This article may be unbalanced towards certain viewpoints. (September 2018)
A flipped classroom is an instructional strategy and a type of blended learning that reverses the traditional learning environment by delivering instructional content, often online, outside of the classroom. It moves activities, including those that may have traditionally been considered homework, into the classroom. In a flipped classroom, students watch online lectures, collaborate in online discussions, or carry out research at home while engaging in concepts in the classroom with the guidance of a mentor.
In the traditional model of classroom instruction, the teacher is typically the central focus of a lesson and the primary disseminator of information during the class period. The teacher responds to questions while students defer directly to the teacher for guidance and feedback. In a classroom with a traditional style of instruction, individual lessons may be focused on an explanation of content utilizing a lecture-style. Student engagement in the traditional model may be limited to activities in which students work independently or in small groups on an application task designed by the teacher. Class discussions are typically centered on the teacher, who controls the flow of the conversation. Typically, this pattern of teaching also involves giving students the task of reading from a textbook or practicing a concept by working on a problem set, for example, outside school.
The flipped classroom intentionally shifts instruction to a learner-centered model in which time in the classroom is used to explore topics in greater depth and create meaningful learning opportunities while students are initially introduced to new topics outside of the classroom. In a flipped classroom, 'content delivery' may take a variety of forms. Often, video lessons prepared by the teacher or third parties are used to deliver content, although online collaborative discussions, digital research, and text readings may be used. It has been shown that the ideal length of the video lesson to be is eight to twelve minutes.
Flipped classrooms also redefine in-class activities. In-class lessons accompanying flipped classroom may include activity learning or more traditional homework problems, among other practices, to engage students in the content. Class activities vary but may include: using math manipulatives and emerging mathematical technologies, in-depth laboratory experiments, original document analysis, debate or speech presentation, current event discussions, peer reviewing, project-based learning, and skill development or concept practice Because these types of active learning allow for highly differentiated instruction, more time can be spent in class on higher-order thinking skills such as problem-finding, collaboration, design and problem solving as students tackle difficult problems, work in groups, research, and construct knowledge with the help of their teacher and peers.
A teacher's interaction with students in a flipped classroom can be more personalized and less didactic, and students are actively involved in knowledge acquisition and construction as they participate in and evaluate their learning.
In 1993, Alison King published "From Sage on the Stage to Guide on the Side," in which she focuses on the importance of the use of class time for the construction of meaning rather than information transmission. While not directly illustrating the concept of "flipping" a classroom, King's work is often cited as an impetus for an inversion to allow for the educational space for active learning.
Harvard professor Eric Mazur played a significant role in the development of concepts influencing flipped teaching through the development of an instructional strategy he called peer instruction. Mazur published a book in 1997 outlining the strategy, entitled Peer Instruction: A User's Manual. He found that his approach, which moved information transfer out of the classroom and information assimilation into the classroom, allowed him to coach students in their learning instead of lecture.
Lage, Platt and Treglia published a paper entitled "Inverting the Classroom: A Gateway to Creating an Inclusive Learning Environment" (2000), which discusses their research on flipped classrooms at the college level. In their research focusing on two college economics courses, Lage, Platt, and Treglia assert that one can leverage the class time that becomes available from the inversion of the classroom (moving information presentation via lecture out of the classroom to media such as computers or VCRs) to meet the needs of students with a wide variety of learning styles. The University of Wisconsin-Madison deployed software to replace lectures in large lecture-based computer science course with streaming video of the lecturer and coordinated slides. In the late 1990s, J. Wesley Baker was experimenting with these same ideas at Cedarville University. He presented a paper discussing what he termed the "classroom flip" at an education conference in the year 2000 in what may be the first published mention of the word "flip" associated with this model of teaching and learning.
Kaw and Hess published a paper in 2007 to compare the effectiveness of 4 instructional modalities for a single topic of a STEM course -(i) traditional lecture, (ii) blended (what they called "Web-enhanced lecture"), (iii) Web-based self-study and (iv) flipped (what they called "Web-based self-study and classroom discussion"). Statistical analysis of the assessment data indicated that the second modality, in which Web-based modules for instruction were used during face-to-face lecture delivery mode, resulted in higher levels of student performance and satisfaction.
Perhaps the most recognizable contributor to the flipped classroom is Salman Khan. In 2004, Khan began recording videos at the request of a younger cousin he was tutoring because she felt that recorded lessons would let her skip segments she had mastered and replay parts that were troubling her. Salman Khan founded Khan Academy based on this model. For some, Khan Academy has become synonymous with the flipped classroom; however, these videos are only one form of the flipped classroom strategy.
The Wisconsin Collaboratory for Enhanced Learning has built two centers to focus on flipped and blended learning. The classroom structure houses technology and collaboration-friendly learning spaces, and emphasis for those involved in the program is placed on individualized learning through non-traditional teaching strategies such as flipped classroom.
Woodland Park High School chemistry teachers Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams began practising flipped teaching at the high school level when, in 2007, they recorded their lectures and posted them online in order to accommodate students who missed their classes. They note that one person cannot be credited with having invented the inverted or flipped classroom, and assert that there is no one 'right' way to flip a classroom as approaches and teaching styles are diverse, as are needs of schools. They went on to develop the "Flipped-Mastery" model and wrote extensively about it in their book Flip Your Classroom.
In 2011 educators in Michigan's Clintondale High School flipped every classroom. Principal Greg Green led an effort to help teachers develop plans for flipped classrooms, and worked with social studies teacher, Andy Scheel, to run two classes with identical material and assignments, one flipped and one conventional. The flipped class had many students who had already failed the class—some multiple times. After 20 weeks, students in the flipped classroom were outperforming students in the traditional classrooms. Further, no students in the flipped classrooms scored lower than a C+, while the previous semester 13 percent had failed. The traditional classroom showed no change. Before this, Clintondale had been designated as among the state's worst 5 percent. The next year when teachers used a flipped model in the 9th grade, the failure rates in English, math, science, and social studies dropped significantly, with the now-flipped school's failure rate dropping from 30 to 10 percent in 2011. Results on standardized tests went up in 2012, but then dropped however.
MEF University, a non-profit private university located in Istanbul, Turkey, is the first university in the world that has adopted the "flipped classroom" educational model university-wide. In 2016, Emerald published "The Flipped Approach to Higher Education: Designing Universities for Today's Knowledge Economies and Societies", written by MEF University President, Muhammed Şahin, and the Director of the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching, Caroline Fell Kurban.
While flipped classroom have been found effective in secondary schools, flipped methods may also be effective in improving student learning at the community college level. The flipped classroom model allows faculty to engage students in innovative ways, both inside and outside the classroom, and to employ a range of modern teaching tools and approaches. This may be effective in diverse classroom environments with students who have different learning preferences.[clarification needed]
Proponents of flipped classrooms in higher education have had an interest in seeing this put into practice in university classrooms. Professors at the University of Graz conducted a study in which lectures were video recorded in a manner in which students could have access to them throughout the semester of a lecture-based course on educational psychology. The professors surveyed how the students used their educational tools: attending lectures and watching or rewatching videos. Students subsequently rated (on a scale of 1=none to 6=nearly all) how often they used these materials. The majority of students (68.1%) relied on watching the podcasts but had low attendance rates compared to their podcast usage. The remainder of the students either rarely watched podcasts (19.6%) or somewhat used the podcasts (12.3%), but both had similar lecture attendance. Students that watched the videos more than their peers performed better than those who chose otherwise.
On June 27, 2016, Jonathan Bergmann, one of the originators of flipped learning, launched the Flipped Learning Global Initiative, led by Errol St.Clair Smith. On January 26, 2018 the Flipped Learning Global Initiative introduced its International Faculty, created to deliver a consistent standard of training and ongoing support to schools and school systems around the world.
In traditional schools, each topic in class receives a fixed amount of time for all students. Flipped mastery classrooms apply a mastery learning model that requires each student to master a topic before moving to the next one.
Mastery learning was briefly popular in the 1920s, and was revived by Benjamin Bloom in 1968. While it is difficult to implement in large, traditional classrooms, it has shown dramatic success in improving student learning. The mastery model allows teachers to provide the materials, tools and support for learning while students set goals and manage their time.
Mastery rewards students for displaying competence. Students who initially turn in shoddy work must correct it before moving on. Before flipping, mastery learning was impractical in most schools. It was not possible to give different lectures for different groups of students. Testing was also impractical, because fast-learning students could reveal the test to those who followed.
In a flipped mastery classroom, students view each lecture and work on each exercise or project when they have mastered the precursors.
Tim Kelly, winner of the Presidential Award for Mathematics and Science Teaching, adopted flipped mastery with his colleagues Corey Sullivan and Mike Brust. Sullivan estimated that 40 to 60 hours of work outside school for each of 12 units per course were required the first year. Another Presidential Award winner, Spencer Bean, converted after his daughter went through Kelly's class.
Flipped mastery eliminates two other out-of-class routines: daily lesson planning and grading papers. The latter happens in class and in person. Replacing lectures with group and individual activities increases in-class activity. Every student has something to do throughout the class. In some classes, students choose how to demonstrate mastery—testing, writing, speaking, debating and even designing a related game. Learning Management Systems such as Moodle or ILIAS provide ways to manage the testing process. They create a different test for each student from a pool of questions. Advocates claim that its efficiency allows most students to do a year's work in much less time. Advanced students work on independent projects while slower learners get more personalized instruction. Some students might not get through the year's material, but demonstrated competence on the parts they did complete.
Students may be more likely to favor the Flipped Classroom approach once they have taken the time to personally participate in this specific type of learning course. In a prior pharmaceutics course, for instance, a mere 34.6% of the 19 students initially preferred the Flipped Classroom setting. After all of the students had participated in the Pharmaceutical Flipped Classroom course, the number of those favoring this method of learning increased significantly, reaching a total of 89.5%. Individuals interested in a more problem-solving, hands-on form of learning are more likely to benefit from Flipped Classroom, as it sways from a traditional lecture learning style. Students may initially have certain doubts or fears regarding the use of Flipped Classroom, including:
- The fear of having to "teach oneself", as in, having a lack of proper guidance from a designated instructor, leading to greater pressure on the student to study the content rigorously in order to perform well in the course
- Obtaining a greater amount of academic work in order to achieve success within the course, as a result of minimal guidance from an instructor
- The fear of obtaining a greater sense of confusion on topics discussed, which may correlate to the heavy focus on group discussion and problem-solving activities that Flipped Classroom encourages
Flipped Classroom is composed of various components, such as (this information only represents a few examples):
- video collections
- student discussion
- teacher/student online communication
It has been determined, through several conducted experiments, that certain aspects of the Flipped Classroom approach are more beneficial to students than others. For instance, in a study conducted on the feedback received from students who had participated in a Flipped Classroom teaching module for college English reading, the following results were derived:
- 92.59% of the students ultimately accepted the Flipped Classroom teaching module in general
- 59.26% of the students accepted the "video form" of the teaching module, essentially provided as a resource for the course
- 100.00% of the students believed that the "learning guide" link provided in the teaching module was necessary for performing well in the course
From these specific statistics, it can be determined that students felt that their experience within the Flipped Classroom was greatly benefited by certain aspects of the course (such as the learning guide provided), while other portions of the module may have been unnecessary or insignificant to their learning (such as the video form of the module).
There are various benefits attributed to the idea of utilizing the Flipped Classroom approach, some including:
- A college reading empirical study identifies Flipped Classroom's approach at including all forms of learning (i.e. oral, visual, listening, hands on, problem solving, etc.).
- Rather than learning in a traditional classroom setting, Flipped Classroom uses a more application-based approach for students (i.e. hands on and problem solving activities).
- The accessibility of Flipped Classroom is extremely convenient, especially for students that would face difficulties in traveling to the physical classroom. Such students would still have the foundational information of the course at hand via online.
- Communication is greatly emphasized in a Flipped Classroom setting, essentially referring to: student-student and student-teacher interactions.
- Flipped Classroom utilizes a student-centered teaching modeled in order to ensure that the course is primarily aimed at contributing to the student's overall success in obtaining a proper, effective education.
- Essentially avoids the overarching idea of "cramming" for exams and forgetting the information post-examination, as it encourages students to understand the underlying rationale behind the information provided being provided to them.
- Students must account for the responsibilities given to them in regards to learning the foundational information provided, as their personal work and contribution will be reflected in the grade that they receive at the end of the course. This will, in turn, make them better prepared for future, more difficult courses.
Limitations and criticisms
Critics argue the flipped classroom model has some consequences for both students and teachers.
For students, there exists a 'digital divide'. Not all families are from the same socio-economic background, and thus access to computers or video-viewing technology outside of the school environment is not possible for all students. This model of instruction may put undue pressure on some families as they attempt to gain access to videos outside of school hours
Additionally, some students may struggle due to their developing personal responsibility. In a self-directed, home learning environment students who are not at the developmental stage required to keep on-task with independent learning may fall rapidly behind their peers
Others argue that the flipped classroom leads to increased computer time in an era where adolescents already spend too much time in front of computer screens. Inverted models that rely on computerized videos do contribute to this challenge, particularly if videos are long.
Additionally, flipped classrooms that rely on videos to deliver instruction suffer some of the same challenges as traditional classrooms. Students may not learn best by listening to a lecture, and watching instructional videos at home is still representative of a more traditional form of teaching. Critics argue a constructivist approach would be more beneficial.
Teachers may find challenges with this model as well. Increased preparation time is initially likely needed, as creating high quality videos requires teachers to contribute significant time and effort outside of regular teaching responsibilities. Additional funding may also be required to procure training for teachers to navigate computer technologies involved in the successful implementation of the inverted model.
The potential performance increase from flipped classrooms varies greatly on classroom by classroom basis. The potential benefits may be affected by the method of conducting the classroom and the level of intensity of the course. Currently, the amount of research available is not enough to create rigorous practical guidelines for all teachers to use. Therefore, some teachers may conduct the flipped classroom more effectively than others. In addition, the level of intensity of the course may also play a crucial role in the efficacy of the flipped model. Researchers often witness a more defined performance increase in K-12 education as opposed to college or graduate education.
- Medical Classroom: In multiple classrooms, short videos about the current medical topic, rheumatology, that was being taught in the class were created and uploaded to youtube or emailed to students for a medical class. The students were to watch the videos before attending lecture. The lecture class was then used to focus on application of the material learned in the videos through case studies and activities in order to give students a more interactive type of learning in the classroom. In order to enforce the use of videos for pre-lecture, students were asked to take a quiz or complete a homework assignment and turn it in before class.
- College English Reading: The flipped classroom method of teaching was implemented in an English reading course[where?] for 16 weeks per semester. Teaching through audio outside of the classroom was utilized through videos paired with information slides. Online resources were also supplied. The videos supplemented the readings and allowed for more analysis and participation in class, and they included background knowledge of the subject and analytical questions to be discussed in class. A study-guide was provided for each video so that students could come prepared to class. Some classes included software that combined all of the resources accessible by students for the material that was assigned outside of the class period. The software also included small tests in order to assess a student's understanding of video material.
- Physics: In one instance, the flipped classroom technique was implemented in a physics classroom[where?]. The pre-Lecture videos were not made specifically by the teacher, but instead they were downloaded from other databases like Ted, Youtube, and Khan Academy. Before class, students were supposed to watch the video lecture, take a quiz, and write down any questions they had. During class, the information in the videos was applied to questions through group discussion activities and hands-on simulations. Students were also encouraged to attend other public lectures about soil physics to gain more information.
- Chemistry: In a chemistry class[where?], pre-lecture materials were distributed through Moodle and Youtube. In class, students independently completed problems while the professor acted as a guide in case anyone needed assistance. Along with practice problems, labs were also completed during regular class time, and workshops about choosing the appropriate approach, order and technique were implemented. Study materials for tests were administered through the videos in order to prepare students for assessments. In the chemistry setting, only certain topics were flipped. For example, the flipped classroom technique was implemented for chromatography and electrophoresis, but the traditional classroom teaching method was used for the topics of absorbance and emission and spectroscopy. The lecture videos went over the theory, instrumentation and explanation of the flipped topics. Administered exams for the flipped topics were then based more on what was done in class than the lecture videos.
- Numerical Methods: The flipped classroom is used for a Numerical Methods course[where?]. The class of 100 is broken into two sections that meet separately twice a week for 75 minutes each for recitation sessions and once a week for 50 minutes together for a lecture session. Pre-lecture materials include YouTube videos and textbook materials. The materials for the week are laid out categorically for the student and suggested blogs and extra homework are also mentioned. The students complete an online quiz via the CANVAS LMS at home before coming to class. During the recitation session, concept questions and in-class exercises are distributed. These questions are solved by students individually and then answers are shared in a group of four. During this time, the instructor and two teaching assistants help students with any difficulties they may come across. Based on how students are responding, the instructor discusses some of the problems. The instructor also gives mini-lectures on some topics that may be difficult to process by students on their own. During the lecture session, the instructor wraps up the topic of the week and introduces students to the topic of the upcoming week. To enhance the benefits and reduce the workload associated with a flipped classroom, the pre-class preparation is now done through adaptive lessons for half of the course (limited funding). A commercial adaptive platform, Smart Sparrow, that combines video lectures, text and assessment via multiple-choice and algorithmic questions is being used. The results show a Cohen’s d approximately equal to 0.40 for the free-response questions of the course final examination and 0.6 standard deviations improvement in personalization,
With other educational approaches
- Flipped learning + peer instruction
Interactive method based on collaborative work that has proven effective in areas such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics (Dumont, 2014). Specifically consists of sharing with other students a different response to their own and explain the reasons that support the same to learn from each other. In this process the reasoning beyond the answers is analyzed.
- Flipped mastery learning
When the invested learning model is applied in a more advanced way. Educators begin by organizing content around specific goals. Students work on course content at their own pace and upon reaching the end of each unit, they must show mastery of learning objectives before moving on to the next topic and so on (Bergmann and Sams, 2013). Students can show evidence of their learning through videos, worksheets, experimental stories, programs, projects, examples, among others. There are two challenges in the flipped-mastery model: the first is to deliver instruction to students when they have different levels of learning and understanding of the subjects. The second challenge is to carry out summative assessment when the student has to be evaluated more than once.
- Flipped adaptive learning
The combination of inverted learning and other pedagogical approaches such as adaptive learning can help educators obtain information from the areas of learning that dominate their students and those in which they still have deficiencies or need to improve. This knowledge can support the teacher in determining how to organize and manage class time in order to maximize student learning (Yilmaz-tuzun, 2008).
- Flipped learning + gamification
A step forward in the flipped-mastery model would be to include gamification elements in the learning process. Gamification is the application of game mechanisms in situations not directly related to games. The basic idea is to identify what motivates a game and see how it can be applied in the teaching-learning model (in this case it would be Flipped-Mastery). The results of the Fun Theory research showed that fun can significantly change people's behavior in a positive sense, in the same way that it has a positive effect on education (Volkswagen, 2009).
- Flipped learning + cooperative learning
There may also be a symbiosis or complementation between the flipped classroom technique and cooperative learning. Schoolwork, also commonly known as "homework", is done jointly and in cooperation with the group as the teacher moves the time spent explaining the subject to the flipped classroom method. In this way, the student has to assimilate and understand the content of more theoretical weight at home, through the recordings made by the teacher, and the time in class is dedicated to the development of tasks and problem solving and / or doubts through cooperative learning (Fortanet, González, Mira Pastor and López Ramón, 2013).
- Flipped learning + Inclusive classroom
The qualities of a flipped classroom that are valuable for typical students can also benefit students with disabilities. Inclusive classrooms can be used to change perceptions and reduce the stigma students with disabilities experience. For example, a teacher can develop a lesson about social skills if it is an area of concern for a student diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
- Education 3.0
- Jigsaw (teaching technique)
- Learning by teaching
- Massive open online course
- Rotation model of learning
- Education software
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