Three evolving thoughts about flipped learning (CHE)

January 22, 2015, 8:00 am

By Robert Talbert

While specifications grading continues to unfold in class, I’m also still using and refining the flipped learning model. Recently I had time to reflect on how I’m implementing flipped learning in my classes, and I noticed that some of my thoughts on flipped learning have evolved over the last few years, including some breaks from things I’ve written here on the blog. Here are three of those thoughts that stood out for me.

What I used to think: Pre-class activity in a flipped learning model is about mastering content-oriented instructional objectives.

What I think now: Pre-class activity is for generating questions.

I attended a talk by Jeremy Strayer last year, and he said something that stuck with me: that the purpose of pre-class work in the flipped classroom is to “launch” the in-class activity. In flipped learning we certainly want students to pick up fluency with basic content and learning objectives prior to class. But I think Jeremy’s point is that content delivery shouldn’t be the primary purpose of pre-class work. Rather, it should be to prime the student intellectually to engage in whatever high-level tasks we have devised for the in-class meeting.

This point was echoed in this study from Stanford which suggests that while the flipped learning model in itself is an improvement over a standard lecture-oriented model, there are even stronger learning gains among student when their pre-class work consists of open-ended explorations of concepts that precede a more text-based study of those concepts. The Stanford study suggests that “flipping the flipped classroom” in this way is the best approach.

[full article here.]

About Ryan C. Fowler

Ryan is a curricular fellow at the Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington D.C. He also teaches at Franklin and Marshall College and Lancaster Theological Seminary.
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