Active Learning

What is Active Learning?

Active Learning is generally defined as any instructional method that engages students in the learning process. In short, active learning requires students to do meaningful learning activities and think about and apply what they are learning. While this definition could include traditional activities such as homework, in practice, active learning refers to activities that are introduced into the classroom. The core elements of active learning are student activity and engagement in the learning process. Active learning is often contrasted to the traditional lecture where students passively receive information from the instructor.

Designs and Research of Active Learning Environments

SCALE-UP

SCALE-UP stands for “Student-Centered Active Learning Environment with Upside-down Pedagogies” or “Student‐Centered Active Learning Environment for Undergraduate Programs.” SCALE-UP classrooms include round tables of nine students to facilitate group interactions, white boards near each table, networked computers and an instructor area located near the center of the room.

Other acronyms that are used by universities for SCALE-UP environments are:

  • TEAL – Technology-Enabled Active Learning
  • ALC – Active Learning Classrooms
  • TILE – (Spaces to) Transform, Interact, Learn, Engage

Examples

North Carolina State University (SCALE-UP)

Design:

ncsu-scaleup-800x600  scale-up-floorplan

Research:

Video:

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (TEAL)

Design:

mit-teal     mit-teal-layout

Research:

Video:

University of Minnesota (ALC)

Design:

Paul Imbertson     unm-layout

Research:

Video:

University of Iowa (TILE)

Design:

iowa-tile1708 

Research:

Video:

LEARN LAB (Steelcase)

LearnLab is a flexible, tech-enabled classroom that is anything but traditional. Instead of rows of desks facing forward, where the podium is the stage and blackboard the backdrop, LearnLab removes the front of the room by positioning chairs and tables into an “X” configuration.

Design:

Richland College

12-0004538-1     2wNPryX57m_1409925085204

Research:

Video:

LEARNING STUDIOS (Herman Miller)

The new Learning Studios provided faculty and learners with an opportunity to experiment with radical flexibility in space, furnishings, and technology—all targeted at increasing student engagement and success.

Design:

California State University, Fresno

Learning Spaces Research Program  hm_learning_studio

Research:

Video:

TEAM-BASED CLASSROOMS

Team-based learning (TBL) is an instructional teaching method in which students work independently prior to the allotted class time to gain baseline subject matter knowledge. During class time they interact as a team (typically comprised of 4-7 students) towards a common goal of understanding class/course objectives. Compared to didactic lecture, the aim of TBL is to increase the level of the students’ engagement and promote a higher level of learning within the content.

Examples:

McGill University

Design:

  mcgilllayout

University of Windsor

Design:

   U-of-Windsor-CEI-Lecture-Hall-January-2012

Stanford University

Design:

stanford-university   stanford-team_learning6

Video:

University of California, Berkeley

Design:

  • Images:

active-learning-17c4bho   teambasedlayout

Video:

York University, Canada

Design:

  • Images:

Active-learning-area-in-the-Bergeron-Centre-for-Engineering-Excellence1   bergeron-level-2

TURN 2 TEAM

Turn 2 Team environments allow students to turn their chair 180 degrees in order to collaborate with the student(s) sitting behind them. If the floor is tiered, then two rows of seats are located on the same tier.

Examples:

     Indiana University

indiana-university-hine-hall-classroom118   IUPUI-Hine-Hall-118

     Iowa State University

iowa-state-lebaron   Iowa Stat Univ. Auditorium 1210 (Lebaron Hall)     

Video:

     University of Denver

univerity-colorado-auditorium-293   Univ. of Colorado at Denver_Auditorium 293_Academic Building 1

 

SINGLE, MOVABLE DESK SOLUTIONS

The single, movable desk solution is mobile and flexible. It’s designed for quick, easy transitions from one teaching mode to the next, unlike traditional school desks and chairs.

Examples

Case Western Reserve University

Design:

HR_MatherMemorial_View2_2013_0186  steelcase-nodeclassroom

Research:

ADDITIONAL INNOVATIVE EXAMPLES

Purdue University
Design:

purdue-active-learning-center  purdue-active_learning-floorplan

 Video:

Oregon State University

Design:

Oregon State University   Bora_OSU-Learning-Innovation-Center-arena

Oregon State University  Bora_OSU-Learning-Innovation-Center-parliament

Video: