The library’s Active Learning Lab removes barriers to learning, and inspires both students and instructors to innovate.
Active learning refers to instruction models that place responsibility for learning on the learners by promoting active student participation and engagement.
At at the heart of the library’s vibrant second floor commons, the Active Learning Lab (ALL) transforms the student learning experience by encouraging collaboration, active learning, and open experimentation.
How Do Spaces Enable 21st Century Learning?
The Learning Spaces Collaboratory (LSC) has assembled compelling evidence that new learning spaces can help 21st century students become “creative risk takers, skilled as communicators, integrative learners, and resilient experimenters.”
Funded by the NSF and the Sloan Foundation, the LSC has published research and case studies that tell the story: new collaborative spaces can profoundly impact learning. They can also increase the number and quality of STEM majors, improve retention in STEM programs, dramatically increase undergraduate research, and feed student and faculty interest in interdisciplinary work.
“At their best, spaces can be transformational, enabling something interesting, important, and often unexpected to happen.”
(2013: A Guide: Planning for Assessing 21st Century Spaces for 21st Century Learners)
Active Learning Challenge
Traditional classrooms and computer labs have been designed for space efficiency and maximum seat count, packed with rows of chairs and view-blocking computer monitors facing one direction.
In such environments it is hard for faculty to effectively integrate project work, discussion, or group collaboration: Active learning spaces are in short supply and high demand.
Active Learning Lab Goals
Not just another classroom, ALL is an incubator—a continuously changing space, outside the University Scheduling pool, giving Cal Poly a place to explore how space designed for interaction can activate and enhance student learning. ALL is a testing ground—and its best features will be used as a model for redesigning other library labs. Over time, not only library labs, but more and more classroom spaces across the campus can reflect what we learn here about supporting engaged learning experiences.
Using the Active Learning Lab
The ALL is open for student and faculty use when not scheduled for library instructional courses. View the schedule for the ALL.