Maximizing Learning within Active Learning Studio Classrooms

Afternoon Mini Workshop


Aurora Pun, University of New Mexico-Main Campus
Gary Smith, University of New Mexico-Main Campus

Specially designed active-learning classrooms (aka, SCALE-UP, TILE, TEAL, Learning Studios) are increasingly popular on US campuses, especially for STEM instruction. The workshop integrates the leaders' experiences teaching in learning studios with research in social and cognitive aspects of learning. Conducted in a learning studio classroom, the workshop program will guide participants to see how to take advantage of their learning spaces to engage and motivate students. Participants will experience pedagogy appropriate for this environment as they apply evidence-based and research-informed practices of active and social learning, self-assess the quality classroom-learning activities to generate desired levels of thinking and learning, and relate active-learning strategies to the physical environments where they teach.


  • Identify through experience the instructional strategies that maximize alignment of learning to the physical environment of the learning studio
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of active-learning practices through application of research on memory encoding, consolidation, and retrieval
  • Evaluate the quality of classroom-learning activities to generate desired levels of thinking and learning using the ICAP framework
  • Create and maintain learning teams informed by research in group dynamics


1:30 Welcome

1:40 Introducing the learning studio classroom. What do teachers do here? What do learners do here? Demonstration of a whiteboard activity with a gallery walk in the Learning Studio

1:55 Why does active learning work? Demonstration of the interactive lecture in the Learning Studio

2:10 Evaluating an active-learning example. Demonstration of small-group interactivity in the Learning Studio

2:20 The value of learning in teams. Demonstration of individual/group assessment as a learning device in the Learning Studio

2:35 Break

2:45 Sharing experiences of learning-team function: The good, the bad, the ugly. Demonstration of the huddle board for collecting ideas in the Learning Studio

2:55 Making and maintaining learning teams. Demonstration of the jigsaw method in the Learning Studio

3:35 Not all active learning is equal: Using the ICAP framework to assess instructional design. Demonstration of integration of active-learning strategies in the Learning Studio

3:50 Evaluation and reflection: Where Will I Start?

4:00 Adjourn


A Guide to Teaching in the Active Learning Classroom (Stylus 2016)

"Scratch cards" for group assessment

Worried about student resistance? Check out these resources:

First Day Questions for the Learner-Centered Classroom

Student Resistance to Active Learning? Connect Your Approach to What Learners Value