Experiences of students and lecturers in the UvA Hybrid Learning Theatre

The Hybrid Learning Theatre (HLT) of the University of Amsterdam, which recently won the EUNIS overall award for Best AV-Enabled Education Space, has hosted classes of up to 1500 students during the past year of online teaching. With the academic year coming to a close we look at the following question: how did both students and lecturers experience education in this particular hybrid format? Having analysed data for both qualitative and quantitative surveys sent to lecturers (N=8) and students (N=375), some preliminary results can be shared.

Lecturer perspective

Lecturers rated their overall experience in the HLT an average 9.1 out of 10. They appreciated the presence of a technical team to help with zoom, moderating, microphones, cameras as well as the possibility to stand while teaching and to talk to both students in the room as on a ‘Zoom-wall’ without noticeable delay (the studio was setup with a 1gb/s ethernet connection). Such experiences were amplified by the contrast (and possible frustrations) of teaching from home. One lecturer also noted that in a course of 300 students, those who registered for physical attendance were more engaged in the lecture, thus having a positive influence on student interactions:

“In the Hybrid Learning Theatre, the students that are participating are truly motivated and curious, which makes teaching more fun, even more fun than regular on-campus lectures.”

Lecture in the Hybrid Learning Theatre
A lecture in the Hybrid Learning Theatre

Student perspective

Students participating online or in person rated their overall experience in the HLT a 7.9 out of 10. Those who visited a lecture in the HLT in person noted a positive influence on their concentration during the lecture and enjoyed the intimacy of being in the same room as their peers and lecturer. Those who followed an HLT lecture from home also noted a positive influence on their learning experience due to the visible interaction between the lecturer and the students. These described experiences underline the goal of allowing both peer-to-peer, lecturer-student, and student-content interaction in a hybrid setting. One student who attended a class in the HLT in person wrote:

“This was the best lecture that I ever experienced. The atmosphere is welcoming and I feel very comfortable”

An interactive Power BI dashboard was created containing the data from 188 students who followed a lecture from the HLT in person or online. The results can be seen in the link below and answers can be filtered per participation type (experiences attending in person, participating with camera on, participating with camera off) or per study year.  Overall, both physically present students as online participating students felt more engaged in an HLT session over a ‘normal’ Zoom session and preferred this setting for online teaching over ‘normal’ Zoom meetings.


While the above dashboard shows the statistics, the document below shows the qualitative data such as the remarks and suggestions made by the students, again divided by those who participated in person or through zoom.


The University of Amsterdam will continue using the Hybrid Learning Theatres in the academic year of 2021/2022. What about your institution? Do you agree with the recent interest in hybrid teaching, or should universities focus on other aspects of education? We look forward to reading your comments below.

If you have any questions about the Hybrid Learning Theatre, please reach out to hybridlearningtheatre-eb@uva.nl

Further information:
Short documentary about the Hybrid Learning Theatre
NH News Article



Dit artikel heeft 1 reactie

Reactie van Maud Pols

Great initiative!