Acoustics and new learning environment - A case study

Rauno Pääkkönen*, Tommi Vehviläinen, Jaana Jokitulppo, Olli Niemi, Suvi Nenonen, Juha Vinha

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


This study presents the results of an acoustic performance evaluation of classrooms and their corridors on a test area of the Finnish Oulu Normal School. The project, "Spaces for learning and creation of new knowledge", was organised by Rym Ltd and was a re-design pilot study where spatial analysis of some new schools and new forms of future school design have been made. Two different acoustical setups were evaluated by measurements of the reverberation time, sound pressure level (A-weighted equivalent level, LAeq), and sound insulation. Other acoustical parameters were also measured via sources of reverberation time to verify the difference of the test rooms. Speech Transmission Index (STI), disturbance radius (rD), spreading attenuation (D2,S), Clarity (C50), and Rapid Speech Transmission Index (RASTI) were calculated. Measurements of noise followed the Finnish guidelines. Measurements of reverberation time and sound insulation followed the International Standards ISO 140-4, ISO 140-5, ISO 717-1, and ISO 3382. The acoustic quality of the classrooms was analysed based on the measurements' results (sound insulation and reverberation time), which were compared with the reference values found in the Finnish Standard SFS 5907. Results revealed good acoustical quality of the surveyed classrooms, for both test setups studied. The soft carpet on the floor made the acoustical performance of corridor areas usable for educational purposes. However, the sound insulation and background noise level of all the classrooms did not meet the guidelines of Finnish Standards. Discussion on new learning concepts and acoustical design reveals that new tools for the evaluation of learning spaces should be developed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)74-78
Number of pages5
JournalApplied Acoustics
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2015
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Acoustics
  • Classrooms
  • Learning spaces


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