This page serves as a resource for those interested in learning more about the pedagogical and design recommendations to consider when creating and using Active Learning Classrooms (ALCs).
What is an Active Learning Classroom?
Active learning classrooms (ALCs) are defined as “student-centered, interactive, integrated, flexible, active learning spaces” (University of Minnesota, 2009). These spaces can take many forms, but typical ALCs include: 1) movable chairs/tables or tables configured into groupings (often referred to as pods), 2) multiple projection/viewing systems, 3) multiple whiteboards/writing surfaces.
Implementation of ALCs at the University of Michigan
A creative example of an ALC at Virginia Tech
How are teaching and learning different in an Active Learning Classroom?
ALCs encourage student collaboration. The furniture and technology are designed to enable students to work in small groups and for instructors to work more interactively with students during class activities. They provide more options for student interaction and class structure (University of Minnesota, 2009). This video from the University of Iowa, discusses their ALC initiative and provides a nice overview of an ALC in action, instructor and student reactions to this new environment, and preliminary learning outcomes.
Research generated in ALCs across multiple universities have shown positive effects, including:
Instructors do note that these spaces are not conducive to lecture-based approaches and that adjustment of one’s teaching strategies is necessary to allow for more active, student-centered methods (University of Minnesota, n.d.). The following videos provide more insight on the type of teaching that happens in these spaces: