If we were to look at the evolution curve of learning strategies, we would see tall spikes in the last few decades. Mostly empowered by technology, learning has acquired new shape in the 21st century. The concept of flipped learning which took form in the 90s is widely experimented as an instructional strategy now. Flipped learning which is a form of blended learning reverses the traditional mode of instruction, the direct instruction moves from group learning space to the individual learning space, and the resulting group space is transformed into a dynamic, interactive learning environment where the educator guides students as they apply concepts and engage creatively on the subject matter.
The bulk of the learning material is delivered as homework in form of text and multimedia, students watch the lectures at home and collaborate online with peers and teachers. The classroom hours are used in activities that forge concept engagement and deep understanding of the topics under the guidance of a teacher.
Flipped learning was brought into popular attention in 2007 by chemistry teachers Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams of Woodland Park High School in Colorado. They recorded and posted live lectures online for students who missed classes, the experiment resulted in positive learning outcomes and they were asked to speak to teachers around the country about their methods. The online lectures soon started spreading, teachers began using online videos and video podcasts to teach students outside class, reserving class time for collaborative work and concept mastery exercises.
In 1993, Alison King published “From Sage on the Stage to Guide on the Side,” in which she focuses on the importance of the use of class time for the construction of meaning rather than information transmission. The idea gave impetus to the fact that teachers don’t have to simply dispense information in the classroom, but they can be guide to students’ activities which engage them in deep comprehension of the concepts. The success of the idea relies on the assumption that concepts which are explained on the multimedia powered learning materials are understood or at least speculated upon by the students, an assumption which is truer in this age than before – learners are getting smarter.
Education technology and activity learning are two key components of flipped learning, they both influence student learning environment in fundamental ways. Online learning platforms like iPublishCentral Learn can massively contribute to the implementation of the strategy, the platform accommodates and delivers multimedia powered learning material replete with ancillaries and question banks, it also gives actionable insights on student performances, helping teachers develop strategies to drive enhanced learning outcomes.
Salman Khan of Khan Academy was the most recognizable contributor to flipped learning, the academy which is synonymous with flipped classroom provides online videos on various subjects which are used by learners as learning material at home. MEF University, a non-profit private university in Istanbul is the first university in the world that has adopted the “flipped classroom” educational model university-wide.
Flipped classroom model gives more control to students, as they learn in their own pace and comfort and collaborate with peers, it supports students who need more time to understand the concepts by allowing them their own pace. Parents can monitor their children and have an idea of the quality of their lessons, they are also more prepared to assist their children. However there have been critics of flipped learning who argue that it creates a tech divide and segregates the students who might not have proper access to technology. Another argument is that it adds to the workload of teachers; the need to create lecture videos which require skill and time.
The tech divide in today’s world is getting narrower, with affordable computers and increasing bandwidth, this has created an advantage for tech based instruction strategies like flipped classroom. A lot of lecture videos are available on the web, all of them may not be preferable for academic learning but education departments can create guidelines and digital learning resources can be standardized and published like the traditional text books. With all the pros and cons, flipped classroom is still widely open to discussion, it might not have yet been proven how greatly it impacts learning outcomes but it certainly redefines the role of teachers and students, it helps move a classroom culture towards student construction of knowledge rather than the teachers having to impart the knowledge to students.