Herman Miller, a Michigan based office furniture manufacturer, as a gesture of Google-like corporate good will makes their research available to the public (and their competitors). Much of their research is about improving spaces that people inhabit and work in through creating more effective products that are conducive to improved learning and working environments. Specifically the essays titled “Enriching the Learning Experience”, “Forming Places that Form Ideas”, “Library Redefined”, and “Rethinking the Classroom” specifically apply to creating effective study spaces. While not justified by means of cognitive psychology, the essays are great case studies of other spaces that have been created and/or modified with the same intention of creating an improved study space. The essays also describe different solutions to help concentration and involvement. The article “Rethinking the Classroom” has good data on information retention in relation to how the information is presented, and on student and teacher preferences for room type and flexibility. Another essay, “Forming Places that Form Ideas”, has interesting information about learning as a social activity, a relatively new concept in the history of education. While the essays do promote the company is a not so subtle way, they are well researched and referenced, making them valuable justifications for an improved study space on the Pratt campus, as well as a valuable resource for further research.
To download pdfs of the essays, click here