According to the EDUCAUSE Center for Analysis and Research report, Higher Education’s Top 10 Strategic Technologies for 2017, active learning classrooms (ALCs) were the overall top technology for 2017. The report identifies the new technological investments that institutions of higher learning are currently planning and implementing. While still in experimental phases in many institutions, the report suggests that ALCs will be mainstream by 2022, emphasizing the importance of planning now to ensure colleges and universities are ready for the future trends of learning.
An engaging and highly collaborative environment, ALCs often include round or curved tables where students sit in groups while an instructor floats between them. The experience is augmented with interactive technology that also support a multitude of teaching and learning arrangements. BYOD capabilities allow students to share content on interactive whiteboards or displays. Central control from a computer or tablet provides the instructor the ability to monitor what is being shared as well as to distribute and annotate content. Web conferencing and cameras for lecture capture provide opportunities for remote learning and collaboration between multiple locations. The utilization of technology to facilitate learning not only enhances learning, but also prepares students for future careers, in addition to supporting a multitude of learning styles.
It’s clear that ALCs are on there way to becoming a top learning environment for higher education facilities and the advantages are evident. Planning for them should however be carefully considered to ensure they are used effectively once implemented.