The flipped approach to learning is a pedagogical technique it is growing in popularity in higher and secondary level education, and in corporate learning and development. But what is it and are there any benefits of flipping the classroom?
What actually is a flipped classroom?
In flipped classrooms, students are exposed to new material outside of the classroom usually via videos, reading or online sources, and then use class time to apply that knowledge in classroom activities, debates or discussions.
Why do educators like it?
Those who advocate for a flipped classroom approach to learning, say:
- It makes efficient use of class-time.
- Can prepare students for more detailed classroom discussions that can focus on higher level thinking skills.
- Allows students to prepare for the lesson at their own pace.
But, is it an effective teaching method?
There is a growing body of empirical evidence that suggests that the flipped classroom approach in secondary and higher education is effective.
What has research demonstrated?
- Student perception of the method has tended to be positive, especially when the pre-class activities included videos. This was because students came to the session better prepared.
- Students demonstrated a deeper understanding of the class content.
- Students motivation increased in relation to in class learning activities, and there were significant learning gains in a flipped learning class.
- Students were more engaged in flipped classroom environments.
But there are challenges
There are a number of challenges that educators need to consider if they decide to flip some or all of their classes.
- Ensuring that learning takes place outside of the classroom.
- Getting students to adapt to the change.
- Creating and finding engaging content to motivate students to complete the pre class work.
It’s worth flipping your classes. I’ve done it many times when I’ve secondary and tertiary students.
Here are my top tips.
Have a contingency plan. Always assume that not everyone will come prepared, and as much as possible provide opportunities for students to come to your class prepared. If the resource is digital, offer students opportunities to access the content before and after school, or lunch time. Always have an alternative activity planned for those who aren’t prepared so that they have something meaningful to do, and can engage and participate in the lesson.
Be patient. Rome wasn’t built in a day. The truth is, there is more lesson preparation needed when using this approach. That’s because sourcing and creating good content takes times. Find someone else on staff who would do it with you to share the load. Maybe start flipping your class once a fortnight or once a month. If using digital sources, stick to the tried and tested resources like TEDEd until you find other engaging resources.
Get feedback from students. Ask them about what works and what doesn’t. Get them involved in helping you create a better experience.
Flipping your class is really worth the try, it just takes a little bit of perseverance to find out what works right for your class.
Please note: Not all of the sources consulted in this blog article have been attached to the post. If you’d like a full reference list, please contact the author.