Why Active Learning?

Active Learning is a process in which students are required to synthesize and apply their knowledge rather than just memorize. It requires doing rather than observing and can range in scope from small learning activities to the format for the entire class. Active learning practices can be utilized in any classroom setting, but are enhanced through the implementation of active learning classrooms (ALCs). Providing spaces and training to facilitate large-scale, quality active learning in STEM gateway courses at the University of Wyoming is essential.


Active Learning Pedagogies, when practiced effectively, have shown outcomes that include decreased failure rates and increases in:

  • academic success, understanding, and retention
  • student engagement
  • motivation to learn
  • science professional skill
  • interaction and esteem
  • long-term achievement
  • inclusion and diversity
  • global citizenry

Learn more about Active Learning Outcomes


A transformative element of the Science Initiative is the construction of large Active Learning Classrooms (ALCs) for core science courses in biology, chemistry, and physics. Intended to complement the new laboratory instructional spaces in the Enzi STEM building, these active learning classrooms will replace the larger theater-style lecture halls with single-level layouts that promote collaborative work among students and instructors during highly interactive and engaging "lecture" sessions.

ALCs are spaces that are student centered, interactive and collaborative, and flexible. They generally feature pods for student group work, writing boards all around the classroom, and a podium that is often centrally located. Using an ALC provides accommodations for different learning styles, reinforcement of concepts and material, practice for collaboration, more immediate feedback, a sense of community within the classroom, and an increase in pass rates. There are currently 5 small-scale ALCs on campus located in the new Enzi STEM building, however none of them are large scale classrooms. The new Science Initiative building houses 1 large ALC, accommodating 200 students. Remodeling work within the Physical Sciences building has also been finished to create an ALC with space for 200 students.

empty propeller tables schematic of 200 person AL classroom students around ALC propeller table


LAMP is a comprehensive, sustained mentoring and professional development program for STEM educators with an emphasis on how to best adopt active learning strategies in large-scale active learning classrooms at UW. The program includes a competitive fellowship program for faculty and graduate students, on-line resources and training materials, and video tutorials. 

Learn more about LAMP

Contact Us

UW Science Initiative

SIB Rm 2030

Department 4325, 1000 E. University

Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: 307-766-4415

Email: SI@uwyo.edu
UW Top-Tier Science Initiative logo