In one of our previous articles, Flipped Classroom was mentioned as one of the important instructional strategies in today’s educational world. In the current article, we will elaborate on it further.
Flipped Classroom is a blended learning model which entails the reversal or flipping of classroom activities and homework pattern, prevalent in traditional classrooms. Two teachers, Jonathan Bergman and Aaron Sams, were the pioneers of this concept. It is an approach that involves the teachers to give pre-recorded lectures, videos, and reading materials for students to listen, watch or read, before the class. The classroom time is then used by the teachers for active student-engagement through interactive learning activities related to the lectures, videos, or reading materials already heard/seen/read by students. It is one of the methods to encourage an active learning environment.
Flipped Classroom approach fits in well with the revised Bloom’s Taxonomy. As opposed to traditional approach, in a Flipped Classroom, students finish the lower levels of cognitive learning before class, and engage in application, analysing, problem-solving, synthesizing, and other higher levels of cognitive learning in the classroom with peers and teachers during class.
Benefits of Flipped Classroom:
• Less time spent by teachers on introduction of new topics- In traditional teaching method, a major chunk of time is used for content delivery, leaving very less time for further exploration and application of the concepts. But in a Flipped Classroom, introductory information is received by the learners before the class, through self-study of the pre-recorded lectures, videos, and study materials provided by the teacher. This enables the teachers to spend more time with students for deeper exploration and application of concepts.
• Students become independent learners- Since students are provided before the class with the necessary study materials in the form of videos or pre-recorded lectures, they get used to the idea of self-study at home. This leads to them becoming independent learners.
• Enhancement of student-engagement in class- Since students attend classes with the basic knowledge acquired through self-study of the study materials, teachers can plan for various interactive activities in classroom time, which the students find fun, interesting and exciting. This in turn enhances the active involvement of students in the class.
• Absent students do not fall behind- Absenteeism often leads to learning gaps in students. But this problem is somewhat mitigated in Flipped classroom approach due to the online availability of the introductory information for students to catch up any time.
• Re-use of content created by teachers- Many educators create their own videos and lectures for the initial learning of students, instead of using third-party content. This gives them the benefit of re-using their content by optimization, enabling them to save time on lesson preparation and giving them more time for planning the interactive and exploratory activities.
• Greater conceptual understanding for students- Being involved in engaging and interactive activities, students are actively involved in their knowledge construction. This leads to deeper understanding of concepts, with teachers helping them in the expansion of their knowledge
• More individualised approach by teachers- In a Flipped classroom approach, teachers have the freedom to decide on the time to be given to each student, based on their individual needs. Availability of classroom time to observe the students and identify who has understood the concept, and who is struggling, makes this possible.
• Suitable for 21st century learners- This approach ensures learning outcomes in classrooms by exploring and integrating various tools and techniques of educational technology. It maximises meaningful interaction among learners, and between learners and teachers, enhances learning outcomes through learners’ active involvement, and minimises distractions in the classroom
Flipped Classroom and Flipped Learning are different, and Flipped Classroom does not always necessarily lead to Flipped learning. Hence these two terms cannot be used interchangeably. Educators need to assimilate the four pillars given below, into their teaching practice, to engage in Flipped Learning:
• Flexible Environment- A variety of learning modes is allowed in Flipped learning. Flexible learning spaces to support either group-work or individual study, are created by the educators, which permits the students to choose when and where they learn.
• Learning Culture- Flipped learning model shifts the instruction approach from the traditional teacher-centred to a learner-centred one, which allows for in-class time being dedicated for exploring topics in greater detail. With active involvement in their own knowledge construction and learning evaluation, students find their learning experience personally meaningful.
• Intentional Content- For the development of their students’ conceptual understanding and procedural fluency, educators need to continuously think of different ways of using Flipped Learning model, including what they should teach and what the students should explore on their own, along with active learning strategies. To maximise the optimum utilisation of classroom time, educators need to use ‘intentional content’.
• Professional Educator- Being highly professional is the requirement of a Flipped classroom educator, as their role is very demanding. They need to be reflective, strive towards constant improvement by being connected with other educators, accept constructive feedback, and be tolerant of the controlled classroom chaos.
As with all strategies, there are some challenges that need to be taken into consideration to make the Flipped Classroom model a complete success. Some of these include – (1) reliability of internet outside classroom, (2) inability of some students to complete the pre-learning through self-study due to lack of motivation, and (3) difficulty in testing the students at the same time due to difference in their learning pace. Hence more effort is required from both educators and learners in the preparation of materials and videos before a lesson, lecture or class takes place, when using Flipped Classroom strategy as compared to traditional mode of teaching. Nevertheless, Flipped Classroom is gaining popularity as one of the best pedagogical strategies which is instrumental in increasing the interactivity of the instructional format, empowering the teachers to engage the students rationally, promoting individualised learning, increasing the retention of knowledge in students, and making the valuable class time more worthwhile for all concerned.
Founder & Consultant - School Serv
Vinod Kakumanu heads a team of school services professionals and is an independent commentator on Indian school education scenario. Vinod has assisted school promoters establish 35+ schools besides providing ancillary services to over 1000 schools across India. He envisions a future where quality education is made available to every child of the country. The focus he places on the quality of the deliverables and customer satisfaction has made him renowned in the field of K-12 school education.