The impact of classroom design on collaborative learning

Michael Bulmer, Valda Miller, Helen Byers, David Milne, Mia O’Brien


This paper discusses a trial of a recently opened Collaborative Learning Centre at the University of Queensland. The aim of the trial was to see how the space could be used with science students in a first-year introductory statistics course, and what kinds of collaborations the space might encourage. The Centre has a number of spaces designed for collaborative learning, but only one of these was completed at the time of the trial. This space was the largest, accommodating around 100 students in five ‘pods’, each with a main computer and data projector as well as six to eight other computers. It is clear that the space is not just a computer laboratory, with computers to support collaboration rather than being the focus. The trial attempted to use a learning task that would meet such characteristics of the space.

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