Higher Education

, Volume 68, Issue 5, pp 749–771 | Cite as

Transformation of classroom spaces: traditional versus active learning classroom in colleges

  • Elisa L. ParkEmail author
  • Bo Keum Choi


Educational environment influences students’ learning attitudes, and the classroom conveys the educational philosophy. The traditional college classroom design is based on the educational space that first appeared in medieval universities. Since then classrooms have not changed except in their size. In an attempt to develop a different perspective of educational environment, a new design of classroom, the active learning classroom (ALC), was established at SoongSil University in Korea. Two questionnaire surveys were conducted for diagnosing the educational effects of students’ learning in the ALC and comparing the results with those obtained regarding the traditional classroom. The result proved the existence of a ‘golden zone’ and a ‘shadow zone’ in the traditional classroom, which discriminate students’ learning experiences depending on seating positions. On the contrary, the ALC did not produce such positional discrimination. Students perceived the ALC environment as more inspirational, especially in regards to active class participation. Students with more emphasis on academic achievement showed greater tendency to share information and to create new ideas in the ALC. However, in the traditional classroom setting, only students with high GPAs were more motivated to learn while the gap in learning attitudes was offset in the ALC setting. In-depth discussions about research findings were undertaken and four suggestions were provided in support of school administrators and relevant institutional personnel, faculty members, and researchers for future utilization of the ALC.


Classroom design Active learning classroom Classroom effect Higher education 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Baird University CollegeSoongSil UniversitySeoulKorea
  2. 2.Institute for Whole Person EducationSogang UniversitySeoulKorea

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