February 3, 2024

Active Learning Strategies for Higher Education Classrooms: flipped classrooms

Flipped ClassroomActive LearningAcademic Success

Understanding Flipped Classrooms

The concept of a flipped classroom is not a discovery. It started with professors assigning students readings and then in class, they would discuss the topics. This was mostly used for literature classes. In the late 1990s, Dr. Erik Mazur was the first instructor who adapted the concept of a flipped classroom. Lage et al. realized the gap between student learning and in-class activities. However, the technology was not advanced enough for more advanced teaching tools that could be used. The advancement of the technology in 1980s and the internet in the 1990s allowed tools such as Blackboard and WebCT to emerge. These tools allowed professors to assign pre-class material more effectively and engagingly. YouTube also helped advance online learning resources. Salman Khan's YouTube math lessons developed into Khan Academy. This was a big development, now professors did not have to make their pre-class material, they could reuse material from online sources.

A flipped classroom is different from a traditional classroom setting. It starts with students engaging in learning materials before the lecture takes place. Students will go through readings, video lectures, or homework questions to get a basic understanding of the material. Then in class, students are required to apply these concepts while taking part in active learning activities. This is different from a traditional teaching style because it is less passive absorption of information. Instead, this kind of classroom setting forces students to apply their learning and problem-solve. In a flipped classroom, the professor is more of a facilitator and guides the classroom activities or discussions. They give students feedback, help clarify any concepts, and provide students with solutions. This setting helps students become critical thinkers, and problem solvers and have a deeper comprehension of the materials.

A graph of Number of Publicationsweb

A graph of Number of Publicationsweb

Benefits of Flipped Classrooms

Students’ attention fatigues over time—and this concern is even more pertinent when with the rise of social media, students have become used to receiving information in small, bite-sized pieces.

Flipped classrooms not only make students an active participant in their learning journey, but this teaching style also saves faculty time when planning instruction. Instructors rather than delivering three-hour-long lectures, the flipped classroom favors short, concise lecture recordings that students can view on their own time. Classroom times are dedicated to exploration, collaboration, and interaction, the three pillars critical to an active learning environment.

There has been extensive research done on the benefits of the Flipped classroom. The National Library of Medicine conducted a research study on the correlation between flipped classrooms and student engagement. The study focused on different topics such as Engagement and Preparation, correlation with performance, impact of engagement, teaching design impact, and implications for flipped classroom design.

The study discovered that on average 68% of students participate in the pre-class material and 68% of students attend class. The study also discovered that students get an average of 72.8% on knowledge-based questions and 70.8% on application questions.

It was discovered that students who prepare for class and participate in class overall score higher on exams and especially on scenario-based questions that require application and problem-solving. However, what was interesting was that preparation did not help students score better on knowledge questions. This study implies that students get better at applying concepts and being engaged in materials but it does not help them with knowledge questions.

The study also discovered that students become more motivated because of the flipped classroom. They became more confident and involved in the application of concepts. Students also liked the practice problems problem-solving and reflective discussions. Students stated that those in-class activities helped them become better at applying concepts and solving application problems. This study implies that students favor the in-class activities and are generally engaged in the flipped classroom.

How to Implement Flipped Classrooms

Pre-class material

The first step to implementing a flipped classroom is to ensure the professor has pre-class materials that the students will review before lectures. This material needs to relate directly and concisely to the material on the agenda of that lecture. Instructors can use a variety of tools such as narrated PowerPoints, websites, screencasts, readings, or podcasts to make pre-class material. If professors want to implement videos into the pre lesson then the videos should be 10 to 15 minutes long. They need to be long enough to give concise information and short enough to retain students’ attention. To make the material more engaging, professors can add guided questions or prompts in the lesson material to help guide the students learning. This way the students know which information needs to be prioritized.

A graph of Technologies used in Flipped Learning

A graph of Technologies used in Flipped Learning

Professors can also use the pre-class material to understand what materials students are struggling with the most. With this information, the professors can ensure that they go over the concept more in detail in the lecture. These are a few tools professors can use to access students learning: self-assessment quizzes or low-stakes online quizzes. They include questions that make students apply what they just learned from the pre-class material. After completion, students get instant feedback on what they did right and what they did wrong. Students can use this information to understand what they are struggling with and can ask precise questions in the lecture.

In class activities

The second step to creating a flipped classroom is implementing classroom activities. These activities have to directly relate to the kind of content that is being taught. They also have to challenge students and make them critically thinking. Thinking-aloud pair Problem Solving (TAPPS) is a very popular activity that is used in smaller classrooms. It is when students work together in pairs with one student being the explainer and the other student being the questioner. These roles are switched every so often. The 2 students work together on case studies and complex problem questions. Case studies are also very common teaching tools.

Case studies allow students to apply the information they have learned to real-life complex examples. With case studies, it is important to decide what kind of case studies you want to present to the students because if the case studies are too complex then students become more confused. If the case studies are too easy then students would not be applying themselves as much as they possibly can. Problem-solving is another effective activity for in-class learning. Present students with a set of problems and let them solve the problems themselves. Then allowing them to collaborate and share in groups. This allows them to problem-solve and help each other which ultimately increases student engagement. Role-playing is another activity that can enhance student learning experience. For a role-playing exercise, students will be split into groups and be given a topic which they have to act out. This allows students to think about the topic on a deeper level. This also increases and helps students collaborative and communication skills.

Challenges of a flipped classroom

While there are lots of benefits to implementing a flipped classroom there can also be challenges. Professors should be aware of the challenges they will encounter so they can effectively prepare for the commitment of the teaching style. The most notable challenge is that professors have an increased workload because professors have to create the before-class material. Hours would have to be put into crafting the pre-class material and the in-class activities however, this material can often be reused for the next semester. The next challenge would be students resisting the flipped classroom approach. Students are used to taking passive notes because it is low effort so they will resist this because they have to put more work and time into preparing for the class. However, professors should consistently conduct the flipped classroom as they planned, this will show students that they have to comply if they want to learn and score in the course.

Work Cited