April 18, 2022

Rethinking Classrooms for Improved Hybrid Learning

It’s no doubt that the physical classroom we once knew has changed the last couple of years, and for many, it’s been hard to keep up with. Students and educators felt confused and overwhelmed after the classroom suddenly switched from completely physical to fully virtual. It then shifted again to a blend of the two, bringing us what we now know as “hybrid learning.”

During this unexpected transition, institutions had to quickly adapt to equally accommodate for the new needs of both in-person and remote students. But along the way, we’ve learned more about what the classroom needs to keep students and faculty connected, engaged and productive, from both sides of the screen. While technology can be the first thing that comes to mind when people hear “hybrid,” students need more than just technology itself for a positive hybrid learning experience.

Steelcase explains, “For hybrid learning to truly succeed, the virtual and the physical need to coexist in the same space as seamlessly as your smartphone supports talking and texting. For that to happen, the built environment needs to step up and do more.”

Adaptable spaces with access to technology will better support the needs of educators and students. To create an improved blended learning experience, classrooms also need flexible and mobile furniture and architectural elements for space division, privacy and enhanced acoustics. These elements need to be adjustable and easy to use, while also seamlessly integrating together.

The classroom is no longer just a spot for lectures – it is a destination for learning, creativity and collaboration. To support new learning behaviors, institutions also need to be thinking about how to allow for easy transitions from a typical classroom into a shared space where students can go to study or work together on group projects.

NBS Architectural Elements in the Classroom

Incorporating Architectural Elements into the Classroom

Key components of hybrid learning include having access to privacy when transitioning from lecture to individual or small group work and having top-quality acoustics for virtual meetings. With the proper architectural elements, both needs can be met, from having boosted sound quality within a space to having privacy when desired and easy collaboration when needed. Walls that seamlessly integrate monitors, cameras, lighting and other technology, known as media walls, are also becoming popular in the classroom. Media walls make it easy to share information and collaborate, without taking up additional space.

Some examples of architectural and acoustical elements include:

Choosing Flexible Furniture Solutions for the Classroom

Furniture that is flexible and easily mobile allows students to quickly reconfigure the space on demand depending on the types of activities they are doing. Furniture on casters makes it easy for students to move around freely within the space to view lesson content, technology or collaborate in groups. This flexibility also allows them to clearly see their classmates in the room, as well as those who are tuning in from home.

Some examples of flexible furniture solutions include:

Integrating Technology for a Seamless, Engaging Experience

As we all know, without technology, hybrid learning wouldn’t be possible. Technology needs to support the use of both shared and individual devices and allow all students to easily view content and clearly see and hear each other. The blended classroom is also increasing the need for products such as interactive touch screen displays, wireless presenting tools and superior-quality audio solutions to make hybrid lessons more engaging and productive.

Some examples of technology tools include:

NBS Technology in Learning Environments

With our skilled in-house divisions, NBS can thoughtfully design and seamlessly integrate all of these solutions for your classroom. Contact us today to learn about how we can help improve your space and enhance your hybrid learning experience!