A space for learning: An analysis of research on active learning spaces

Heliyon. 2019 Dec 24;5(12):e02967. doi: 10.1016/j.heliyon.2019.e02967. eCollection 2019 Dec.


Active Learning Classrooms (ALCs) are learning spaces specially designed to optimize the practice of active learning and amplify its positive effects in learners from young children through university-level learners. As interest in and adoption of ALCs has increased rapidly over the last decade, the need for grounded research in their effects on learners and schools has grown proportionately. In this paper, we review the peer-reviewed published research on ALCs, dating back to the introduction of "studio" classrooms and the SCALE-UP program up to the present day. We investigate the literature and summarize findings on the effects of ALCs on learning outcomes, student engagement, and the behaviors and practices of instructors as well as the specific elements of ALC design that seem to contribute the most to these effects. We also look at the emerging cultural impact of ALCs on institutions of learning, and we examine the drawbacks of the published research as well as avenues for potential future research in this area.

Keywords: 21st century classroom; Active learning; Active learning classroom; Active learning space; Collaborative learning; Education; Institutional culture.

Publication types

  • Review