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SCALE-UP: Student-Centred Active Learning Environment with Upside-down Pedagogies

Combining group activities, peer teaching, flipped learning and enquiry-based approaches, SCALE-UP offers an engaging alternative to traditional lectures.

SCALE-UP rooms feature circular tables, shared laptops and mirroring technology, to support student centred activities designed to foster enquiry-based collaboration. The SCALE-UP environment promotes collaborative learning opportunities via strategically assigned groups with assigned roles.

SCALE-UP has demonstrable benefits for student learning, including improvements in conceptual understanding, transferable skills development, engagement and satisfaction.

Originally developed by Prof. Robert Beichner to teach calculus at North Carolina State University, SCALE-UP is now used globally in over 375 organisations and a variety of disciplines.

Extensive evaluations of SCALE-UP at North Carolina found several benefits for learning, including enhanced problem-solving ability, increased conceptual understanding, and higher attendance, attainment and satisfaction. For further information, see NCSU .

For information about, and support for, SCALE-UP at NTU, click on the links below, email ntuscaleup, or contact CADQ Research and Development Team Leader Ellie Kennedy. 

HEFCE Catalyst project
Nottingham Trent University is leading one of 17 national collaborative projects in the HEFCE programme: Addressing barriers to student success. Our project, which supports wider Success for All work at NTU, focuses on increasing the use of SCALE-UP as a strategy to address attainment disparities.

Although the value of active learning approaches is widely recognized, it has proven challenging for HE institutions to spread their use. Our project investigates institutional barriers to widespread adoption and tests whether the benefits of the pedagogies continue to work at scale.

Our partners, Anglia Ruskin University and the University of Bradford, are focusing on Team-Based Learning alongside SCALE-UP, as the two approaches share many features in common. The project has been awarded £440k and will run from March 2017 to February 2019. For more information visit the project website or contact the project lead: Jane McNeil.

ACL (Active Collaborative Learning) logo


SCALE-UP supports NTU's strategic goals including Success for All (Creating Opportunities), personalised learning (Creating Opportunities), accessible modes of learning (Connecting Globally), social integration (Creating Opportunities), and student engagement in research (Valuing Ideas).

NTU has 12 bespoke SCALE-UP rooms, offering a range of capacities and a variety of technologies. Clifton campus boasts the first purpose-built SCALE-UP rooms in UK higher education. In addition NTU has a number of spaces that lend themselves to collaborative and active learning.

NTU was the first UK university to adopt SCALE-UP teaching across a broad range of disciplines. A total of 33 modules including subjects such as Law, Physics, Marketing and Education participating in a year long pilot. In the evaluation of the pilot teaching staff reported greater student engagement with materials and more interaction between peers and the tutor, leading to increased conceptual understanding.

By 2015-16, 86 modules, involving 1700 students, were using SCALE-UP teaching approaches. In 2017 around 200 academics will be involved in SCALE-UP provision to in excess of 200 modules.

For more on SCALE-UP at NTU, email us. For SCALE-UP pedagogy support please contact Zena Rashid, Educational Development Consultant, +44 (0)115 848 4739.