School Flexible Learning Spaces, Student Movement Behavior and Educational Outcomes among Adolescents: A Mixed-Methods Systematic Review

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Journal of School Health


BACKGROUND: To achieve sustainability, we must consider scalable improvements in student movement behavior in the classroom setting, educational priorities. Flexible learning spaces that employ student-centered pedagogy and contain a range of furniture and layout options, implemented to improve educational outcomes, may enable unintended health benefits. In this review, we summarize the evidence on the effects of flexible learning spaces on adolescent student movement behaviors and educational outcomes. METHODS: We searched 5 databases, retrieving 5 quantitative and one qualitative article meeting the review criteria. RESULTS: Students in flexible learning spaces spent less time sitting, and more time standing and moving. Students were also more engaged, on-task, and collaborated and interacted more. Academic results for English, Mathematics and Humanities for those in flexible learning spaces were higher than peers in traditional classrooms. CONCLUSION: Evidence from the reviewed studies suggests that there may be beneficial outcomes across some movement behaviors as well as learning outcomes in classrooms that employ student-centered pedagogy and use a built environment that facilitates autonomy and choice around where and how to learn. These learning environments present an opportunity for an interdisciplinary approach to address sedentary behavior in classrooms.

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