Designing a Classroom for Different Learning Styles

Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has a Masters of Science in Mathematics

How teachers design classrooms can impact learning. This lesson explains ways teachers can arrange space, materials, and time to support a variety of learning styles in the classroom.

Learning Styles and Education

Think of a group of people you know - maybe your co-workers, friends, or family. Are they mostly the same, or is each person unique? You'll likely witness several differences in personality and styles. The same is true in classrooms - there are a collection of many learners and each has a unique way of learning.

Talented teachers recognize this and support educating each student with these differences in mind. Educators refer to different ways of understanding and responding to learning as an awareness of students' learning styles. Some students learn best when they hear information, others when they get to touch and explore it. Some respond to a bright and busily decorated classroom, while others may find this distracting. How can teachers keep all students' needs in mind when designing a classroom? Let's take a look.

Learning Styles and Class Design

Brenda is an educator with lots of experience. She knows that while she can't adjust her learning environment to meet every student's needs, she can provide choices for her students. How does she do this? She starts by designing her classroom to differentiate, or keep all her learners in mind.

Brenda knows her classroom environment impacts her students' learning. By creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere, she sets the tone for positive experiences. She keeps three factors in mind when planning for her students' different learning styles: class space, materials used for learning, and use of time in both instruction and learning.

Class Space and Learning Styles

Teachers can set up a classroom to maximize learning. When using learning styles in physical design, or the way the classroom is arranged, there are a few areas to consider.

  • Desks can be arranged to accommodate small group, partner work, and individual learning. This way students have choices when it comes to optimal seating based on varying work situations.
  • Lighting can be modified. Some areas may use dim lamps, other natural light, and still others overhead lighting.
  • Seating can be versatile. Some students need to sit in sturdy, non-moving seats, like desks or chairs. Others work better on the carpet with a clipboard or in a beanbag chair.
  • Seating can be easily moved. When desks can be easily rearranged, students have more choices about groupings or seating preference. Visual learners can be up close to presentations, while those who need interpersonal interactions have a place to talk with a partner.
  • Quiet spots in the room are great for students who need to be away from noise to learn.

When Brenda makes decisions concerning her classroom space and instruction, she thinks closely about her learners and their needs. If she's teaching a whole group lesson, she may invite some students to sit on the carpet and others to sit in chairs. She uses tables for small groups of students who prefer to work with others, and has cozy, quiet corners for those who work best alone. By providing choices in her classroom design, she gives all students a chance to be comfortable and successful learners.

Materials and Learning Styles

To make sure her students all have a chance to learn, Brenda provides a variety of learning materials, things that help students make sense of learning. She houses these in different spaces in her room. For example, the math materials are found on a shelf in a quiet corner, and the science supplies in an open space used for experimenting. She keeps her classroom library tucked away with soft lighting and pillows, and has open seating for her writing center, where many students can work at the same time.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account