Measuring the ROI of Active Learning Environments

11:00 AM – 12:30 PM


As the benefits of active learning pedagogy become evident, traditional classrooms are less frequent– but what is the right mix of spaces, capacity, and utilization rates that deliver high ROI for new learning space initiatives? In this session, Kristen Ambrose explores how active learning classrooms across several institutions deliver results with findings from classroom design survey and post-occupancy use evaluations. She summarizes best practices to support student engagement in general education courses, demonstrates the ROI, performance, utilization, and learning outcomes assessment through student and faculty surveys, and establishes criteria to measure active learning effectiveness.

#1: Prioritize space attributes and performance criteria to be considered when designing a collaborative learning environment, both formal and informal.
#2: Provide funding and budget justification why active learning spaces are more square feet per student than state guidelines with student surveys and learning outcomes assessement data.
#3: Measure the utilization of flexible spaces and furniture selections that cater to diverse curricula, especially STEM.
#4: Implement research methods, both survey and environmental monitoring to collect student and faculty feedback in order to evaluate the learning environment effectiveness.

Assessment of the School Facility: The ability to objectively evaluate a learning environment post-occupancy and utilize the data to improve future projects. Implements a plan for educational commissioning that provides guidance on how to use and maximize the learning environment to meet the foundational vision in the planning phase.

Educational Facility Pre-Design Planning: Manages a master planning process that combines educational planning, facilities assessment and utilization, demographic research, capital planning and educational specifications with a community-based vision to establish a plan for learning environments. This includes the ability to translate existing or aspirational instructional models to specific programming and spatial relationships.       

Kristen Ambrose, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, Principal, Director of Research and Development, RATIO
Kristen is a registered architect with over 15 years of experience focused in planning, programming, and concept design to guide design decisions that support curricular objectives, pedagogical goals, as well as operational efficiencies for institutions of higher education. Prior to joining RATIO as the Director of Research and Development, Kristen worked for nationally recognized architecture and planning practice, Ayers Saint Gross and founded her own consulting firm specializing in the strategic implementation of architectural design and building information modeling or BIM for learning environments. Kristen holds a Bachelor of Architecutre degree from Syracuse University. A critical aspect of Kristen’s design research focuses on pre- and post-occupancy evaluations to understand effectiveness across the life cycle. As an educator with over 10 years of teaching experience in design disciplines, she advances evidence-based design excellence with emphasis on occupant well-being. Kristen implements data visualization tools to graphically communicate and analyze the validity of how existing spaces are performing, which informs future design decisions. Working across the continuum of practicing higher education and educating practice, Kristen provides invaluable insight into the design of environments that enable education clients to support the holistic student experience.

Helia Taheri, PhD Student, North Carolina State University
Helia is a PhD candidate at NC State, focused on Architecture and Environmental Design. She received a Bachelor of Architecture Engineering and a Master of Architecture from the University of Tehran in Iran. She is studying the relationship between occupant behaviors at the façade and occupant satisfaction and how those behaviors impact energy efficiency.

LearningSCAPES Virtual Conference: Passport to Learning



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