16 April 2011

Space for learning

According to psychological studies, even small differences in distance and spacing can have a strong impact on a person's sense of security and their attitude towards what they are doing. The studies triggered different emotions by asking subjects to do something as subtle as drawing dots on paper closer or farther apart.  The difference in the distance between a person's dots statistically affected their attitudes towards something they read afterwards.   This would surely point us to the importance of layout and white space in our digital learning environments.  If we want learners to feel relaxed and positive about the task at hand, including sufficient whitespace is now supported by emotions research as well as by good usability guidelines. More in the Scientific American Mind article  "Arranging for Serenity: How Physical Space and Emotion Intersect".

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