The Role of Classroom Design in Facilitating Student Engagement in Active Learning

Document Type


Journal/Book Title/Conference

30th annual National Environment and Recreation Research Symposium (NERR)


Annapolis, MD

Publication Date



Success in the field of recreation management requires a variety of 21st-century skills including the abilities to solve complex problems, think creatively, and collaborate with peers. Research suggests that instructor contribution through active learning pedagogy, incorporation of technology, and maximization of classroom design can foster effective student collaboration. Technology Enabled Active Learning (TEAL) classrooms represent the intersection of these three factors and should be ideal for eliciting student engagement, especially with regard to collaborative work. This quasi-experimental design study (n = 86) examined three factors of student engagement (Instructor Contribution, Personal Effort, and Value of Group Work) among students enrolled in two sections of a recreation programing course- one occurring in a TEAL classroom and the other in a traditional classroom. When controlling for GPA, student perceptions of the Value of Group Work were significantly higher among TEAL students. Moreover, when examining factors that explain TEAL student perceptions of the Value of Group Work, Personal Effort, Instructor Contribution, and physical position of the instructor in the modular room explained 70% of the variance in Value of Group Work. Our findings suggest that when used for their intended purpose of active learning, TEAL classrooms are viewed favorably by students and are a valuable tool for recreation education, especially for group collaboration and project-based learning.

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