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Five Ways to Improve Your Learning Lab

Five Ways to Improve Your Learning Lab

by Education Advisor, Bob Kilmer


The way things look and how one feels when they enter your environment can have a positive effect on the productivity and mental wellbeing of those entering the space.

Here are five simple things you can do to improve the aesthetics in your learning lab/worksite to make it a happy, productive, and safe space for your stakeholders:

1) Get an Outside Perspective: Have someone you don’t know come into your space and record 5 things they notice when they first walk in. Use this data to enhance your lab/worksite or at least write an improvement plan. Note: this would be a great activity for your advisory members—remember, they are there to assist and advise.

2) Have a Specific Clean-Up Plan: Review your student daily clean-up plan. Make sure each student takes ownership and pride in your shared facility by assigning a specific clean-up job to all students and have them perform the process during the last seven minutes of each class. (see sample jobs)

3) Student Input: Ask students what they notice when they walk into your lab or classroom. Use their feedback to improve your space. “What do they see that makes them happy?” “What would you change?” “Do you think all students can work comfortably, safely and efficiently here?”

Bob with his students (PHOTO by Stephen Brashear)

4) Working Equipment Matters: Make sure all equipment is clean and operational. If something is not working or broken, remove it from the environment immediately. Get it fixed or replaced as soon as possible.

5) Form a Partnership with Your Custodian: Share your daily maintenance plan with your custodial staff. Let them know your lab, just like any other classroom, is a learning space and should have a daily cleaning plan (just like a traditional classroom) and will be cleaned in collaboration with your students. Also create a summer maintenance plan for extended services that need to be performed before the start of the next school year.

The way things look can affect the productivity and mental wellbeing of those entering your workspace. With a little bit of intentional thought and preparation, I am confident it can make a significant difference for all involved. If you are doing this, great! Keep it up! Also know you are doing your small part to change the stigma of our shops being regarded as dull, dirty and dangerous.

What do others see and feel when they enter your teaching area/workspace? You decide!