Active learning experts on the value of keeping up with trends worldwide

Why should U.S. colleges and universities follow global trends in active classrooms? What is the biggest lesson administrators can learn?

“U.S. institutions can certainly benefit from the active learning environment explorations conducted worldwide. Cutting-edge research is being done in Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Institutions here in the U.S. should follow how researchers in those countries are measuring the effectiveness of learning spaces and diving deeper into educator mindset and preparedness for teaching in innovative environments. If we build on these studies, we can help our students achieve more.”

—Andrew Kim, research practice leader, Steelcase Education

Link to main story: World of active learning in higher ed

“Education is becoming increasingly globalized, as it should be. With the use of new, innovative technology, an instructor in the U.S. could be lecturing in a classroom while students on the other side of the world watch and engage in real time with live video. The nature of education is to seek the best possible solutions, and Mediasite is seeing institutions abroad that are pushing the boundaries of academic video to teach and train.”

—Rob Lipps, executive vice president, Sonic Foundry

“In increasingly international markets facing constant disruption, the new essential student competencies are flexibility, adaptivity and collaboration. Research productivity in Asia has skyrocketed, while European universities continue to focus on better connecting their R&D to private sector and government needs. To maintain leadership, America’s higher education institutions can and must learn from their peers abroad regarding instructional innovation, improved research practices, and connecting education to employability.” 

—Gus Schmedlen, vice president of worldwide education, HP

“We regularly encounter institutions abroad experimenting with teaching curricula—driving changes that affect entire academic departments and career structures—which leads to rethinking their campus spaces. One of the most significant lessons drawn from international work is to think beyond the classroom as an independent unit, but as an entire suite of related spaces. Clusters of classrooms, student advising space, breakout and group study rooms, makerspaces, and debate forums, together, become part of the active teaching experience. This shift extends the traditional classroom, and it’s an evolution that has already begun to cross over into our U.S. work.”
—Pablo Savid-Buteler, managing principal, Sasaki

“When it comes to preparing college students for a transition into the workforce and having a successful career, it is critical that students learn to collaborate to solve everyday problems. In the real world, coworkers collaborate and interact not only within offices, but across oceans. By taking a cue from international institutions, and learning from real-world work scenarios, U.S. colleges and universities would serve their students well by preparing them to collaborate, storyboard and brainstorm ideas in real-world settings.”

— Sarah Kearns, commercial marketing director, ViewSonic

“As we are now living in a global and interconnected marketplace, it is imperative that U.S.-based colleges and universities stay abreast of classroom and learning trends around the world and leverage best practices in educating the next generation to be successful.”

—Shaun Robinson, vice president, customer solutions, HARMAN Professional Solutions

“No one country has a monopoly on good ideas. There are new ideas being trialled at a rapid rate at colleges and universities around the world. What is most important today is to learn from others, regardless of where they are located. Building on ideas quickly is the key to succeeding in a smaller, more competitive world. Make no mistake, higher education is competitive for the brains that will drive the economies of the future.”

—Nancy Knowlton, CEO, Nureva

Sherrie Negrea is an Ithaca, New York-based writer and a frequent contributor to UB.


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