University of Oregon

Active Learning in Large Classrooms: Oxymoron or Opportunity?

A Public Presentation by Lennie Scott-Webber, PhD
Who Should Come: 
This event is open to the public.
Tuesday, September 16, 2014 - 10:00am - 11:45am
UO Libraries Room 41
1212 University of Oregon

Active learning in large classrooms – oxymoron or opportunity?

Active learning principles are grounded in cognitive neuroscience and learning research. What we know about how we learn has been documented for almost 100 years, perhaps starting with John Dewey’s 1916 treatise Democracy and education. ‘Brain science’ continues to inform us how the brain takes in information and cognitively maps it to make sense of the sensory noises it receives. Both research direction recognize and document we have to move to learn. Why don’t we allow it? Why do we basically ignore this huge body of research as educators? There is no one single answer. We could look at the historical ways universities were structured: British vs Germanic. We could look at business models supporting the industrial ages' gift of batch mode (assembly line) learning and a one-to-many economic driver. However, the net result has been a continuation of lecture hall design that clearly does not support active learning in large classroom situations. So, can we actually build a design and a new pedagogy addressing a one-to-many business model, to some degree, while incorporating true active learning principles? This presentation will share some preliminary work being done by the Steelcase Education research and design team we believe provides an opportunity to ‘have it all,’ or almost all! The presentation will share the research insights, design principles culminating in ideation thought starters for conversation and discussion. 


About Lennie Scott-Webber, PhD
Director Education Environments,
Steelcase Education Solutions Steelcase Inc. IIDA, NCIDQ #006774

As the Director of Education Environments for Steelcase Education Solutions, “Dr. Lennie” leads research, design and dissemination of knowledge for education at all levels and on a global platform. She is a former design practitioner, a professor of design education and chair of two design schools – one in the US and one in Canada. As an environment behaviorist her research centers on how the built environment impacts behavior in knowledge sharing scenarios relative to learners of all ages. Her belief is that research should inform design decisions. As a researcher, she has over 50 publications to her credit; was an Associate Editor for Planning for Higher Education Journal as published by the Society for College and University Planning; is a frequent key note and guest speaker at national and international forums. Her Bachelor of Arts is from the College of Fine Arts and the University of South Florida; a Masters of Science in Interior Design, a Minor in Gerontology and a PhD in Consumer Environments/Interior Design are from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee.