Thursday, 7 April 2011

Colour and Learning Spaces

I want to return to the question of colour in learning spaces. There is much research into the impact of colour on  mood and learning amongst other things. Colour is another of those things that is hard wired into the human condition.
Apart from the aesthetic benefit of the use of colour I would like to know of any affects, that those reading this blog have seen, with the use of colour or,conversely, painting rooms plain white or magnolia (I know these are also colours but you know what I mean).


  1. Interesting question Nigel, difficult to know of any effects being seen, but it's a subject that I think should be discussed with Estates people, in particular Ops and Maintenance who think use of colours other than white and magnolia will be a maintenance issue!!!!

    As you say lots of research has been done and it has been proven that the use of colour in the classroom and surrounding environment can improve the learning experience for students. Brightly coloured corridors between buildings can provide variety and stimulation between locations. In the learning spaces the teaching wall should be a different colour to the others, a bit darker, to help the student reduce eyestrain when looking up and down taking notes. The lighting should also be taken into account when deciding on colour, full spectrum lighting will simulate natural sunlight. There is much to learn on this subject and much more to do bringing key stakeholders on board at the early design stages of any project.



  2. I am having this very discussion with the project stakeholders in an ongoing projedct.
    The darker teaching wall is an interesting one as we often now do not use projedction screens but paint the wall white. Of course only the projection area needs to be white.

    The maintenance argument is an interesting one in that white and magnolia usually require more maintenance than other colours if they are to be kept fresh.
    I have read differing opinions about full spectrum lighting and will do some further research into it's usage

  3. I think the white/magnolia maintenance thing is because it's thought it'll be easier to match. Which isn't entirely true of course!

  4. Smu
    I think it is just the status quo being applied with no thought being applied to colour and it's importance in rooms etc.

  5. I agree colour is very important, although difficult to evaluate its impact on learners. Have any of you found any useful research materials on the impact of colour on learning. My research has led me largely to studies undertaken in the NHS eg the impact of colour on people with dimentia!

    I am also of the opinion that lighting is a key aspect of decor and creating the 'right' ambience for learning. Has anyone done or found any research on this?

  6. Hilary
    I have copied this form a reply I gave to your comment yesterday in case you are not aware that I replied.
    Thanks once again for your valid contribution. I hope you get more replies from others.

    Hilary thanks for your comment. I recently did some basic searching for evidence of the impact of learning in teaching spaces in order to convince the architects of a refurb at Aberystwyth that white in all the new teaching spaces is not acceptable.
    The 3 links below support my belief that colour is in important in learning spaces. In fact it is important in most things, if not all, in our lives. Think about how much time we take over choosing the colour of our clothes, home decoration, plants in the garden and even our cars.

    Some of the links reference more in depth research if you wish to pursue these.


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