University Business May 2018 - 38

TECHNOLOGY

World of
ACTIVE
LEARNING
Formal and informal learning
spaces transform campuses
around the globe
By Sherrie Negrea

A

t the University of Leeds
in England, students taking
classes in the Roger Stevens
Lecture Theatre sit at small,
trapezoid-shaped tables on
tiered levels, working on group
projects on a laptop connected to a videosharing system.
At the University of Hong Kong, students meeting at the Chi Wah Learning
Commons collaborate with classmates
on joint course assignments at clover-leaf
clusters of tables equipped with computers
in a large airy room.
Active learning spaces are cropping up
at campuses on nearly every continent as
schools transform lecture halls, classrooms
and informal study areas into collaborative
38 | May 2018

technology hubs. While many international campuses have just started to create
active learning spaces, others have been
developing them for more than a decade.
As the trend in active learning classrooms
has accelerated internationally, colleges in
the U.S. can learn from the cutting-edge
classroom design and technology that
countries such as Australia and Hong
Kong have built.
"There are good examples that are
coming out from all over the world using
different kinds of space design and different types of teaching," says D. Christopher Brooks, director of research at
Educause, who has conducted research on
active learning spaces in the United States
and China.

In 2016, John Augeri, co-founder and
deputy director of Paris Ile-de-France
Digital University, a government-led consortium, launched a three-year comparative study of active learning spaces around
the world, covering eight countries and
the European Union.
So far, he has found, international
campuses are increasingly focused on creating active learning spaces in informal
settings, such as libraries.
Yet at the same time, universities continue to experiment with and refine active learning classrooms because research
shows they boost academic achievement.
"If the students are engaged and motivated and enjoying their learning, they're
more likely to have improved learning
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