How Active Learning Influences Classroom Design

The design of the classrooms is made, generally, based on the educational learning proposals that are made over time. In this sense, for many years the use of individual desks or tables has prevailed in schools, as a consequence of the greater influence of passive learning in all school programs. Passive learning is one that is related to activities such as reading books, listening to the teacher and taking notes , paying attention to schemes and diagrams that can be shown on graphs or blackboards, endless theoretical lessons … etc.


aprendizaje pasivo


But there is another type of learning, called active learning , that is increasingly present in schools and that prevails in another way of teaching and working in the classroom. And it is in this line that the twentieth-century American pedagogue Edgar Dale worked , who was able to demonstrate thanks to his famous learning cone , that with passive learning techniques, in reality, students could not remember more than 50% of what was learned after 10 days, so a paradigm shift was very necessary and urgent.

But it is not only a question of a change in programs or ways of teaching, since the implementation of active learning also requires that the classrooms be designed accordingly, since until now they were designed in another sense in which it was necessary that the student always remained seated, each one at his desk, among other things. And so that you can be clear about all this of active learning and the design of the classrooms that it requires , in this article we will review the techniques that are typical of active learning and the recommendations that exist regarding the design of classrooms to favor this kind of learning.


Active learning

Active learning seeks that the student is the protagonist of their own learning, and this is done by increasing their degree of involvement in the learning process itself. According to Edgar Dale, students learn more by analyzing, designing, creating and evaluating than with other types of tactics. Activities such as participating in a debate, designing a collaborative work proposal, simulating real experiences, designing presentations or having practices, are all activities that promote active learning. These types of ways of working and teaching strategies make it possible for students to retain what they have learned up to 90% more than with passive learning, and that it can also be maintained longer over time.

How to design classrooms that promote active learning?

Classrooms that favor passive learning must change to make way for these new learning methods. Some ideas to apply active learning in the classroom would be the following:


  • Furniture solutions that promote teamwork such as tables for groups. Measures can be implemented within the classroom that allow people to meet with individual tables or desks. Let us remember that many times it is necessary to use these individual tables to promote reflection, individual and silent work, so it is not necessary to eliminate them or do without them either.


  • Teach students to use the Smartphone and / or the Tablet to consult and contrast information in the classroom. Also teach students to identify reliable sources and to take notes with this technology. The classrooms must have enough electrical outlets to assist all students in this regard.




  • Create spaces outside the classroom that encourage students to work as a team. Spaces in patios, gardens, laboratories and many more.


  • Provide resources that allow visual work such as blackboards, panels, projectors and screens.


  • Finally, the observation by the teacher and the demands of the students will also contribute, in addition to all the above, to the design of a classroom that encourages active learning. A classroom more designed for this 21st century, full of technology and a desire to innovate.


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