How Texture Impacts Learning
Texture changes emotions and cognitive psychology based on student perception. However, perceptions towards texture are very personal. That is, some textures may bring back memories of an earlier experience. Other times, especially in children with special learning needs, texture may have a negative experience because it is new and unknown.
It is not just about what one texture can offer but the exploration of different textures within that space.
There is some insight into how various texture works in the learning environment :
- Placing contrasting textures near each other stimulates interest.
- Metal tends to feel cold and isolating.
- Softness in rugs or other tactile elements is comfortable, welcoming, and warm.
- Shiny textures, like silk or gold, create an illusion of feeling brighter and clean.
- Wood, stone, and soft fuzzy elements are more focused on nature and create an inviting feel.
- Smooth surfaces tend to improve focus, such as a desktop offering a blank slate from which to learn.
Textures can be touchable. But they're also visually perceived through 2D and 3D patterns, with the latter giving the illusion of depth and textures.
- Parched soil
- Geometric shapes
- Flowing curves
- Wood grain
You can incorporate these into wall designs, furniture, classroom art, and children's projects alike.
Creating a Universal Design for Learning
When designing an inclusive learning environment, it's essential to take into account different factors, such as students' special education needs, cultural background, age, sensory processing abilities, and the type of learning that takes place in that space. By considering these elements, we can ensure that all students have an equitable opportunity to learn in a supportive and comfortable environment:
- Learning centres designed for quiet activities, such as reading, should offer comfortable surfaces including softer chairs and have a green colour pattern.
- Smooth desk surfaces help to encourage use and stimulate focus, making them an important functional tool for note-taking. To encourage classroom discussions in this space, incorporate the use of orange.
- Place red near the instructor to draw attention, but limit the amount of texture within this space that could be distracting. A whiteboard is a better option than a bulletin board for instructor-led learning because it’s simpler and not distracting.
A deep understanding of educational psychology and how colour and texture play a role in the process makes teaching students more effective and, in some cases, more enjoyable.
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