I have often heard and read the advice of sitting in the first rows of the lecture hall to learn more efficiently. Is there any research/study that looked at the effect of sitting in first rows of the lecture hall on the learning efficiency?
This article(The Effect of Seat Location on Exam Grades and Student Perceptions in an Introductory Biology Class By Steven Kalinowski and Mark L. Taper) examined the seat location during lectures and its effects on exams. It details the results of some prior studies and their own.
They assigned seating in the following way;
On the first day of class, we randomly divided students into groups of three, and assigned each group to a row. Two groups were assigned per row—except for the front row, which we left empty (because we believed some students might be uncomfortable sitting in the very front). We did not tell the class that we were studying the effect of seat location on their learning
They used exam scores to measure student learning during lectures. Five exams were given to the class: four midterms and a final.
Their main finding was that there was no effect of seat location on exam scores in the class.
They report that they obtained two noteworthy results.
First, we found no evidence that grades or student attitudes were affected by seat location ...
Our second noteworthy result was that students who chose to sit in the front of the lecture hall on the first class had significantly higher GPAs than students in the back (P = 0.009, R2 = 0.18) (Figure 2). The slope of the regression line was –0.10, indicating that, on average, GPAs decreased by 0.1 point (on a 4-point scale) per row. This represents a substantial difference in GPA between students in the front and back (the regression line dropped from 3.9 in the front of the lecture hall to 2.7 in the back).