Towards Active Learning Spaces and the Flipped Classroom Model

Colin Loughlin, Steven Warburton

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingPaper in conference proceedingpeer-review


It has been acknowledged that the traditional didactic lecture does not always provide the ideal learning and teaching experience (Bligh, 1998). Over the last ten years, individuals and institutions have been exploring the pedagogical possibilities of providing more active and engaging alternatives. One model in particular has been influential in sparking change. The use of Active Learning Spaces (ALS) combined with team-based learning (Fink, Michaelsen & Knight, 2004) has been successfully used in initiatives such as TEAL (Technology Enhanced Active Learning) and SCALE-UP (Baepler, Brooks & Walker, 2014). This approach has proved popular in North America, and has attracted growing interest in the UK. The key benefits demonstrated have been improvements in: class attendance; retention rates; levels of conceptual understanding; pace of learning (Beichner, Saul, Abbott, et al., 2007). This ongoing comparative study set out to establish the key drivers and barriers to the development of ALS and the future landscape for classroom pedagogies that are being adopted within these innovative spaces. A mixed methodology has been adopted to triangulate the needs, expectations and opinions of three key stakeholders: students, academics, and policy makers. A series of focus group interviews were conducted with students and lecturers, and an online questionnaire completed by senior managers representing a range of UK Higher Education Institutions. The analysis of the results so far point to a burgeoning awareness amongst students and staff of the positive educational impact of newer pedagogies such as the 'flipped classroom' and 'inquiry based learning', alongside an intensifying impatience with the status quo. From the institutional perspective, aside from the financial implications, a formidable hurdle is the pressure on physical space, and thus, room occupancy rates. ALS typically reduce room occupancy by 25-30%, however previous studies have indicated attendance at lectures rarely exceed 60% of the cohort (Dobkin, Gil & Marion, 2007), and a recent evaluation of learning spaces at one HEI demonstrated a room utilization rate of just 27%. There is now a clear rationale for the creation of teaching spaces that effectively support technology enhanced pedagogies which attract, engage and retain students across the whole academic cycle. In this paper we will discuss the current results of our study in relation to critical questions around ALS and the flipped classroom, and more broadly the strategic decisions around estate management versus the demands and expectations of students and staff. Towards Active Learning Spaces and the Flipped Classroom Model. Available from: [accessed Sep 21, 2017].
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 14th European Conference on e-Learning
EditorsAmanda Jefferies, Marija Cubric
PublisherACPI (Academic Conference Publishing International)
ISBN (Print)978-1-910810-70-5
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Oct 29
Event14th European Conference on e-Learning - University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, United Kingdom
Duration: 2015 Oct 292015 Oct 30

Publication series

NameProceedings of the European conference on e-learning
ISSN (Print)2048-8637


Conference14th European Conference on e-Learning
Abbreviated titleECEL 2015
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Educational Sciences

Free keywords

  • flipped classroom
  • active learning spaces


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