A Study of College Studying/Seating Areas from an Ergonomics Perspective: A Pilot Study

By Rehab Aburas and Su-Jeong Hwang Shin.

Published by The International Journal of Learning in Higher Education

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: December 18, 2014 $US5.00

Previous studies demonstrate that one of the important physical facilities in a learning environment is furniture. The appropriate type of furniture may provide a comfortable, beneficial, and functional environment for students in educational institutions (Khanam, Reddy, and Mrunalini, 2006). However, limited amount of studies investigate seating areas outside the classrooms. Thus, this study aims to provide insights of ergonomic aspects that might help students studying in seating areas on campus. The participants in this study were forty-five students in college and surveyed about students seating areas in three different locations: (A) Human Sciences building, (B) Student Union Building, and (C) students’ lounge in Business College. These three areas were observed and evaluated the level of comfort in ergonomic aspects. In addition, furniture dimensions were measured. In this study, we found that the comfort level was related to the location of the seating areas. The Student Union Building has the highest mean on the comfort scores because the building has convenient facilities such as restaurants and bookstores. However, the furniture in the studied areas does not meet most of the criteria in ergonomic view. For the students' overall satisfaction, results showed that location A (very close to classrooms) had the highest satisfaction mean score among the three locations. The approximate distance to the classes was a significant factor for the students' satisfaction: F (2, 42) = 4.47, p <0.05. The seating areas were not appropriated for studying purpose. However, we found that 55.6% of the students used the area for several tasks including: working on laptop, eating, and socializing. It is often observed that students prefer studying in such areas rather than going to the library, either because of the convenience of location, or because the university library may be at full capacity, especially near midterms or finals.

Keywords: College, Furniture, Ergonomics, Learning Environment

The International Journal of Learning in Higher Education, Volume 22, Issue 1, March 2015, pp.13-21. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: December 18, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 800.366KB)).

Rehab Aburas

PhD Student, Department of Environmental and Interior Design, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX, USA

Dr. Su-Jeong Hwang Shin

Associate Professor, Department of Design, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX, USA