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Furniture configurations in an active learning classroom make further differences in student outcomes

Orcun Kepez (OKDW: Orcun Kepez Design Workshop, Istanbul, Turkey)
Selin Üst (Department of Interior Architecture and Environmental Design, Ozyegin University, Istanbul, Turkey)


ISSN: 2631-6862

Article publication date: 14 December 2022




The aim of this study is to understand the effect of class configurations in an active learning classroom (ALC) on students' self-perception of experiences and learning outcomes, namely participation, performance, motivation and creativity.


A self-administered survey (N = 131) was conducted in seven classes from the varied disciplines of communication, interior design and architecture. During the first half of the semester, all selected courses were conducted in traditional classrooms, whereas those in the second half were conducted in an ALC. ALC was designed to be used with several furniture configurations which could be easily set up by members of the learning community themselves. The survey was conducted at the end of semester before final exams, when students have a clear idea of the experiences in both the traditional and the new (ALC) classrooms, having spent equal time in each of these learning environments.


The main finding of the study is that students were eager to have future classes in the ALC rather than in traditional settings since the students experienced better learning outcomes in the ALC. During the second half of the semester, students who were in classes conducted following active learning (AL) pedagogies, with its supportive spatial configurations, were more aware of the learning outcomes facilitated by the physical environment. Further, the authors found that the increase in the number of furniture configurations has a statistically significant positive impact on learning outcomes.


AL pedagogy is often studied as a way of teaching and rarely with its associated classroom environments. In most of the existing studies, the configuration of furniture has often been overlooked within an AL environment by a learning community. This study fills the gap in emphasising the spatial aspects of the ALC by focusing on the specific pedagogy being followed.



The authors would like to thank the Research Assistant Buse Rodoplu for her endless energy and support through this research, Statistical Consultant Petek Aydemir for her help and attention to detail and all instructors and students who volunteered to take part in this study. The authors would like to extend gratitude to Steelcase Education for the support and excellent assistance throughout this research project. Finally, the authors would like to thank the institution where the study was conducted and also the anonymous reviewers for the invaluable comments, which helped the authors to improve this work to its present form.

Funding: The active learning centre was established by grants received from Steelcase Education and PolyVision (Internal Grant Numbers of 2015-DK-05 and 2015-AP-04 respectively).


Kepez, O. and Üst, S. (2022), "Furniture configurations in an active learning classroom make further differences in student outcomes", Archnet-IJAR, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.



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