Evaluating the Impact of a Purposefully-Designed Active Learning Space on Student Outcomes and Behaviours in an Undergraduate Architecture Course

Document Type

Book Section

Publication Title

Thirty Years of Learning Environments: Looking Back and Looking Forward

Publication Date



Architects say ‘space matters’. Neurobiologists know that an enriched environment stimulates new synaptic networks between neurons leading to improved learning. And educators emphasise how variables can rarely be controlled in the messiness of teaching and learning environments. By blending these three different but complementary paradigms together as we did in this research, we produced a one-of-a-kind study that makes a unique contribution across several disciplinary fields. Our pilot study took place over two semesters in 2014 at Morgan State University, a Historically Black College/University (HBCU) in Baltimore, Maryland, USA, in an architecture course called Design and Human Behavior. This chapter describes the quasi-experimental study in which we investigated the link between an enriched classroom design created to promote active learning and improved student outcomes. We define active earning as any instructional method that engages students in the learning process (Prince, 2004). During active learning, higher-order/critical thinking, discussions and activities are the mainstay (Freeman et al., 2014). Students frequently work in collaborative groups, and are not merely passive recipients of information – which is often the case in a teacher-centred environment.


978-90-04-38770-6 978-90-04-38772-0





Comments/Extra Notes

Additional authors: Akers, Mary Anne; Determan, Jim; Lewter, LaKeisha; Williams, Isaac