Education 129

Active Learning Classrooms (ALCs)

Infrastructure to help students get the most out of their learning experience.

At McGill, there are...

17 Active Learning Classrooms
11 buildings with ALCs
650+ total seats in ALCs


What are Active Learning Classrooms?

Active Learning Classrooms are spaces that are designed to support teaching and learning in an atmosphere conducive to engaging students actively in their own learning.

Active Learning Classrooms:

  • Promote not only whole-class, but also group and one-to-one interactions;
  • Allow students to work in a collaborative, supportive, and enriched environment;
  • Allow students to engage with learning materials and each other; and
  • Foster effective learning.


If you are interested in teaching in an Active Learning Classroom, please contact your local departmental administration.


Active Learning Classrooms: Documentary videos

Teaching and Learning experiences in Active Learning Classrooms at McGill: Highlights

This video highlights how four McGill instructors in different disciplines have used the features of the ALC to engage students and promote active and collaborative learning.

The following four videos provide a more in-depth look into the four courses featured in the video above.

Everyone is engaged!

Summary: Lynda Fraser and students discuss the impact of room layout on collaboration and student engagement.

  • Instructor: Lynda Fraser
  • Faculty: Centre for Continuing Education
  • Course: Behaviour in Organizations (CORG 551)
  • Room: Education 627

Learning through inquiry and collaboration

Summary: Carolyn Samuel and students comment on fostering classroom inquiry through the immediate access to technology and the use of writable walls to promote active learning.

  • Instructor: Carolyn Samuel
  • Faculty: Faculty of Arts
  • Course: Fundamentals of Academic Writing (ESLN 640)
  • Room: Education 627

Sharing responsibility for learning

Summary: Tina Piper and students describe students’ increased responsibility for their learning in an active learning environment, as well as the multiple opportunities for students to receive feedback during the learning process.

  • Instructor: Tina Piper
  • Faculty: Faculty of Law
  • Course: Common Law Property (PRV4 144)
  • Room: Education 627

Learning through experience

Summary: Nigel Roulet and students describe how screen sharing facilitates collaborative learning and inquiry.

  • Instructor: Nigel Roulet
  • Faculty: Faculty of Science
  • Course: Modelling Environmental Systems (GEOG 501)
  • Room: Burnside 511


ALCs report

In 2010, TLS released a report on the context and creation of Active Learning Classrooms. You can read the report here.

McGill University is on land which has served and continues to serve as a site of meeting and exchange amongst Indigenous peoples, including the Haudenosaunee and Anishinabeg nations. Teaching and Learning Services acknowledges and thanks the diverse Indigenous peoples whose footsteps mark this territory on which peoples of the world now gather. This land acknowledgement is shared as a starting point to provide context for further learning and action.

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