Angels in the architecture - and devils in the detail: how the learning space impacts on teaching and learning


  • Jane Challinor Nottingham Trent University



digital skills, eLearning, learning technology, employability, collaborative learning, Scale Up


An innovative classroom design pioneered in the US, which aims to facilitate greater student engagement, has been piloted in a UK University for the first time.  This case study reflects on some of the advantages and the challenges of this technology rich learning space and considers its impact on curriculum design in a module which aims to develop academic, research and digital skills in first year students on an undergraduate Health and Social Care course.

Author Biography

Jane Challinor, Nottingham Trent University

Jane Challinor is a Principal Lecturer and Subject Lead in Health and Social Care at Nottingham Trent University and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Her background is in NHS leadership, counselling and project management, but her current research centres on technology enhanced learning and digital skills.


Arkoudis, S.; Yu, X.; Baik, C.; Borland, H.; Chang,S. ;

Lang,I.; Lang,J.; Pearce, A.; Watty,K.; (2010) Finding Common Ground: enhancing interaction between domestic and international students Report of project supported by the Australian Learning and Teaching Council Ltd, an initiative of the Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations [online] Available at accessed 27 July 2014

Beichner, R.J. (2006) North Carolina State University: Scale Up in Oblinger, D.G.(ed) Learning Spaces, Educause [online] Available at: Accessed 6/9/2014

Beichner, R. J 2008. The SCALE-UP Project: A Student-Centered, Active Learning Environment for Undergraduate Programs. National Academy of Sciences white paper [online] available at: Accessed 26/7/2014

Beichner, R.J.; History and Evolution of Active Learning Spaces in New Directions for Teaching and Learning Volume 2014, Issue 137 Spring 2014 pp 9-16 available at Accessed 5/9/2014

Binkley, M.; Erstad, O.; Herman,J.; Raizen,S.; Ripley, M.; Miller-Ricci, M.; Rumble, M. 2011, Defining Twenty-First Century Skills in Griffin,P.; McCaw, B.; and Care,E.; (Eds)Teaching and Assessing 21st Century Skills, Springer, Melbourne

Boud, D.; Cohen,R.;Sampson, J.; 1999 Peer Learning and Assessment in Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, Vol. 24, No. 4, 413 available at Accessed 4/9/2104

Brooks, C.; 2012 Space and Consequences: The Impact of Different Formal Learning Spaces on Instructor and Student Behavior in Journal of Learning Spaces Volume 1, Number 2 University of Minnesota [online] available at Accessed 6/9/2014

Collins, N.; Goyder, J.; 2008, Speed Dating: a Process of Forming Undergraduate Student Groups in ECulture Vol.1 [online] available at Accessed 6/9/2014

Johnson, David W.;1991, Cooperative Learning: Increasing College Faculty Instructional Productivity. ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Report No. 4, available at Accessed 5/9/ 2014

Lage, M. J.; Platt, G. J.; Treglia, M.; 2000 Inverting the Classroom: A Gateway to Creating an Inclusive Learning Environment in The Journal of Economic Education, Vol. 31, No. 1 (Winter, 2000), pp. 30-43 available at:; Accessed 26/7/2014

Puentedura, R.R.; 2014 SAMR and Curriculum Design, Ruben R. Puentedura's Weblog [blog] August 29 available at ( ) accessed 6/9/2014

University of Minnesota (2011) Room Issues in Active learning Classrooms [online] available at Accessed 6/9/2014

Van Horne,S.; Murniati,C.; Gaffney,J.D.H.; Jesse,M.; 2012 Promoting Active Learning in Technology-Infused TILE Classrooms at the University of Iowa in Journal of Learning Spaces Volume 1, Number 2 accessed 26/7/2014