Active Learning Classroom Design

active learning classroom - HCC 325Active learning spaces create active minds for students and the instructors who guide them.

DSU is expanding the boundaries of learning with simple to use, technology rich and flexible classroom and other learning spaces that enhance the student learning experience through engagement, collaboration, and new approaches to teaching and learning.

Our goal is to create an effective learning environment where active learning can predominantly be used in all DSU classrooms or spaces, while supporting a variety of disciplinary and pedagogical strategies.

A revised DSU strategic plan goal now includes an action plan to redesign 10 DSU classrooms by the end of FY2020 to better facilitate active learning. An inventory of all classrooms is scheduled to be conducted in Fall 2017 to assess active learning needs and identify 10 priority classrooms in various buildings across campus. Let us know if you have a classroom that you think would be a good candidate for remodeling.

Design Principles

To guide our work, we have referenced the National Survey for Student Engagement (NSSE) – a respected indicator of student engagement used by over 1450 universities across North America. Their Engagement Indicator themes and High-Impact Practices (2013) are based upon extensive educational research. We believe that these indicators and practices should be utilized at DSU when designing or renovating classroom spaces to support student learning. This permits the university to ground decisions about classroom features in research-based principles.

The following principles are intended to guide design decisions regarding the creation and renovation of learning spaces on campus, such that learning spaces become a physical manifestation of the university’s teaching and learning vision – active learning, active life.

  • Academic Challenge: Learning spaces should allow students to actively engage with content and include a range of technologies that support multiple modes of teaching and learning.
  • Peer Interaction: Learning spaces should provide features that permit students to work both individually and in collaboration with one another.
  • Faculty Interaction: Learning spaces should facilitate communication and interaction between students and faculty.
  • Campus Environment: Learning spaces should be consistent with the university’s culture and priorities as reflected in the campus master plan, follow university design standards, and be designed with future flexibility in mind.
  • High-Impact Practices: Learning spaces exist within a larger campus context; there should be an ease of transition between spaces so as to better support high-impact practices inside and outside the classroom.

Rubric Framework

These guidelines are incorporated into a proposed rubric framework to help ensure that our learning spaces follow these principles, as it relates to layout, furnishings, technology, acoustics, lighting and color.