The Flipped Classroom is a
teaching methodology that was first proposed in the 1950s in the USA, and is something that universities around the world are exploring in terms of their curriculum.
The pandemic has created a unique situation in which teachers globally have been forced to innovate and improve how they learn and teach. Online class has challenged how teachers teach and students learn.
The Flipped Classroom principle of teaching gives us a workable framework to achieve exactly that.
What it is all about
The Flipped Classroom is a framework in which, simply put, homework and classwork are flipped!
Typically, Classroom Activity consists of lecture, information discovery and absorption of knowledge. Homework activities consists of a series of exercises and assignments in which the student applies what he picked up in class.
The Flipped classroom means, the student discovers what he needs to absorb and learn – new knowledge – outside of the classroom. Why is this important?
Because it allows students to learn more outside on their own, which means their time in class, in the presence of an expert faculty is spent on applying newly acquired knowledge instead of absorbing it.
The expert faculty can now truly guide their students explore the ins and outs of the topic they are exploring, instead of putting in all their efforts into helping them absorb knowledge.
How it helps
It is a well known fact that – to truly learn something, you have to apply it. The flipped classroom enables freeing up the classroom session, so the expert faculty has time to train students in applying rather than absorbing knowledge. This innovation is possible with a little planning.
To make it convenient, let’s refer to the two phases as the Learning Phase and the Doing Phase. The Learning phase is where students discover and absorb knowledge. The Doing phase refers to the activity and engagement they go through in order to apply knowledge.
To achieve this effectively
- The faculty puts together a curriculum for the unit, planning what needs to be learnt and at what pace
- Then, the faculty puts together a series of resources that serve as a starting point for the topic – this is the base content for the Learning phase.
- The faculty then assembles a series of assignments, quizzes and activities designed to test and utilize the knowledge students have picked up, to be used in the classroom. This is the basis for the Doing Phase.
- Now, for the duration of the sessions being conducted, the Learning Phase and the Doing phase are distributed to correspond with each other.
- Since the Learning Phase is now entirely in the hands of the students, they are given incentives, in the form of small activities or rewards that motivate them to finish their learning properly. These resources & online class also allows them to self-pace themselves in their own environment
- The Doing phase requires them to show up in class. Here, in the presence of expert faculty, students are taken through a series of activities, assignments and quizzes that get them to apply what they learnt the previous evening at home. Their application is done with the guidance and tailor making of the expert faculty and the students see the results for themselves.
Classroom Innovations possible
Due to the pandemic, many educational institutions struggled with digitizing their curriculum and conduct online classes. Add to that, the challenge of teachers, an older generation struggling to use software or teach students using technology while holding students accountable or ensuring their learning was intact.
The Flipped Classroom allows them to
- Collate PDFs and links of online sources that students can refer to, in order to learn parts of their syllabus. NAturally, this set of links is organized date and week wise to tailor learning.
- Release the content to students ahead of time so they can learn
- Use the online class as a medium to engage and interact with students on their assignments – students simply share their screen and demonstrate what they have been doing in assignments and this continuous engagement keeps them active in the learning process
Faculty no longer have to struggle with the learning process – they can take advantage of the vast network of sources available to them online and use them to guide students.
Students can be issued online quizzes, forms and gamified activities that releases their scores on the spot – telling them how they’ve done and assessing their performance easily. The internet is filled with a plethora of tutorials sources to help them learn. This even enables the student with initiative to take his learning one step further – since knowledge sources are in his hands now.
Activity based learning
Perhaps the most important part of the Flipped Classroom is the in-session activities done in the p[resence of faculty.
Simply freeing up class time enables expert faculty to innovate, sharing myriad sources and activities to students live. The Faculty could simply shift students to a lab, or even conduct a variety of group and peer based activities that help students pick up and demonstrate their understanding live.
Activities help learning come alive. This ensures that lessons a student needs to learn stays embedded long term in their minds easily. Additionally, the room for innovation is now more than ever for both students and faculty.
Even when it comes to examinations, students no longer forget principles and can recall them, due to the activities they went through.
Perhaps one of the most important characteristics that are a side-effect of the flipped classroom is the peer learning system. When students are focused on activities in class, consciously and unconsciously, they learn from peers who are either improving or making mistakes at the same time on the same topic.
It also allows them to ask each other for help, pair up or figure things out together – fostering a sense of shared learning responsibility.
Many a times, students feel reluctant to find a faculty to clarify what is in their minds, a small or immediate hurdle. A peer helps overcome these small challenges easily, leading to a shift in their learning speed. As peers they would have come across or overcome these doubts or hurdles, so sharing that knowledge with everyone reinforces their learning as well.
This is a live application of the Feynman technique.
The Flipped Classroom puts learning into the hands of students, making them more involved and independent. It also enables expert faculty implement innovation to affect the rate at which students learn, improve in classrooms and provide rich learning opportunities and experiences to their students.
Brame, C. (2013). Flipping the classroom. Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching. Retrieved [todaysdate] from http://cft.vanderbilt.edu/guides-sub-pages/flipping-the-classroom/.