Hybrid Active Learning Classroom

The best room for giving interactive tutorials.

Active Learning Classroom Bolognalaan

 

An (Hybrid) Active Learning Classroom (HALC) is a space where interactive, student-oriented learning takes place, and which stimulates active learning through its layout. Students work in groups using their own laptops (BYOD) at adjustable sit-stand tables, with a screen and whiteboard for each table. A teaching station is located in the middle of the room, which an instructor can use to select which information is visible on the various screens; either the lecturer’s screen, the screen of a group at a specific table, or the work of students from another table. The group tables, shareable screens and whiteboards facilitate easy collaboration between groups and individual students. The ALC also allows the instructor to provide classical instruction and one-on-one interaction.

The Teaching & Learning Lab has conducted several experiments with an active learning classroom layout over the past few years. Read more about one of these experiments.                                                                                                                                                     

HOW IS THE SPACE USED?

We have compiled a list of some of the characteristics of an Active Learning Classroom and tips on how to use one, to provide a glimpse in how the ALC is used in practice.

Use of space 

In the HALC, the instructor teaches from the middle of the room. This puts him/her close to each of the students, who are only a few steps away. This may take some getting used to, however; for example, some of the students will always be behind the instructor when he/she is teaching. Evaluations have shown that students are not bothered by this, as long as the instructor moves around to face each group of students during the instruction.

Instructions for lecturers

  • Discuss the room concept before the class and explain why you chose for this layout. You can explain that students have reported that the layout makes it easier to interact with the instructor and fellow students. Explain the benefits for students, such as improved interaction with the instructor and fellow students, and how some things are done differently than in a standard classroom layout.
  • Consider a fixed route for ‘visiting’ the group tables and preventing dead angles.
  • Think of a way to draw attention to transitions from learning activities to instructional moments (timer for group work, catchwords, project a slide on the group screens, etc.).

Focus on tasks

The layout of the Active Learning Classroom is geared towards encouraging interaction between students. As an instructor, it is important that you direct how and when this interaction takes place. Instructors that use the ALC have indicated that some groups can concentrate longer on their work by alternating between sitting and standing.

Instructions for lecturers

  • Give clear instructions at the beginning of an interactive assignment, and explain how long the assignment will take to complete.
  • Make intelligent use of the projection screens. For example, show the assignment so that students can read it, or display the progress of the student groups. In student evaluations, students have indicated that seeing other groups make progress on the assignment had a stimulating effect. Keep in mind that this mainly works if answers cannot easily be copied from one another.
  • Provide a clear structure, and divide between ‘group work time’ and classroom interaction.
  • Alternate work formats: sitting, standing, walking, self-reflection, group work, working on whiteboards, working on screens, etc.

This room gives you new ideas for teaching methods and approaches.

Interaction with the lesson materials and the instructor

Each group table is equipped with a whiteboard and screen. Instructors have indicated that they gain better insight into the learning process and can intervene more effectively when students are able to use these resources, because the instructor can monitor the learning process from the middle of the room.

The space offers plenty of opportunities for screen management, for example by sharing one student table’s screen with the rest of the class. That allows the instructor to discuss the group’s results with the rest of the students. But there are other options as well.

Instructions for lecturers

  • Even though students work on their own laptop in a shared document and can see each other’s work, ask them to connect one of the laptops to the big screen, so that you as an instructor can monitor the quality and progress of the assignment.
  • We recommend that you practice using the screen management controls a few times in advance before using the screen in class. The controls are easy to use, but it is always a good idea to have practiced using them a few times before you actually need it to teach.
  • Instead of discussing the assignment with the entire class, you could display the neighbouring group’s results on a group screen and ask the group to give feedback on their neighbours’ work.

The room offers an interactive space where the lecturer can have more contact with the students than usual.

Popular teaching formats

The ALC is a popular choice for working on projects in groups, but it has also been used successfully for other teaching formats:

  • Computer labs (Bring Your Own Device). The ALC is often chosen for these lessons because it is easy to show one student’s results to the rest of the group, and because the instructor is easily accessible to all of the students.
  • Digital poster presentations. The posters are displayed on the screen, and they can be switched out for new posters in the course of the lesson.
  • Tutorial, in which students are encouraged to brainstorm about a problem as a group.
  • Game-based learning, especially when it has an explicit competitive element, because student groups can see each other’s progress on their screens.

PRACTICAL INFORMATION

Active Learning classrooms have been furnished in the following locations:

  • Bolognalaan 101; room 2.049

Suitable for: interactive learning, group work, one-on-one interaction, computer labs (Bring Your Own Device), digital poster presentations, instruction for part of the lesson (this room is not ideal for lessons that are entirely composed of classroom instruction).

How to book the room: Contact fls@uu.nl for an intake.