Tips for the layout of flexible learning spaces

Movable furniture and other equipment can be configured for multiple uses in CAEN’s flexible learning spaces and classrooms. An advantage is having a room that is able to be used for lecture-style teaching, student group collaborative work, or a course discussion. Wall-mounted monitors and movable whiteboards in the rooms can also aid the student learning experience.

The recommendations below are based on interviews with College of Engineering instructors, and observations of courses utilizing flexible learning spaces.

Movable Tables and Chairs

Instructors have the opportunity to use several different layouts in flexible classrooms, and depending on their teaching needs, they are encouraged to think about the different ways the furniture can be used. For example, small group layouts allow instructors to interact directly with students, particularly during collaborative group work, as may be done in design courses. It is also important to set classroom norms at the beginning of each term, and explain the room layout(s) you will use, so students know how to arrange the furniture. Creating an image or slide, and displaying it at the beginning of the class, will aid the students in arranging the furniture to conserve class time (see our example PowerPoint template).

Example Furniture Layouts

Chrysler 133:

GFL 224:

Wall-mounted Monitors and Movable Whiteboards

Monitors around the periphery of a classroom can be connected-to in a few ways. For example, they can be used by instructors to project slides and other class content to all displays in the room, allowing students to see the material even if their back is to the instructor or the main projection screen. Students may also connect a laptop to individual monitors for collaborative work, allowing instructors to easily view and evaluate a group’s progress. Refer to our main Flexible Learning Spaces page for instructions on connecting to the monitors and changing the display settings.

Each flexible classroom also contains movable whiteboards for students to use during collaborative group work. Similar to the monitors, these can allow faculty to see student work, and offer hands-on instruction as needed.

Chrysler 133 (Lecture – Double tables) Layout