LEx Research’s findings and methodologies from the early pilot studies on flexible furniture in the learning environment are now available. Through our research, Huckabee and our partners at ESC Region 12 and Baylor University seek to evaluate the effectiveness of flexible learning environments related to student engagement and achievement. More and more, educators are using the built environment as a tool to meet the needs of their students. In many cases, schools are replacing traditional desks and chairs with furniture that is more mobile and capable of multiple configurations.
While there are many studies focused on flexible furniture, there are very few that focus solely on elementary classrooms. LEx Research’s most recent pilot study investigated the various impacts flexible furniture paired with teacher professional development (PD) had for this young age group. A total of 10 classrooms were included in the study with 3rd and 4th graders (206 students). Classrooms were observed biweekly for eight weeks and assigned to one of two groups: Group A received PD and flexible furniture while Group B maintained traditional furniture. During observations three students were randomly selected per classroom and continuously monitored throughout each observation.
As predicted, students who engaged with flexible furniture reported greater satisfaction with the learning environment than did peers with traditional furniture. Secondly, a series of independent samples tests demonstrated classrooms with flexible furniture provided more opportunities for student autonomy and use of furniture for learning.
To read the full paper, click here.