The term flipped classroom has become a bit of a buzz word in the fields of teaching and learning. Whether you’ve seen the phrase during your research or heard your colleagues talking about it, it’s important to understand the concept behind it and what it can mean for you as an instructor.
If you’re looking for a new way to change up your course design and lesson planning, consider applying some of the teaching and learning strategies depicted in the flipped classroom discussed below.
What is the flipped classroom methodology?
Most easily put, a flipped classroom is a pedagogical method in which the roles of the teacher and student, as well as their typical responsibilities, are reversed. Instead of lecturing or teaching a concept during class time, that becomes the responsibility of the student.
Before class, typically at home during the time when homework is done, students consume the lecture material. How the material is consumed can range from:
- Video lectures
- Pre-recorded podcasts
- Adaptive reading materials
When the students then arrive for class, they are ready to actively participate. Time in class is used to run through exercises, projects and have meaningful discussions. Instructors are seen as less of a single leader and more of a coach, guiding students in collaboration and helping them in one-on-one learning opportunities.
How the flipped classroom works
There is no cut-and-dry way of modelling a flipped classroom. Some instructors choose to flip their entire course, while others choose specific lectures or classes during a semester to reverse roles.
When students come to class ready to engage, instructors are able to facilitate engaging experiences that help subject matter come to life. Through interactive individual or group activities, students can better grasp concepts and ask questions when they don’t understand and instructors are able to clarify points of confusion head on. Parts of the digital lectures that students are having a hard time with and be repeated in class and instructors are able to provide on-demand feedback to help encourage positive progression.
Flipped Classroom at Algonquin College
The flipped classroom is being adopted in various levels of education, including post-secondary. For example, an Interactive Multimedia Developer instructor at Algonquin College decided to flip her classroom. Students watched video lectures for homework, moving through the material at their own pace and reviewing concepts when needed. When they got to class, they were ready to put the concepts into practice and jump right into applying what they’ve learned – making the classroom “an experience” where students can master concepts.
Challenges for Instructors
If you’re thinking of flipping part or all of your course, it is imperative to prepare yourself ahead of time. Sourcing or recording lectures for your students can take time and may require you to learn new skills. You may have to put in a few more hours, but the extra work can pay off for your students in the end.
It may also take some time for your students to adjust. Some might not welcome the change of not having traditional lecture-style teaching or they might think there is less value in hands-on activities done in class. Accessibility of lecture materials must also be taken into consideration.
The Future of the Flipped Classroom
As time progresses and technology becomes more advanced and easily accessible, the flipped classroom can become more attainable. With advancements to video technology and adaptive learning, students are able to focus on material they don’t know and not waste time covering concepts they already know, leading to the time spent in class to be even more productive.
Through methods like the flipped classroom, students become responsible for their learning and are encouraged by their instructors to go beyond understanding concepts to truly mastering them.