Teaching and Learning Spaces

This section offers various research and practice-based resources relating to designing and teaching in a variety of classroom spaces whose layout, technology and furnishings foster effective learning.

Webpages and eBooks

  1. Designing spaces for effective learning case studies: Video case studies – 21st century learning and teaching (webpage). Five video case studies of innovative spaces for learning and teaching (released on CD-ROM at the JISC Conference 2007) Word document transcripts are also available. Designing spaces for effective learning case studieshttp://www.jisc.ac.uk/whatwedo/programmes/elearninginnovation/learningspacescasestudies.aspx.
  2. Learning Space Toolkit (webpage). Forged from a North Carolina State University Libraries partnership with strategic consultants brightspot strategy and AECOM, this website aims to share and promote an updated model for institutions to plan and support technology-rich informal learning spaces. Includes a roadmap to guide the process along with tools and techniques for assessing needs, understanding technology, describing spaces, planning and delivering support services, and more. http://learningspacetoolkit.org/.
  3. Learning Spaces (eBook) by D. G Oblinger (Ed). In addition to the e-book's core chapters on learning space design principles (chapters 1-13) , this site also offers case studies illustrating those principles (chapters 14-43), including links to examples of innovative learning spaces. Educause (2006). http://www.educause.edu/research-and-publications/books/learning-spaces.
  4. Project Kaleidoscope (PKAL) – Facilities (webpage). An informal alliance in the US that advocates for “what works” in building and sustaining undergraduate programs attractive to students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. (2011). PKAL Facilities. http://www.pkal.org/keywords/Facilities.cfm.
  5. SCALE-UP Website North Carolina State University’s Robert Beichner has been the driving force behind the design of these student-centered classrooms intentionally designed to increase collaboration and student-faculty interaction. This website provides background information as well as related resources from the “Publications” tab on the left side of the page. http://www.ncsu.edu/PER/scaleup.html.
  6. Special Issue: The Importance of Physical Space in Creating Supportive Learning Environments by N. V. N. Chism and  D. J Bickford (Eds.). This entire Special Issue focuses on the importance of physical space in creating dynamic learning environments that support a diverse and changing student body. New Directions for Teaching and Learning (2002). http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/tl.v2002:92/issuetoc.
  7. Using the PAIR-up Model to Evaluate Active Learning Spaces (webpage) by A. Whiteside, L. A. Jorn, A. H. Duin and J. S. Fitzgerald. This article shares the PAIR-up model (Partner, Assess, Integrate, Revisit) used by the University of Minnesota in the design, construction and evaluation of their first Active Learning Classrooms (ALCs). The ALC concept is described, with photos and descriptions of these classrooms. Summarized findings regarding students’ and instructors’ experiences in these spaces are provided. http://www.educause.edu/ero/article/using-pair-model-evaluate-active-learning-spaces.


  1. Technology-Enabled Active Learning (TEAL) (pdf) by Y Dori and J Belcher, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). This paper explores how Technology-Enabled Active Learning has affected student learning by examining undergraduate students’ understanding of electromagnetism concepts since TEAL implementation. The Journal of the Learning Sciences (2004). http://web.mit.edu/edtech/casestudies/pdf/teal1.pdf.
  2. Learning spaces for the 21st century: A review of the literature (pdf) by P. Temple. Reviews groundbreaking literature in the field, providing the grounding needed to facilitate the changing pedagogical practices intrinsic to supporting the diverse student body of today’s higher education system. The Higher Education Academy (2007). http://www.heacademy.ac.uk/assets/documents/teachingandresearch/Learning_spaces_v3.pdf.
  3. Perils and promises: University instructors’ integration of technology in classroom-based practices (pdf) by J. M. Brill and C. Galloway.  Examines instructors’ use of technology in a university classroom context, highlighting obstacles and benefits. Serves as a practical resource for guiding future instructional technology practices. British Journal of Educational Technology (2006). http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-8535.2006.00601.x/pdf.
  4. SCALE-UP Project (pdf) by R.J. Beichner, and J.M. Saul. Originating from NCSU and spreading to include SCALE-UP or SCALE-UP inspired classrooms 45+ colleges and universities world-wide. Project demonstrates how highly collaborative, hands-on, computer-rich, interactive learning environments for large-enrollment courses can improve student problem solving, increase conceptual understanding, improve attitudes, and drastically reduce failure rates (especially for women and minorities). Proceedings of the International School of Physics Enrico Fermi (2003). http://www.ncsu.edu/per/Articles/Varenna_SCALEUP_Paper.pdf.

McGill University is located on land which has long served as a site of meeting and exchange amongst Indigenous peoples, including the Haudenosaunee and Anishinabeg nations. McGill honours, recognizes and respects these nations as the traditional stewards of the lands and waters on which we meet today.