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lighting affects learning

  • How Does Lighting Affect Learning?

    Focus
    According to a 1999 University of Georgia study on academic achievement in children,
    lighting was shown to be a major factor in the brain's ability to focus. Students that
    lighting affects learingattended class in brightly lit rooms received higher grades than students in dim rooms.
    The study reports that poor lighting does not cause damage to eyes, but can reduce how
    effectively the brain collects information. If the pattern of learning in poor lighting
    continues over time, the brain can become slower at absorbing new information.

    Visual Clarity
    Dim lighting can negatively affect learning by making it more difficult to clearly see
    words when reading new information. The University of Georgia study reported that poor
    lighting affects a student's ability to read accurately on a paper or chalkboard. This can
    cause wrong information to enter the brain or affect new information being stored.

    Psychological
    Lighting is also a factor in psychological health when a person is in one room for the
    majority of the day. According to the University of Georgia study, bright light has been
    used as a depression treatment; conversely, spending a significant amount of time in a
    dimly lit room can negatively alter mood. A person suffering from depression has
    difficulty concentrating or completing tasks. If a person's learning environment is dimly
    lit and ends up affecting his psychological well-being, the ability to learn will be
    negatively affected.

    Off Task Behavior
    A 1995 study that Dr. Ellen Mannel Grangaard presented at the Association for
    Childhood Education International Study Conference and Exhibition found that
    fluorescent light contributed to off task behavior, such as daydreaming, playing with
    objects instead of listening, and talking to others during a lesson. Students whose learning
    environment had a softer, more natural lighting had an easier time staying on task and not
    becoming distracted. The University of Georgia study supports Dr. Grangaard's findings.
    It found that fluorescent lights can make hyperactivity behavior more severe and prevent
    learning at the fullest extent.

    Best Lighting
    Both studies were in agreement that the best lighting type for maximum productivity and
    learning is as natural and soft as possible, while still being bright enough to see clearly.
    Lighting that is too dim can cause difficulties in learning, like affecting brain focus and
    visual clarity when reading. It also can lower psychological well-being over time.
    Conversely, lighting that is overly bright and fluorescent was shown to contribute to off
    task behavior and making hyperactive behavior worse.

    By Allison Boelcke

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