The flipped classroom

In traditional training, the trainer possesses the required knowledge about the topic and tries to pass it on to the learners during their time together; either face-to-face or online.

A flipped classroom is one where learners access materials about the topic before they meet, and they spend the time when they are all together in applying the new knowledge, addressing any queries and discussing the issues. You can use a flipped classroom approach in face-to-face settings, but it works particularly well for online learning.

The following video explains the concept further, using the example of a school setting, but the same concept can be applied to all types of learning, including fully online learning where there is no face-to-face time.

Activity: The flipped classroom

Timing: Allow about 10 minutes

Watch this video and then think about the benefits and disadvantages of this approach for your own training by filling in the grid below.

Download this video clip.Video player: tto_1_week1_vidact3.mp4
Skip transcript

Transcript

MAGGIE WARD:

Every day, 7.2 million students walk into classrooms throughout the United States. These classrooms, generally, look the same. Thirty students sit in rows of desks taking notes in their notebooks, while the teacher stands at a whiteboard teaching a lesson. Regardless of ability level, each student receives the exact same information at the exact same pace. As Miss Jackson presents this same material, the students respond differently. Tommy gets it while Allison is bored and Maria is lost. At the end of the day, these same students head home, while at home they sit at the kitchen table doing their homework, and trying to remember what Miss Jackson said.

Students like Tommy make it most of the way through the homework while others like Allison find it easy and fly through it. At the same time, students like Maria get frustrated and need some extra help. Miss Jackson recognises that students have different needs and would love to work individually with each student, but this requires time and resources that her school does not have. One solution to this problem is the flipped classroom. Here's what it looks like. While at home, students sit in their rooms watching videos of the lesson that Miss Jackson assigned. Tommy is still able to work at his normal pace. Allison is no longer bored because now she can use this new technology to fast forward through the easy material.

Maria is no longer frustrated because she can review the material she didn't understand by pausing and rewinding. When really she gets stuck, she can get help from her classmates. New technology platforms like Moodle and Edmodo make it easy for her to chat online with her classmates. Just as the homework is different, the classroom is different as well. Instead of standing in front of the room speaking, Miss Jackson walks around the room. She checks in with Tommy as he works collaboratively with some students. She pushes Allison further with some more challenging work and she helps Maria with the pieces that she still doesn't get.

In the traditional model, the teacher stands between the students and the knowledge, but with the flipped model, the students have direct access to the knowledge and the teacher serves as a coach, mentor and guide, helping the students access this knowledge. The flipped classroom leverages technology in a way that lets both Miss Jackson and the students make the most of their time and efforts.

End transcript
 
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).
Possible benefitsPossible disadvantages
To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
Words: 0
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

Discussion

Your answers will depend on the training you were thinking about, but here are some answers we thought of:

Possible benefitsPossible disadvantages
  • Learners can study at a time that suits them. This may mean that more people can access the training overall.
  • Learners can study at their own pace.
  • Time together (whether face-to-face or online) can be spent on group activities and application.
  • The trainer can be more of a coach or guide and less the person who delivers the knowledge.
  • People often find it easier to keep a specific time in their diaries clear for a meeting, than to protect time for something that can be done at any time.
  • Learners may need to be more self-disciplined and self-motivated. If they encounter technological problems accessing the materials, the trainer will not be immediately on hand to help.
  • You may find when you meet up that people have not done the preparation work, and you end up having to teach material you were not expecting.
  • Some trainers might not be comfortable as a coach or guide. They might need additional support to take up this new role.

Do you think that a flipped classroom would work well in your context?

If participants are used to turning up to a face-to-face training without undertaking any preparatory work, it can require a change of learning culture in your organisation to make a flipped classroom work well.

It is helpful to be clear when people sign up for a flipped classroom course that it will work differently from other courses they may have attended, and to give them practical tips such as blocking out specific time in their diaries for the preparation work.

The sections Off the shelf: using existing online materials [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]   and Making your own: creating and adapting content discuss some of the ways you can prepare online materials for learners to study independently.