Straining?
Do you have enough light? Is it too bright? The ideal situation is to have the highest quantity of natural and electrical light, but not direct sunlight because it creates glare.
Find the location and level of brightness that works best for you and minimises the effort it takes to read.
#3; Are There Visual Distractions?
A research project found that students in a decorated classroom were less likely to stay focused and attained lower test scores than students in a classroom without decoration.
Can you create a blander study area and move your eye-catching items out of sight?
#4; Are Noises Or The Noise Level Disrupting Your Focus?
Playing energetic music or hearing people laugh might feel good but
they distract your brain. When you're revising you need to focus on achieving your study session goal.
For example, a study found that the reading scores of the students adjacent to noisy train lines lagged their peers on the quiet side of the building by three months.
It's a good idea to study in a quiet location. Could you go to another room, another location, ask your siblings to keep it down or perhaps you could play some bland background music to help drown out the noises that distract you?
#5; Are You Sitting Comfortably?
The position of your chair, desk, screen and keyboard are known to impact physical comfort. Here’s the guidance from the world-famous Mayo Clinic.
Do you need to make changes to improve your position?
Optimising For You
Just like the optimal study timetable the optimal indoor environment for learning is personal. A noise level or temperature that you find distracting may not be an issue someone else. The important thing to know is that noise; temperature, brightness and comfort level can all impact your learning. Getting them right for you might need a few changes but is well worth it to help you study efficiently.
Balance your study and life by using proven learning science techniques. You can easily, create your personalised senior high school revision schedule @ www.eggion.com.
Reference Sources Paas F, van Merriënboer JJG. Cognitive-Load Theory: Methods to Manage Working Memory Load in the Learning of Complex Tasks. Current Directions in Psychological Science. 2020;29(4):394-398. doi:10.1177/0963721420922183
Taylor L, Watkins SL, Marshall H, Dascombe BJ, Foster J. The Impact of Different Environmental Conditions on Cognitive Function: A Focused Review. Front Physiol. 2016;6:372. Published 2016 Jan 6. doi:10.3389/fphys.2015.00372
Goodman, Joshua, Michael Hurwitz, Jisung Park, and Jonathan Smith. "Heat and Learning." Harvard Kennedy School Faculty Research Working Paper Series RWP18-014, May 2018.
Bronzaft AL, McCarthy DP. The Effect of Elevated Train Noise On Reading Ability. Environment and Behavior. 1975;7(4):517-528. doi:10.1177/001391657500700406
Barrett, P., Davies, F., Zhang, Y., Barrett, L.The impact of classroom design on pupils' learning: Final results of a holistic, multi-level analysis doi.org/10.1016/j.buildenv.2015.02.013