Representative image
Representative image

Open learning spaces do not increase children's physical activity: Study

ANI | Updated: Jun 23, 2021 18:43 IST

Washington [US], June 23 (ANI): According to a recent study, open learning spaces are not directly associated with the physical activity of students in grades three and five, even though more breaks from the sedentary time were observed in open learning spaces compared to conventional classrooms.
The findings are based on the CHIPASE study, carried out at the Faculty of Sport and Health Science of the University of Jyvaskyla. The results were published in the journal Frontiers of Sports and Active Life.
After the reform of the national core curriculum for basic education in Finland, issued in 2016, most of the new or renovated comprehensive schools in Finland began to incorporate open and flexible classroom designs and principles.
Combined with student-centred pedagogies, these open learning spaces may increase children's physical activity during lessons. Classroom-based physical activity may also have a positive impact on academic-related outcomes.

"Surprisingly, students were physically less active in open learning spaces than in conventional classrooms," said Doctoral Researcher Jani Hartikainen from the Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences at the University of Jyvaskyla.
"In turn, open learning spaces seem to enable more breaks from sedentary time, which may decrease the potential adverse effects of prolonged sitting on the health of children," added Hartikainen.
The main result of the study was that, on their own, open learning spaces do not increase children's physical activity during lessons. Future studies should seek to investigate and develop teaching practices to capitalise on the potential of open learning spaces to promote classroom-based physical activity.
"In this study, we did not observe teachers' instructions about students' movement, but prior studies have reported difficulties in how teachers adapt to open learning spaces," said Hartikainen.
"Especially large student groups may cause teachers to need to restrict students' movement during lessons," concluded Hartikainen. (ANI)