Using Neuroscience Research to Impact Environment Design to Support Student Learning


Page Dettmann PhD,
MeTEOR Education

Betsy Hill
Brainware Learning

Jeff Thein


Learning Units/Health, Safety, Welfare (LU/HSW)

How applies to HSW:

Participants will gain cutting-edge knowledge about learning and memory, brain function, neuroscience, learning and environments.


Brain science research provides insight to educators and architects on the impact of learning environments on student learning and performance. From the macroenvironment to the microenivoronment, from green spaces to technology, and from curriculum to instructional strategies, we can learn from neuroscience how to proactively design spaces to foster student learning success. Some of the first neuroscientific impacts on architecture in education have related to components like lighting (visual processing) and acoustics (auditory processing). The ability to take information in visually and through audition is the first stages of information processing. These processes of receiving and identifying or perceiving information initiate the learning process.   But what happens in the next stages of processing? How do characteristics of the environment support or impede learning following that initial intake of sensory information? Further, how do we take into account a third environment Ð the brain of the learner, i.e. the Òinternal environment?Ó After all, learning takes place as the studentÕs brain interacts with various aspects of the external environment.

Learning Objectives:
  • Participants will gain knowledge on how learning and memory work.;
  • Participants will become aware of the impact of environmental factors on learning and memory.
  • Participants will become familiar with the key brain structures and systems involved in learning.;
  • Participants will learn about the role of key brain structures and emotions in learning and the intricate relationships among environmental, social, and individual factors.
Primary Competency:

Design of Educational Facilities: Acts as a resource to the design team in providing ongoing guidance and support to ensure that the emerging and ultimate design aligns with the established community vision, education goals, future programming, written design standards, best/next practices and education policy.

Primary Domain:

Learning: Content of this session/workshop will focus on how we learn and/or how the physical environment responds specifically to various methods of instruction, pedagogies, learning styles, or learning trends.

Secondary Domain:

Context: Content of this session/workshop will focus on the circumstances that form the setting for the design and construction of specific learning environments and characteristics that distinguishes the project from other applications.