Active Learning Classrooms (ALCs) are team-based, hands-on, computer-rich, adaptable, state-of-the-art learning environments. Contrary to a traditional classroom, the podium is in the center of the classroom and the students are seated on group tables plugged into the ALC technology with their laptops. Students and faculty can freely move around during group activities and discussion.
Typical Features of an Active Learning Classroom
- Wall-mounted whiteboards accessible to all students to display content.
- Multiple flat-panel display projection systems.
- Flexible furniture that allows small group work but scales to bigger groups and full class.
- Central teaching station that lets instructor display work of specific student groups.
- Visual and physical access for students and instructors to each other.
The layout of many Active Learning Classrooms is based on the "SCALE-UP" (Student Centered Active Learning Environment with Upside-down Pedagogies) and their website features photos of successful designs.
Take a closer look at an ALC
One early adopter of the ALC concept is McGill University in Canada. The video below highlights how four McGill instructors in different disciplines have used the features of the ALC to engage students and promote active and collaborative learning.