Active Learning Spaces

Cost-Effectively Reconfiguring Classrooms to Support Evolving Pedagogy


This research brief explores higher education's recent interest in and adoption of active learning. We examine implementation cost, how facilities leaders can adapt to increased space requirements, and strategies to provide additional student space outside the classroom.

This brief is one in a six-volume series on Campus 2025. To learn more, explore the other briefs on makerspaces, industry interface spaces, luxury and community-centric residence halls, shared and flexible research labs, and corporate-inspired offices.

Key observations from our research

1. Students in active learning courses perform six percentage points higher than their counterparts in traditional courses.

2. Relatively simple modifications like whiteboards on walls, swivel chairs, or tables with wheels can have a much greater impact on learning outcomes than expensive technology.

3. For effective active learning, institutions need to allocate approximately 35% more square feet per student.

4. Since students in active learning courses often complete group projects outside of class, facilities leaders need to allocate pull-up spaces outside the classroom.

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