Room for improvement: An analysis of active learning classrooms

Konnor Brennan, Debra Lynn Linton

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review


Historically, most university science classes have been taught via direct instruction in traditional lecture halls. Recently, many universities have built active learning classrooms (SCALE-UP) to help facilitate active learning activities. There have been several studies on active learning classrooms and their outcomes have yielded mixed results. One aspect that remains unclear is whether the benefits from active learning classrooms are just the results of using active leaning techniques, and not the classroom itself. These new classrooms can cost millions of dollars, and with mixed results, questions as to whether this money is being well spent have arisen. This study uses a quasi-experimental design to analyze two sections of an introductory biology course for preservice K-8 teachers (n=144). One section was held in an active learning classroom, the other in a traditional lecture hall, while keeping all pedagogical procedures the same. Results from a nonmetric multidimensional scaling and multi-response permutation procedure suggest that students in the active learning classroom outperform students in the traditional lecture hall on summative assessments linked to exams. In addition, survey results suggest students find the active learning classroom more favorable in several ways, most notably the ease of access to their group members during group activities. With these results our research team suggests that the cost of building active learning classrooms is justified.
Original languageEnglish
StatePublished - Jul 2017
EventSociety for the Advancement of Biology Education Research - Minneapolis, MN
Duration: Jul 1 2017Jul 31 2017


ConferenceSociety for the Advancement of Biology Education Research


Dive into the research topics of 'Room for improvement: An analysis of active learning classrooms'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this