A flipped classroom is a format where instruction delivery does not happen in class, but asynchronously off campus most often in the form of digitally recorded lecture materials. In addition, learning activities (quizzes, papers, or projects) can be tied to the subject matter as assignments for completion prior to class meetings. The time spent in class is dedicated to more learning activities such as discussions, group projects, presentations, practice exercises and/or lab sessions.
Flipping the classroom means making learning student-oriented. Students invest more time assimilating new knowledge in learning communities and focus their efforts on developing relevant skills by collaborating with other learners. The idea of flipping is to use these diverse techniques of active learning more effectively in order to help students better understand, analyze, apply, evaluate, and synthesize new information. As Charles A. Hill says in his “The Benefits of Flipping Your Classroom” article: “Focus on the synthesis and application of knowledge will find considerable favor with employers who deride the lack of a more competency-based approach in much of higher education.”
Using Bloom’s taxonomy terms, understanding, analyzing, applying, synthesizing, and evaluating are cognitive levels of learning that can be performed better when knowledge and skills are practiced in social context as in a classroom environment. The construction of knowledge is based on recalling and internalizing of information. In dynamic learning space, experiences become anchored. On the flipped side (no pun intended) remembering – the lowest taxonomy level of learning – can be attributed to covering the basics. Students are introduced to a learning topic at their own time and convenience by watching, reading, and listening to a lecture. They may complete a quiz as a learning practice for information recall, but in class they further deepen the level of acquiring knowledge while interacting with others, by receiving more attention on problematic or not yet well-understood aspects and thus keeping their learning personalized. Learners also receive immediate feedback from peers and instructors, which can speed up and solidify their learning.
By flipping the classroom and doing more learning activities with others, students also improve their meta-cognitive abilities or learning skills, which ultimately enhance their ability to successfully transfer knowledge to other academic disciplines and professional environments.
What is the difference between blended learning and flipped classroom as learning environments? These terms overlap in meaning. In blended learning flipping the classroom is not a requirement, although more often than not instructions or demonstrations in the form of lectures and videos are assigned as out of class activities. Learning is blended if classroom sessions are skipped due to assignment of learning activities done out of class. In contrast the flipped classroom requires regular class attendance.
Both blended learning and flipped classroom also refer to the use of technology with face-to-face teaching. This means that faculty has to invest more time and effort in planning, designing, and especially developing their courses, if they are going to use technology to prepare learning materials and activities. Emmanuel College provides technical training on “Flipping the Classroom” via Atomic Learning. This 30-minute technology-based videos focus on lecture capture: what hardware and software is needed along with demonstrations on video and audio recording and editing. Feel free to contact a member of the ATIG group for individual training on any of the tools offered in the Atomic Learning sessions.