It's not about seat time: Blending, flipping, and efficiency in active learning classrooms

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This study examines the effect of reducing the seat time of a large lecture chemistry class by two-thirds and conducting it in an active learning classroom rather than a traditional amphitheater. To account for the reduced lecture, didactic content was recorded and posted online for viewing outside of the classroom. A second experimental section, also in a blended and flipped format, was examined the following semester as a replication. To measure student subject-matter learning, we used a standardized multiple-choice exam, and to measure student perceptions of the classroom, we used a validated survey instrument. Our findings demonstrated that in an active learning classroom, student faculty contact could be reduced by two-thirds and students achieved learning outcomes that were at least as good, and in one comparison significantly better than, those in a traditional classroom. Concurrently, student perceptions of the learning environment were improved. This suggests that pedagogically speaking, active learning classrooms, though they seat fewer students per square foot, are actually a more efficient use of physical space.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)227-236
Number of pages10
JournalComputers and Education
StatePublished - Sep 2014


  • Active learning
  • Blended learning
  • Engagement
  • Flipped classroom
  • Learning spaces


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