Traditional teaching modes are engaged with teachers delivering knowledge to students with minimum feedback. Teaching is conducted in lecture theaters and classrooms, which are sometimes designed with minimum flexibility for university education. However, the rapid development of information and communication technologies has altered the teaching pedagogy from traditionally teacher-centered to more collaborative learning between teachers and students. Learning spaces should be designed to be interactive and collaborative with suitable physical movement and social engagement among teachers and students. This paper aims to examine the relationships between modern technology and pedagogical shift, and to identify and discuss the essential design principles for effective active learning through built pedagogy. A recent renovation project of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University in converting conventional classrooms and lecture theaters to active learning spaces was adopted as a case study to illustrate and validate the design principles and their actual implementation. Feedback and responses from 410 end-user students on the impact of the renovated classrooms and lecture theaters on teaching and learning effectiveness were gleaned through empirical survey questionnaires dispatched face-to-face to students after attending classes in the renovated classrooms and lecture theaters. The results of factor analysis indicated that the 15 variables of key design criteria for active learning spaces were consolidated under six underlying clustered factor groups: (1) Versatility of learning space; (2) interior design of learning environment; (3) modern information technology / audio and video (IT/AV) technologies; (4) interior lighting; (5) comfortable furniture and acoustic design; and (6) interior temperature. The survey findings can serve as good references and useful insights for architects in designing new learning spaces and facilities that assist active and collaborative learning for university students in future.
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