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‘The right’ classroom lighting boosts learning by 20%

The correct type of lighting can significantly improve children’s learning, especially if it is natural light, research shows.

Full spectrum lighting, including sunlight and artificial lighting that replicated natural light, is known to improve behaviour, reduce anxiety and boost health. In turn, these improvements translate to a marked improvement in learning. 

According to a study by the California Energy Commission, classrooms that receive a high level of daylight offer students a 20% better learning rate in maths and 26% in reading, compared with 
classrooms that received little natural light.

Bruce Cantrill, Head of Marketing and Business Development for power and lighting specialists CMD, said: “The days of ‘one size fits all’ fluorescent lighting in schools are rapidly becoming a thing of the past. Innovations in dynamic lighting technology now mean that natural daylight can easily be replicated to create a much more positive learning environment for both pupils and staff.”


Dynamic lighting — lighting that can be adjusted remotely to suit particular lessons and activities — can further support and enhance classroom learning, suggests a recent study published in the journal Optics Express.


In contrast, poor lighting reduces how effectively the brain can collect information. Research by Dr. Ellen Mannel Grangaard of the University of Nevada suggests that overhead cool white fluorescent lighting can be detrimental to learning for a number of reasons, including aggravating hyperactivity and promoting off-task behaviour such as fidgeting, lightdaydreaming and talking in lessons. 

The glare — or veiling reflection — created when fluorescent lighting reflects off paper and white boards also physically hinders student’s ability to read properly and can result in disengagement with the lesson.  

Mr Cantrill adds: “Another great benefit of dynamic lighting in schools is that teachers are able to remotely optimise their environment by controlling the brightness and lighting temperature in their classroom on a light-by-light basis. This can be adjusted throughout the day to suit both the nature of the lesson and the amount of natural daylight available.”


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