Back in the 1940's, the United State Air Force was trying to solve the problem of increased incidents in flight. Was part of the problem that pilots weren't able to reach the right instruments when split second decisions were needed?
To examine solutions, they decided to re-design the cockpits of their planes. They studied by collecting data of their 4,000 pilots. They looked at 10 different body measurements, such as length of legs, torso, forearms, etc.
When they compiled the data, they found an interesting insight that changed everything.
Plotting the data, they looked at how many of their pilots fit within 1 standard deviation in each of the 10 categories.
Guess how many fell within the average?
If they would have designed a cockpit for the average pilot, they would have designed it for no one.
So what does this have to do with schools?
The modern education system is built around the concept that each student learns the same way.
That is why it is common to see schools designed for the masses. Everyone has the same space, learning the same way, and experiencing school.
Unfortunately, we now know that very few students learn best in a traditional lecture style classroom that we are so accustomed to seeing in schools.
Dr. Todd Rose explains in his book, The End of Average, this concept has been in practice in many industries. Personalized medicine, marketing to the individual, to name a few. However, this is what most classrooms look like in America:
The concept of personalized education has been put into practice in many parts of the country with more and more positive research being published to show the benefits. We now know that most students do not learn best in a lecture style classroom.
Back to the Air Force study, they used the information to develop a customized approach for each pilot. We can now thank them for the adjustable seats and steering wheels in all of our vehicles.
We are seeing these changes being implemented in schools across the country. Spaces for students to adjust their environment to how they learn best. At times it is very collaborative, others require quiet individual study spaces, or active spaces incorporating hands-on learning, movement, standing or even sitting on the ground.