Active Learning Classroom

Active Learning Classroom


An active learning classroom (ALC) is a campus instructional space that has been designed to promote student-centered learning.  Common elements of an ALC include flexible furniture, multiple whiteboards, and increased use of technology to facilitate group interaction.


The primary benefit of teaching in an ALC is the ease of incorporating constructivist instructional methods such as inquiry or small group discussions. Because the furniture can easily be moved into different configurations, professors are more likely to incorporate collaborative learning activities and less likely to rely on lecture alone. Studies have shown that ALCs can influence creative thinking (Jankowska, 2007), make class time more enjoyable for students and faculty (Wilson and Randall, 2012), and provide a more engaging learning environment (Brooks, 2012; Whiteside, Brooks & Walker, 2010).


Other names for ALCs include SCALE-UP, TEAL, and TILE. Consider visiting an existing ALC and talking with faculty and learning technologists who have active learning facilitation experience. An internet search on “active learning strategies” can provide a helpful list of possible activities to include.


Redesigning a course for an ALC can be time consuming if the primary instructional method of the previous course was lecture.




Brooks, D. Christopher. “Space and Consequences: The Impact of Different Formal Learning Spaces on Instructor and Student Behavior.” Journal of Learning Spaces 1.2 (2012). Web. 30 June 2016. <>.

Brooks, D. Christopher, and J. D. Walker. “Making the Case for Space: Three Years of Empirical Research on Learning Environments.”EDUCAUSEreview 33.2 (2010). Web. 30 June 2016. <>.

Jankowskaa, Maja, and Mark Atlaya. “Use of creative space in enhancing students’ engagement.” Innovations in Education and Teaching International45.3 (2008): 271-279. Web. 30 June 2016. <>.

Wilson, Gail, and Marcus Randall. “The Implementation and Evaluation of a New Learning Space: A Pilot Study.” Research in Learning Technology 20(2012). Web. 30 June 2016. <>.

Featured Image “Active Learning in Physics”by derekbruff is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0


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