Physical Environment: Encouraging Collaboration and Learning

Physical Environment: Encouraging Collaboration and Learning


Research has identified how some key features of physical spaces can impact both how

teach and how students learn [1–4]. The SPIN-UP report [5] identified the importance for thriving physics departments of common spaces for students and physical layouts that support faculty-student interactions.

  1. D. C. Brooks, “Space and consequences: The impact of different formal learning spaces on instructor and student behavior,” Journal of Learning Spaces 2(2) (2012).
  2. E. L. Park and B. K. Choi, “Transformation of classroom spaces: Traditional versus active learning classroom in colleges,” Higher Education 68(5), 749–771 (2014).
  3. M. L. Vercellotti, “Do interactive learning spaces increase student achievement? A comparison of classroom context,” Active Learning in Higher Education 19(3), 197–210 (2018).
  4. A. V. Knaub, K. T. Foote, C. Henderson, M. Dancy, and R. J. Beichner, “Get a room: the role of classroom space in sustained implementation of studio style instruction,” International Journal of STEM Education 3(1), 1 (2016).
  5. R. C. Hilborn, R. H. Howes, and K. S. Krane (editors), “Strategic Programs for Innovations in Undergraduate Physics: Project Report” (SPIN-UP report), American Association of Physics Teachers (2003).


Resources within the EP3 Guide

External Resources

  • J. L. Narum (editor), A Guide: Planning for Assessing 21st Century Spaces for 21st Century Learners, Learning Spaces Collaboratory (2013): A report from the Learning Spaces Collaboratory, a community of academics and architects focusing on the future of learning spaces. Includes case studies of space renovations at a variety of institutions on pages 31–67.
  • SCALE-UP (Student-Centered Active Learning Environment with Upside-down Pedagogies): An approach to creating active learning environments using rooms with round tables to encourage student interaction. Includes links to many resources on how to implement SCALE-UP effectively.
  • S. Cheryan, S. A. Ziegler, V. C. Plaut, and A. N. Meltzoff, “Designing Classrooms to Maximize Student Achievement,” Policy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences 1(1), 4–12 (2014).
  • S. Land and D. Jonassen (editors), Theoretical Foundations of Learning Environments, Routledge (2012).
  • A. Taylor, Linking Architecture and Education: Sustainable Design for Learning Environments, University of New Mexico Press (2008).