What is the flipped classroom?
The flipped classroom is a teaching methodology that has gained a lot of popularity in recent years, particularly in blended learning. It involves reversing the traditional approach to teaching and learning. In a traditional classroom, content is introduced by the teacher in the lesson. In the flipped classroom, learners study course materials outside of the class on their own. When learners attend class, they collaborate with peers, take part in creative tasks, and receive personalized feedback from the trainer.
Traditionally, students engaged in the lower levels of learning of Bloom’s learning taxonomy, such as remembering and understanding, during class time. The higher levels of learning were reserved for homework activities completed outside of class. However, the flipped classroom model turns this paradigm on its head. The learners complete lower-level cognitive tasks before class, leaving them free to participate in higher-order learning activities like analyzing, evaluating, and creating in the classroom. It is about giving the classroom back to the learners and empowering them to take ownership of their own learning.
Figure 1 – Bloom’s Taxonomy
What are the advantages?
The idea is to shift the focus of classroom time from lecturing students to giving them more active collaboration on real-world tasks. This assumes that direct instruction is not the best use of valuable classroom time. The advantage of learning before the class is that it frees up the time spent with the trainer for more practical, hands-on tasks. Learners can actively engage with the content, participate in real-life, problem-solving activities, and apply what they have learned in the digital preparation. This approach allows for a more interactive learning experience, with students taking on a more actionable role in the learning process.
Flipping the classroom also introduces more flexibility as learners can access and review course materials at their own pace, wherever and whenever they want, and they can focus on areas where they may need more support. It is also a benefit for students who have difficulties traveling to a physical classroom, which can include people living in more remote locations.
Another advantage of the flipped classroom is that it promotes greater learner engagement and accountability. It is thought of as being self-directed and learner-centered since students are responsible for engaging with the course materials before class. This shift in responsibility leads to higher levels of intrinsic motivation, more meaningful learning experiences in which learners self-construct knowledge. This also helps learners to develop higher-level critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
As most of the preparation takes place using digital resources, lack of easy access to online learning components can cause problems. There may be a digital divide that discriminates against people coming from poorer socio-economic backgrounds. Access to the platform could also be an issue, so there need to be solid lines of communication, as support is often required.
Time and motivation
The length of online assignments needs to be realistic as attention fades during digital learning. The learners expect micro-learning possibilities like videos, fun games, and quizzes to keep their attention levels high. Some learners may have difficulty developing the high level of learner responsibility required for self-directed learning. This will depend on how they have been conditioned to learn in the past.
The need to complete online assignments must be clearly communicated before the lessons. This message must be reinforced sometimes to keep up high levels of learner engagement. Learner expectations need to be carefully managed, as some learners may need to be continually reminded of their obligation to prepare for lessons.
How can content be delivered digitally?
The flipped classroom can be implemented through a variety of digital tools and resources, such as online videos, multiple choice, gap-fill dropdown, drag and drop, etc. Digital pre-learning is the most effective way of delivering the early steps in the learning process. This is particularly effective in the language classroom, as language acquisition and practice can be easily condensed into a sequence of digital learning activities. Removing time-intensive acquisition and practice steps gives the live session a new communicative dynamic that is much more learner-centered and needs-focused. The trainer can focus on role-plays, case studies, and communicative tasks that focus on producing the target language.
How does Learnship Implement the flipped classroom?
The Learnship flagship product, Sprint Business Skills, is a great example of a flipped classroom approach, and it follows the key principles of Blended Learning. This product gives learners the opportunity to prepare for live, teacher-led sessions by completing digital assignments that cover the essential target language and functions of the module. By completing these assignments before the live sessions, learners can familiarize themselves with the new concepts and language well before their lesson. When they log in to the live sessions, they are well-prepared, have strong background knowledge, and are equipped to participate actively in communication. This transforms the live sessions into lively task-based discussions, minimizing unnecessary teacher talk time, and maximizing the more valuable student talk time. The trainer becomes more of a facilitator of learning, providing the necessary guidance, instructional scaffolding, and feedback.
In addition, the use of digital prework also enables learners to progress at their own pace and revisit the material as needed. Learners can review and practice the language covered in the digital assignments outside of the live sessions, which helps reinforce their learning and develop their language skills more effectively. The learner also has access to continuous feedback, giving them the tools to take charge of their own learning.
How does Learnship address problem areas associated with the flipped classroom?
Assignments are designed according to sound instructional design principles, maximizing learner engagement through microlearning, instructional scaffolding, and a continual feedback loop. Learnship also manages the expectation of students through continual interventions from our language specialists and customer support. Access on the platform is designed to be as user-friendly as possible over a range of devices.
Overall, the flipped classroom is a powerful teaching methodology that can transform the learning experience for both students and instructors. By promoting active learning, collaboration, and critical thinking, it provides a more effective and engaging way for students to develop the language skills and other competencies required in today’s corporate environments.