A Quasi-Experimental and Single-Subject Research Approach as an Alternative to Traditional Post-Occupancy Evaluation of Learning Environments
Source TitleEvaluating Learning Environments: Snapshots of Emerging Issues, Methods and Knowledge
University of Melbourne Author/sByers, Terry
AffiliationArchitecture, Building and Planning
CitationsByers, T. (2016). A Quasi-Experimental and Single-Subject Research Approach as an Alternative to Traditional Post-Occupancy Evaluation of Learning Environments. Imms, B (Ed.). Cleveland, B (Ed.). Fisher, K (Ed.). Evaluating Learning Environments: Snapshots of Emerging Issues, Methods and Knowledge, (1), 8, pp.117-130. Sense Publishers.
Access StatusOpen Access
The past decade has seen a resurgence in the literature concerning the effectiveness of physical learning environments. A worrying characteristic of this research has been a lack of rigorous experimental methodology (Brooks, 2011; Painter et al., 2013). This may be due to the difficulties associated with randomly assigning students and staff to specific settings and problems associated with accounting for the complex intervening variables that come to play within the educative experience (Byers, Imms, & Hartnell-Young, 2014). Nevertheless Brooks (2011) lamented the disparity between the ‘potential’ of contemporary learning spaces and the seeming lack of empirical evidence concerning the impact of these spaces on teaching and learning. This is especially true for Secondary school settings. A prominent literature review by Blackmore, Bateman, O'Mara, and Loughlin (2011) indicated that there is little empirical evidence addressing the connections between physical learning spaces, teacher pedagogical practice and student learning experiences and outcomes. Blackmore et al. suggested that much of the research has focused on the design and physical attributes of buildings. Indeed, there is strong empirical evidence connecting the effects of the physical attributes of the built environment for example air quality, temperature, and noise on student learning (Higgins, Hall, Wall, Woolner, & McCaughey, 2005). Yet, like Upitis (2009), Higgins et al. (2005) argued that there is little known about how and why the physical attributes of a given space influence the teaching and learning process. This chapter explores the development of a quasi-experimental and single-subject research approach to investigate the effectiveness of physical learning environments in primary and secondary school settings. This approach is put forward as an alternative to traditional methodologies used in the post-occupancy evaluation of learning environments.
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