Improving Learning Through Classroom Experience in east africa


Start dateDecember 2022
End dateMarch 2024
Funded byFCDO
CollaboratorsUniversity 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).


Classrooms in Sub-Saharan Africa can often be uncomfortable places to be, let alone to teach and learn in. Sweltering temperatures have proven negative physiological impacts – regardless of children’s level of acclimatisation. Furthermore, poorly lit, or overly sun-exposed, classrooms make it much more difficult to read and introduce health risks (⇡Ibhadode et al., 2019). Lack of, or excess light excludes children with poor eyesight, introducing a layer of inequity

Overall, these classroom conditions, all infrastructural in nature, are fundamentally part of the learner experience.

The ‘Improving Learning Through Classroom Experience (ILCE)’ programme focuses on investigating whether modification of the built environment (temperature, light intensity, and acoustics) can positively impact the classroom experience to improve learning. The research is not expected to establish causation to learning, but instead to act as a proof of concept to build awareness and understanding of the said issue and to spur further research.

The programme is composed of two teams:

  • Team 1 will focus on at-scale learning assessment. The team will focus on the assessment of the overall environmental conditions and investigate how these can be linked to learning outcomes. Team 1 is composed of researchers from Fab Inc. and Laterite.
  • Team 2, represented in this report, 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.


OpenDevEd will focus its work on the identification and testing of practical changes to the physical environment and infrastructure of schools. Both teams will look to complement their respective work in order to ensure efficient use of time and resources, working to harmonised scopes of work, including work plans.

ODE staff are responsible for the following activities:

  • Explore adequate measurement approaches to current conditions (temperature, lighting, acoustics) in schools across Tanzania
  • Through desk-based research and learning from innovative school buildings experts and organisations in the African region, possible approaches will be explored and analysed based on the characteristics of the Tanzanian context
  • Validate initial approaches through computer modelling
  • Quantitative data collection based on measurements of environmental conditions collected with high-precision sensors
  • Qualitative data collection on students’ comfort
  • Implementation of cost-effective interventions on temperature, acoustics, and lighting in selected schools of the country
  • Analysis of the impact of retrofits on the environmental conditions studied and on students’ comfort


  • Haßler, B., Villavicencio Peralta, X. A., Macharia, G., Toyinbo, O., Nambatya, M., Mtebe, J., Schaffer, J., Wargocki, P., & Adam, T. (2022). Improving Learning Through Classroom Experience in East Africa: Temperature, Lighting, and Sound Quality – Inception report (Improving Learning Through Classroom Experience in East Africa No. 1). Open Development & Education.