Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Active Learning Classroom Designs

Thirty Seat Classroom at
Anteater Learning Pavilion.
Image by UC Irvine.
UC Irvine has an excellent video about their Anteater Learning Pavilion, built last year. They have a mix of room designs, the smaller having more movable furniture. The smallest rooms have tablet-arm chairs on casters, which can be moved by the students. The medium size rooms having tables on casters, but tethered by power and A/V cables to the floor. The largest room has seats fixed to the floor.

250 Seat Lecture Hall at
Anteater Learning Pavilion.
Image by
UC Irvine.

I like the smaller room designs. However, the 250 seat "Lecture Hall" looks to me an uncomfortable compromise between a conventional lecture theater and an active teaching space. I suggest two separate rooms would be better: one with a flat floor for active learning and one with stepped theater seating for conventional lectures. This would make better use of space, and each learning mode would be better accommodated.

The Australian National University went a step further, and built two separate buildings, one with theater seating for lectures (the Culture and Events Building), and one with flat floors for active learning (the Marie Reay Teaching Centre). Some of the lecture theatres in the Culture and Events Building also have retractable seating to provide very flat floor spaces. I have used the Marie Reay building for large student workshops.

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