360learning whitepaper Claremont

360 degree
What, how and why.
Research paper by Claremont, October 2015.
Introduction: 360
degree learning.
For generations, teaching environments have
been largely the same. Teachers lectured
students from the front of the room, delivering
concepts while students looked on in organised
rows and scribbled notes.
04 What is 360 degree learning?
05 Who’s using 360 degree learning and how
will it benefit your teaching environment?
09 How to implement 360 degree learning in
your teaching space
This passive and formal approach has
been the mainstay of western education
for decades, but more recently the focus
has started to shift. Now words such as
engagement, inspiring, collaborative,
immersive and experiential are used in
the context of learning.
The proliferation of mobile technology
has played a significant role, opening our
eyes to new ways to acquire, assimilate
and share knowledge, removing the
shackles of fixed place learning and
creating new tools to excite and engage
students. It’s perhaps not surprising then
that classrooms are evolving. They look
different, feel different and use different
That image of the teacher presenting in
an uninterupted way is being replaced.
Modern educators are more akin to
conductors, helping their orchestra
to understand, feel and deliver the
music: finding ways to bring it to life,
to add light and shade, to make them
sound harmonious as individuals
and together. Modern education is
changing and 360 degree learning is at
its heart.
A study by National Training Laboratories
proved that retention of information
was heightened dramatically when
it used discussion (50%*), practical
exercise (70%) and peer-to-peer
teaching (80%**) – compared with
just 5% from traditional lecture-based
teaching. Educators and students
are fast realising the benefits of more
collaborative and immersive learning,
yet teaching spaces within schools and
colleges have not caught up.
So why wouldn’t you create a
learning environment that sparks
the imagination and encourages a
more engaged student and teacher
experience? The USA, UK and
mainland Europe have already started
to make that move.
*Retention of information
was heightened to
when it used discussion
teaching compared with just
5% from traditional teaching.
This whitepaper introduces the
concept of 360 degree learning and
what it requires of spaces, provides
examples of how it’s already been
put to use in the western world,
reiterates the benefit to educators and
students and provides some practical
considerations to get your move to
360 degree learning underway.
“The teacher becomes the audience and the
students become performers.”
Sean Kavanaugh, Martin Luther King Jr Early College, USA
What is 360 degree
360 degree learning is the idea that all aspects
of our surroundings and experiences impact on
how we learn.
It encompasses the environments
students occupy and the way space
is used, how teachers plan and deliver
lessons and the way in which students
engage with the subject and their
fellow learners.
A breath of fresh air for educators and
students alike, 360 degree learning
provides an opportunity for much more
memorable and immersive learning
and is quite different to the experience
most of us had as students.
Its premise is that the environment
should be used differently to promote
collaboration and flexibility through
a greater number of stimuli and
opportunities to spark creativity and
independent thinking. These spaces
enable students to have a more
personalised learning experience,
where ideas can be generated and
shared and once hard-to-understand
concepts can be brought to life.
360 degree learning takes education
beyond lectures and note-taking. It
considers experiences, feelings, ideas,
movement and senses to provide all
encompassing learning. This method
is more participatory and discussionled, it involves group work as well
as independent study, embraces
technology in all its guises (projection,
tablets etc.) and requires flexibility of
people and space.
360 degree learning uses the
environment as an educational tool.
**Retention of information
was heightened to
when it used peer-to-peer
teaching compared with just
5% from traditional teaching.
Flexible furniture allows students to
choose the configuration that suits
the task.
Writeable wall finishes turn unusual surfaces into a canvas for sharing ideas and collaborating.
Who’s using 360 degree learning
and how will it benefit your school?
By using all available wall space, students’ work
and ideas are visable to the whole classroom.
For 360 degree learning
to be delivered effectively
it requires 360 degree
learning spaces, spaces
that support the teacher
and student in this more
engaged and dynamic
After using the 360 degree
learning method at Khan
Academy in the USA
of all the students were above
satisfactory level compared to
23% in the district.
Before we talk about implementation
and what it requires, we should
reiterate the compelling reasons for
adopting this style of pedagogy.
There are numerous examples of
schools, colleges and universities at
the forefront of 360 degree learning
adoption. America is a perfect
example with eminent university,
Harvard Business School developing
The Hive to support its move to a
more collaborative and participatory
style of learning. This round learning
environment has brought teamwork,
flexibility and interaction into its
previously traditional teaching spaces
and sees lecturers forfeit their podiums
to move in and amongst the students.
Talking to Harvard Business School’s
Alumni Website, MBA Program Chair
Professor Youngme Moon said, “We’re
trying to encourage a very different
kind of pedagogy in which the stakes
are even higher for the students.
That means extensive and intensive
classroom interaction among students
and faculty alike.”
Many schools in the UK have moved to
this model too, including St Margaret’s
School in Liverpool, a pioneer of the
360 degree flexible classroom, and
Glyndwr University in Wales. Both use
flexible teaching spaces complete
with moveable furniture and integrated
technology to really grab the interest
and engagement of their students.
“The teacher becomes
the guide on the side,
instead of the sage on
the stage, requiring
wholly new learning
spaces and teaching
St Margaret’s School installed a
circular classroom as part of a trial with
the UK Design Council. Pupil Phillip
Harper studied Maths in the space and
is one of countless students to sing
its praises. Talking to The Guardian
newspaper he said, “It is much better
than other classrooms, the chairs are
better, you can spin around and see
the teacher…We get the boards down
all the time and work together – before
we would work more on our own in
Maths. This has made Maths much
more fun that it used to be.” 1
Eric Mazur, Professor of Physics,
Harvard University
The range of school activities widens day by day, so it is important to create
spaces that are adaptable and multifunctional.
Most recently the VUC Syd College
in Denmark has set about helping to
re-engage many of the country’s 15 to
29 year olds to help them to get back
into education or employment. The
college has done this by reinventing
the appearance of classrooms, using
igloo shaped rooms and glass boxes
with interactive screens to create
environments that are more relaxed
and centred on practical application
instead of instruction-based learning.
1 Both examples as referenced by The Guardian newspaper – article: “In this school, the classroom revolution is now a reality – all 360 degrees of it” (UK edition – 2005)
2 As referenced on the BBC website on 23rd September 2015 – article: “Denmark reinvents
lessons for reluctant learners”
These table, storage and seat modules provide highly flexible learning environments: furniture that allows room for the most
widely varied teaching and learning methods possible. A more collaborative group work setting.
3 As referenced on the excerpt from Teach, a documetary by David Guggenheim. This clip shows
teacher Lindsay Chinn piloting 360 degree maths on her whiteboards. More Info: http://www.
So what does 360
degree learning deliver?
1. It creates a more effective student
and teacher relationship.
360 degree learning frees teachers
from their desks. The teacher’s
movement around the classroom helps
to engage all students and provides
more opportunity for guidance and
support. It also eradicates the ‘back of
the class’ mentality and the ‘attention
zone’, that triangle of students
immediately in front of the teacher,
which receive 90% of the attention.
When talking about 360 degree
learning Professor Astin from the
University of California said, “Student
involvement, not teaching resources or
techniques, becomes the concern of
the instructor.” 3
2. It improves the quality of teaching.
360 degree learning requires significant
changes from teaching staff, with a
different approach to lesson planning
and delivery and the inclusion of more
participatory work. Importantly this
model encourages teachers to interact
more readily with students and be
more imaginative in their approach.
3.It creates serendipity and surprise.
360 degree learning environments
are all about flexibility, giving the
teacher and students the opportunity
to configure the space to suit those
particular learning needs. This means
students have fewer fixed expectations
of lessons and are more open-minded.
An element of surprise when arriving
for class can transform the learning
4. It puts the focus on practical
application and experience rather
than just theory.
Old teaching styles concentrated on
students noting down concepts and
theories, with little time for practice
(something that was usually consigned
The 5 Es model = Efficient learning.
to homework). 360 degree learning
puts practical application of knowledge
at the heart of the experience - using
group work, problem solving and team
presentations to assimilate knowledge
and put it to use right there and then.
5. It provides problem-solving and
work-ready students.
Interpersonal skills, team work and
critical thinking skills are all nurtured
and honed when students have
more opportunity to work together
to problem solve and discuss ideas.
Easier and less formal access to
teachers helps with this too.
These skills are not only key to
educational attainment but workplace
success. Combine this with the fact
educational interior design has started
to mirror workplace design and you
can see how students also benefit
from studying in environments akin to
the workplaces they will join.
6. It increases social skills and
Because 360 degree learning puts
more focus on empowering students
and increasing collaboration it greatly
increases social skills too. It takes into
account the classroom dynamic and
recognises the value of the teaching
and learning that occurs among the
students themselves. Peer to peer
support and teaching is harnessed
with 360 degree learning.
Roger Yohe, Director of the Centre for
Teaching and Learning at EMCC in
Arizona, USA said, “With group work
you have a lot of social norming going
on. You don’t have the misbehaviours
or distractions you might have with
instructional teaching. Small groups
keep their members in check. It is
community learning. Students consult
with their peer group first and go to the
teacher second.” 4
7. It increases useable space.
As educators face more budgetary
challenges, it’s important to have
learning spaces that deliver value for
as many students as possible. 360
degree learning environments enable
this as they have been designed with
reconfiguration and repurposing in
mind, not just throughout the day or
week, but within one study session
too. Use writable wall surfaces for
your students to share their ideas
using every bit of the room. In practical
terms this also means that teachers
and classes can move between rooms
with ease. Any space should support
any lesson.
The 5 Es model was developed by Rodger W. Bybee, Ph.D.,
Director Emeritus of the Biological Sciences Curriculum
Study (BSCS). This model supports experiential teaching
and learning and environments which are flexible and
1. Engage.
Instructors create a hook to interest students in the topic
through short activities which sustain attention throughout
the session.
Writeable surfaces aren’t just for walls; they can
transform virtually any space into a hub of creativity.
2. Explore.
Teams collect knowledge and ideas, using them to generate
new ideas, explore questions, and make discoveries. Tacit
knowledge becomes explicit as the group accesses and
shares knowledge, building on each other’s expertise.
8. It’s a point of difference.
Although the concept of 360 degree
learning has been in the western world
for some time it is still not yet the
norm in all educational environments.
It is an opportunity to make your
establishment stand out in terms of
attainment and engagement against
more traditional educational models.
9. Movement increases alertness.
alertness and helps to trigger memory.
360 degree learning can enable you
to create more movement allowing
students to refocus and pay attention,
as Lengel and Kuczala report in The
Kinesthetic Classroom: Teaching and
Learning Through Movement, “Simply
allowing students to get out of their
seats to move while learning provides
the brain with much-needed novelty
and change.”
3. Explain.
Students demonstrate their understanding of concepts
to their instructor and other students. Instructors guide
students toward deeper understanding.
4. Evaluate.
Instructors observe students’ understanding and abilities
and lead them to assess their learning and performance.
5. Elaborate.
Students challenge conceptual understanding and skills
through new experiences to develop a deeper and broader
understanding and application.
The UK Active Working Movement
have also advised that we should
change our working position every 30
minutes, vary the day by completing
some tasks standing up and spend two
minutes each hour walking around.
Design the room as you want it. Mobile furniture will fit through any classroom door. Tables can be freely integrated into
different configurations.
4 Taken from the whitepaper ‘Rethinking the classroom’ by Herman Miller.
How to implement 360 degree
learning in your school.
More educators are
recognising the need
to take learning beyond
the confines of the
traditional classroom.
Those at the forefront are challenging
the idea of what is useable space,
environments and surfaces stimulate,
excite and engage.
Not all students learn in the same way
or at the same pace and teachers
each have their own individual style
too. Education psychology has shifted
dramatically to make teaching reflect
the learning needs of students and
360 degree learning advocates and
enables that.
The successful implementation of
360 degree learning requires buyin from all stakeholders including
governors and parents, but starting
“What you need is as much flexibility as possible
when building schools. What you don’t want
to do is trap yourself into one design. The 360
degree classroom is wonderful. It offers maximum
with the faculty staff themselves. This
is a significant shift in pedagogical
styles and teaching staff must be
willing and able to embrace a more
confident, creative and interactive
teaching style. Their buy-in will help
to determine what you need of a 360
degree learning environment and how
much investment (in training as well as
facilities) is needed to make it possible.
Mike Gibbons, The Department for Education and Skills’ Innovations Unit
Writeable surfaces make it easier for
the teacher to view students’ work.
Martin Luther King Jr. Early College is
an aged 6-12 school in the USA. On
the 2012 TCAP, 78% of all students
were below proficient in Maths.
The support of facilities and estates
teams must not be underestimated
either. It’s important that they
understand what this learning model
requires from space at the outset
as they will be instrumental to the
ongoing use and effectiveness of your
360 degree learning environments.
6th Grade
Beanbags are great for informal
settings such as reading areas.
Flexible fold-away furniture supports diversity of learning opportunities and
teaching styles.
7th Grade
5 As referenced on the 360 degree math website
on 6th October 2015 - article : “The Data”
8th Grade
9th Grade
All of that changed in the 20122013 school year. After one year of
360 Degree Maths implementation,
students at MLK outperformed their
peers across Denver Public Schools.
The table to the left shows the change
in median growth percentile between
the 2012 and 2013 assessment. 5
Apps such as “Bounce” by IdeaPaint are available to get your students’ big
ideas off the wall and into the digital world, so brains can keep storming.
Here are six key considerations
for implementation:
Re-evaluate your space.
Challenge the expected.
Take a closer look at how you use space and identify ways to make
it more flexible. Where new build projects are under consideration,
make sure that 360 degree learning is part of the brief. It should
take into account the building itself, perhaps introducing circular
classrooms that link to the outside of the building, and rooms with
partitioning as well as integrated technology.
Where new buildings aren’t possible it’s about reinventing
existing spaces. This can be done with furniture, wall finishes
and technology and that can be integrated to release previously
underutilised areas of the classroom.
If there are limits within your existing buildings, look at what
unexpected additions you can make. The removal of static
desks in favour of moveable height-adjustable desks will
empower students and better support group work. Maybe
a large circular tent could transform a classroom’s interior to
offer learning in the round, even if the walls are square. The
addition of an old bus on campus could provide a creative
workshop space or the addition of external circular pods
could provide thought-provoking spaces with 360 degree
learning at their heart. Flexibility of space and visual interest
is necessary to keep learners engaged and interested.
Furniture is more than what you sit on.
Harness the power of technology.
Think about how you can achieve mobility and flexibility with your
furniture. Desks and chairs on castors allow students to choose
the configuration that suits the task, fold-away furniture creates
large open spaces with ease and swivel chairs ensure students
can see the teacher as they move round the room. Tables rather
than desks might better support group work and the use of
colours and dynamic shapes provides visual interest too.
Technology is one of the biggest enablers of 360 degree
learning and has made us realise the importance of both
mobility and collaboration. Consider how you can integrate
technology into your learning environment more seamlessly
to improve the learning experience and support collaboration.
Use every inch of space available.
360 degree learning relies on freedom and movement in the
classroom, which means there is no front or back. Consider
how you can use multiple focal points and different parts of a
room to deliver different aspects of a lesson. Use writeable wall
finishes to turn unusual surfaces into a canvas for sharing ideas.
Consider how ceilings and floors can be used for projecting
images to create completely immersive experiences.
Dedicated classrooms for specific subjects have all but gone,
with a few exceptions, and educators are under pressure to
make every square foot of space count. Flexible classrooms
require comprehensive, adaptable solutions particularly
when multiple teaching and learning styles are all used
within one lesson. Consider how spaces can be reorganised
– can furniture be moved round with ease? Can a teacher
switch between group-orientated work and independent
study within one lesson without hassle? Can audio visual
technology be incorporated with ease? Can lighting be used
to create focus? Changes should be simple and effective.
Can all surfaces of the room be utilised?
In-built audio visual systems, projectors and video
conferencing enable a much wider range of educational
assets to be shared with and used by students. They could
be used to project atmospheric video footage onto floors and
walls or used to link-up with another school on a project.
The dawn of 360 degree learning is a
reflection of our time. Students must
enter the world of work ready with
the skills, attributes and attitudes they
need to succeed, and so the demands
on educators have never been greater.
Flexibility, adaptability and variety in
teaching styles and environments are
needed if we are to deliver students
with the very highest levels of aptitude
and attainment.
Students do not have to be sitting
at desks to learn, nor are they reliant
on dedicated computer rooms to
access technology. Modern learning
environments have technology at their
heart and integral to their design, and
these spaces need to be adaptable
and flexible in order to properly support
new ways of learning.
A seismic step change in the way
education is delivered, 360 degree
learning has also heralded a change in
“Circular classrooms give the maximum teaching
flexibility. Everybody’s included. Nobody’s at the
back of the class or in the bad/naughty corner.
Everybody’s in the class and the teacher is in
the way we design and occupy school
buildings. It’s made creative, inspiring,
motivating, flexible and tech-ready
environments vital to learning.
In summary, 360 degree learning is a
new model for education in which new
learning and teaching methodologies
are supported by new types and
configurations of spaces, technologies
and furniture. It gives students a
more inspiring, engaging, active and
effective learning experience.
Gareth Nutt, Head of Property & Regeneration, Neath Port Talbot Council, UK
The research shows that students
who engage in a greater variety of
learning activities, who learn from one
another and work in groups, and who
incorporate movement and interaction
with their surroundings into their
studies, perform better in all aspects
of education. These advantages
ultimately translate to greater success
for young people in the workplace and
the wider world.
“This tendency for learners to encode
environmental features along with what they
are learning has important implications for
designing more effective learning environments
and experiences.”
Dr Elle Pruyne, Ashbridge Businss School, UK
Different colourful worksettings give students a choice of environments. Working in an environment that better suits you will
increase productivity and motivation.
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