Active Learning

Active learning is when students engage in activities such as a small group discussion, problem solving discussion, role playing, or hands-on activity to promote higher levels of cognitive learning.Research has shown that student-centered active learning produces significantly greater learning outcomes than traditional teacher-centered lectures. 

The Instructional Design and Development (IDD) team assists faculty with best practices and incorporating active learning strategies into teaching. Instructional Designers collaborate with instructors to learn about their course and learning outcomes, then recommend ways to implement active learning into any classroom style or online space. 


"a method of learning in which students are actively or experientially involved in the learning process and where there are different levels of active learning, depending on student involvement." (Bonwell & Eison 1991)

Reach out to the IDD Team to schedule a consultation.  The IDD team has developed a glance at classroom types on campus and what strategies can be used in each classroom type. We have divided those classrooms into four categories. Each classroom type allows certain active learning strategies to be applied for best outcomes. The pyramid chart below shows various active learning activities that can be effective in classroom types from no technology, to low technology, to TEAL classroom.

RoomDesignation Pyramid

This image illustrates four UNH classroom types divieded into categories :

  • Lecture 
  • Suitable to Active learning 
  • Active Learning 
  • Technology-Enabled Learning (TEAL)

Each classroom type promotes active learning techniques that can be applied to teaching strategies. 

The pyramid chart shows varied active learning activities that can be effective in classroom types, from no technology --> to low technology --> to TEAL classroom.

UNH Active Learning Classroom Types

All the classrooms styles can be organized into five classroom types from basic lecture hall to technology enhanced classrooms.  Active learning can be implemented into any classroom setting with proper planning and preparation. Click each classroom type below for a full description, equipment list and images of each classroom.


In this type of classroom, furniture is not easily moveable, which restricts easy formation of groups and sharing of work. 

Suitable for Active Learning   

In this type of classroom, furniture mobility/design and room layout can accommodate working groups of 2-4 people with advanced planning and some effort, allowing all group participants to see each other and share work. Whiteboard space may be limited.

Active Learning 

In this type of classroom, furniture mobility can accommodate working groups of varied size with ease, allowing all group participants to easily interact with each other and have access to a shared workspace (digital or analog). 

Technology-Enabled Active Learning (TEAL)  

In this type of classroom, student seating facilitates flexible group arrangements on the fly, and students have easy access to share work within and across groups with technology, and within groups with access to whiteboard space. 

Online / Hybrid

In this type of collaborative space, students have easy access to share work and interact with each other through technology.for decoration only


Active Learning Strategies

For information on instructional approaches and active learning activities that are best suited for a specific classroom type, please visit the IDD Active Learning Strategies webpage.