Learning Space Design for the Ethnically Diverse Undergraduate Classroom

Apr 27, 2015

This study examines the extent to which the design of the physical learning space contributes to enhanced learning outcomes in an undergraduate, active learning class of ethnically diverse students. The study presents findings of data collected from two classrooms, where the course content, instructor, pedagogy and diverse student demographic characteristics are held constant, but the physical design of each space varies – one is a traditional classroom and the other is an active learning, technology-enhanced classroom.

The results of this pilot project show that a diverse student group has produced far improved learning outcomes in the active learning classroom when compared to the traditional classroom. The students’ social behavior, their own perceptions, and cognitive measures all indicate the physical design of active learning classrooms contributes in mitigating their inhibitions, promoting engagement, and producing enhanced learning outcomes. The results can inform the architectural design of learning spaces to better accommodate the future diverse student classroom.

James Determan, FAIA (Hord Coplan Macht)
Mary Anne Akers (Morgan State University)
Isaac Williams, AIA (Morgan State University)
Christine Hohmann (Morgan State University)
Catherine Martin-Dunlop (Morgan State University)
Published & professionally reviewed by: 
The American Institute of Architects

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