It has now been over two years since the launch of the Mosaic Initiative. During this time we’ve designed numerous new classrooms, developed faculty support for all IU learning spaces, launched various research projects, published articles, made presentations, and connected with people from all over the world looking to bring active learning spaces to their campuses.
I’m frequently asked to suggest a reading list for those who want to become familiar with the literature on active learning classrooms. I’d like to share a short list of seven foundational readings (in suggested order), along with suggested questions for discussion. These recommended readings would be great for a Faculty Learning Community, for a Learning Spaces Committee, for someone beginning their research, or for anyone wanting to gain a more evidence-based understanding of active learning classrooms:
- Brooks, D. C. (2011). Space matters: The impact of formal learning environments on student learning. British Journal of Educational Technology, 42(5), 719-726.
- Stoltzfus, J. R., & Libarkin, J. (2016). Does the Room Matter? Active Learning in Traditional and Enhanced Lecture Spaces. Cell Biology Education, 15(4), 1-15.
- Parsons, C. S. (2016). Space and Consequences: The Influence of the Roundtable Classroom Design on Student Dialogue. Journal of Learning Spaces, 5(2), 15-25.
- Henshaw, R. G., Edwards, P. M., & Bagley, E. J. (2011). Use of Swivel Desks and Aisle Space to Promote Interaction in Mid-sized College Classrooms. Journal of Learning Spaces, 1(1), 1-14.
- Petersen, C. I. & Gorman, K. S. (2014). Strategies to Address Common Challenges When Teaching in an Active Learning Classroom. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, 137(6), 63-70.
- Chen, V. (2015). From Distraction to Contribution: A Preliminary Study on How Peers Outside the Group Can Contribute to Students’ Learning. The Canadian Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 6(3), 1-16.
- Baepler, P. & Walker, J.D. (2014). Active Learning Classrooms and Educational Alliances: Changing Relationships to Improve Learning. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, 137(6), 27-40.
- The Brooks, Stolzfus, and Petersen articles focus on a clearly-defined category of active learning classroom known as SCALE-UP (in some of the readings they are referred to as ALCs). SCALE-UP classrooms are designed in a specific way: seven-foot diameter tables that seat nine students, with an associated screen and white board for the students at each table (each SCALE-UP room usually seats upwards of 100 total students).SCALE-UP classrooms are consistent in these characteristics and were originally conceived to combine the typically large enrollment physics lecture and its associated laboratory sections into single classroom sessions.
- The Henshaw and Parsons articles explore other active learning classroom designs, beyond SCALE-UP. In recent years, active learning classrooms have evolved to include a greater variety of designs and affordances.
- The Chen, Petersen, and Beaplar articles focus on how students and instructors interact in active learning classrooms, making their articles especially good to share with instructors who are seeking practical advice about teaching in these spaces.
Questions you might ask yourself or pose to your discussion group:
- Brooks makes the case, in 2001, that space matters; however,later articles on active learning classrooms highlight the importance of pedagogy in the context of space. How much does space really matter? Under what circumstance? Does it matter more than pedagogy?
- The earliest research on active learning classrooms focus on the SCALE-UP model. How does the broadening of design possibilities (in addition to the SCALE-UP design) for active learning classrooms influence the research questions we can begin to ask about active learning classrooms?
- What are some practical suggestions that the Chen, Petersen, and Beaplar articles provide that you might highlight to your faculty for teaching in an active learning classroom?
- Now that you’ve seen pictures of and read about various classroom designs, what would your ideal classroom look like?
Please visit mosaic.iu.edu for additional resources and information about our initiative. If you’re interested in possible collaboration opportunities or have any questions, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.