The “Improving Learning Through Classroom Experience” Study

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Examples of small changes in building design, or retrospective adjustments, have anecdotally been shown to improve the learning experience in the region. There is little research on improving the learning experience through infrastructural development – or how to achieve these changes in sustainable and cost-effective ways. The objective of the ILCE programme is to garner greater insight into the role of infrastructure in students’ and teachers’ experiences, moving past anecdotal case studies and providing evidence through primary data measurement.

Where is the project based?

The project is based initially in Tanzania and will take insights from similar experiences in the East Africa region.

What is the duration of the study? 

Fifteen months. From December 2022 to March 2024.

What is the aim of the programme? 

The ILCE programme wants to investigate whether cost-effective modifications of the built environment (temperature, light intensity, and acoustics) could be conducive to optimal learning environments.

Why are there two teams?

It is a broad research study, and it requires researchers to focus on different aspects of the environment and school conditions. Team 1 focuses on the assessment of the overall environmental conditions and investigates how these can be linked to learning outcomes, and team 2 will focus on practical approaches to improve Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ). This includes exploring options to retrofit schools and making changes to buildings and the school environment.

Who is on each team?

Team 1 is composed of researchers from Fab Inc. and Laterite.

Team 2 is composed by researchers of:

  • OpenDevEd
  • University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM, Tanzania)
  • Oulun yliopisto (University of Oulu, Finland), Teknillinen tiedekunta (Faculty of Technology), Rakennus- ja yhdyskuntatekniikka (Civil Engineering)
  • Haileybury Youth Trust (Uganda)
  • Yescon GmbH (Germany)
  • Indoor Environment, Department of Environmental and Resource Engineering, Danmarks Tekniske Universitet (Technical University of Denmark).

How many phases does the study have?

The study will take place in two phases called Discovery and Alpha. While ‘Discovery’ will focus on learning from innovative school building practices and collecting data from Tanzanian school conditions, ‘Alpha’ will test retrofit options in selected classrooms to identify how these cost-effective interventions impact students’ comfort.  

Are schools the only infrastructure that is going to be assessed?

No. Children may also learn at home or in community centres. 

We consider that the environmental conditions need to be measured holistically, considering both the school and home and the factors of light, air, sound, and heat, as well as the distance between the school and home.

How will the environmental conditions of the classrooms be measured?

Installing high-precision sensors in schools and students’ homes. Also, we understand that it is important to not just focus on the ‘absolute values’ of environmental properties but also to understand subjective perceptions. Therefore, we will elaborate a comfort survey, to understand the students’ comfort levels.

Are Gender Equality and Social inclusion (GESI) factors included in this research?

We noted that thermal comfort has a gender dimension (⇡Ahmed et al., 2022) and also there are considerations relating to disabilities. Our analysis will pay special attention to factors of gender equality and social inclusion and make specific recommendations.

ILCE Programme
– Imagen de Gerd Altmann en Pixabay
– More resources (reports, papers, blogs …) will be published soon.

Björn Haßler
Björn Haßler