In their article “Recognizing Campus Landscapes as Learning Spaces,” Kathleen Scholl and Gowri Betrabet Gulwadi argue that college campus landscapes should be part of a holistic learning environment for students. Scholl and Gulwadi argue that open spaces and natural landscapes provide students with attentional restoration, whereby students can unwind from focusing in traditional classes. They also argue that a dynamic campus leads students to view their learning experiences as dynamic and holistic.
Scholl and Gulwadi state that research has never been done on how landscapes specifically affect student learning. In this article, they view the main benefit of landscapes and openness as attentional restoration therapy. Their claim is undeniable to any reader in college; almost any reader can relate to focusing in class for hours to a point of being drained, then sitting outside for a while to rest and restore their attentional energy. Thus, the article is very easy to relate to since the authors write to a specific audience.
The second claim made in the article is that dynamic landscapes contribute to dynamic learning. This argument is structured in a very simple “if x, then y” structure. The evidence here is not circumstantial but direct. The authors build on their previous point that the entire campus is a learning environment, rather than just the classrooms. In this way, students are learning when they are walking across the quad, socializing outside, etc. The authors claim that these interactions are ipso facto learning experiences.
After stating the benefits of nature in student learning, the article calls upon college administrators and architects to view the campus as a learning space. When colleges purposely build open spaces into their campuses, provide easy access to wilderness, and engage students in nature, student learning will achieve true dynamism and effectiveness.