Effects of different seating arrangements on learning experience : the case of medium sized lecture settings in Bilkent University
Hilal, Ümmüşan Selin
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The aim of this study is to understand and compare effects of different seating arrangements on attention, concentration, participation and learning satisfaction in medium sized lecture settings in higher education. The study also aims to examine seating preferences in terms of territoriality and personal space. Two types of seating arrangements which are conventional straight row arrangement and U- Shape arrangement were compared. The investigation was conducted in the Department of Interior Architecture and Environmental Design, at Bilkent University. The sample group of the study was same in both seating arrangements. The study was conducted eight times: four times with traditional row arrangement and 4 times with U- shape arrangement. Analysis of physical space, direct and indirect observations and questionnaire were used as techniques. Firstly, the sample group was observed in traditional row arrangement and then U- Shape arrangement. Both lectures and discussion tasks were given to the sample group in both arrangements to understand their effects on students’ attention, concentration and participation. In addition to these, while respondents were being observed, photographs and videos were also taken and they were analyzed later. After the observations, a questionnaire was given iii to the group and descriptive statistics was done with SPSS 21.0 (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences). It was found that students tend to be more attentive and more concentrated on the lecture in straight row arrangement and they tend to participate more actively in U- Shape arrangement of the lecture room. The observations coincided with the students’ perception on these aspects as shown by their responses of the questionnaire. In terms of space use and preferences the research shows that if students want to concentrate more, they seem to choose seats where they are closer to instructor. Finally, it was seen that students tend to be more tolerant in terms personal space when they sit next to their close friends.