Acoustics for Collaborative Learning Spaces

Truly collaborative learning spaces encourage students to gather in groups, large and small, to solve problems, work on a project, or have a meaningful discussion.

  • Collaborative learning spaces should accommodate all types of learning: independent one-on-one learning, small group learning, and large group learning.
  • Collaborative learning spaces should be flexible, in terms of both the physical space and how it is used.
  • Collaborative learning spaces should reinforce and encourage the other three Cs of 21st century learning: critical thinking, creativity, and communication.

The most common activities in collaborative learning spaces are different kinds of group work. If acoustics are not dealt with properly, sound will spread throughout the space and disturb all the other classes and groups. This will ultimately  make students have to raise their voices, in turn escalating sound levels. All in all it would decrease student concentration and teachers would have teaching and instructing with the space. In fact, it may lead to noncooperation.

Collaborative Learning Space Challenges

  • Reducing sound levels in a large open plan space filled with a wide variety of different student activities.
  • Preventing sound from bouncing around throughout the space
  • Ensuring speech clarity

Possible Collaborative Learning Space Acoustic Solutions

  • Use a sound-absorbing ceiling treatments with exceptional absorption qualities for all speech frequencies.
  • Add wall absorbers next to as many group seating’s as possible. Wall tiles  can be used as pin boards too so as to allow for the walls still to be used for notices and other materials. ( we understand wall space is a premium in education facilities)
  • Make use of free standing acoustic screens to sub divide the room as required. These flexible sound absorbing screens can be stored out of the way when not in use and can create smaller collaborative spaces within larger space to assist in sound control.