In the last article, How do you create a perfect blend of the various learning components?, we learnt a little about the various blended learning models. This article will focus on the Flipped Learning model. So, what are the features of the Flipped Learning model and how is it different from a basic blended learning design? Do you remember this chart?
The Flipped Learning is a part of the Rotation Model, a subset of the blended learning. Before delving into the characteristics of the Flipped Learning, let us revisit the underlying principles of the Rotation Model learnt in the last article.
In the Rotation model, learning delivery rotates between different modalities of learning, at least one of which is administered online. Usually, there is a fixed schedule or types of activity designed for the learners, either through a system or by a trainer. The activities could range from group discussion to an individual online learning with everything in between.
The design for this type of blend could be primarily a traditional brick and mortar learning, along with an online component for research and to complete the assignments. Depending on the blend of traditional and online activities in the course, this model has subsets like station rotation, lab rotation, flipped learning and individual rotation.
What is flipped classroom? Is it different from the Flipped Learning? What is the importance of the Flipped Learning model? Let us dig further.
The Flipped Learning
The Flipped Learning reverses the traditional classroom methodology, where lectures are taken at home where as activities are conducted in school. In simple words, you can define it as “school work at home and homework at school.” It is a pedagogical approach of replacing a group learning space, like a classroom, with an individual learning space, like online, self-paced learning. Here, the concepts and instructions move to the individual learning space and the dynamic elements, such as activities, project work, and interactive exercises are conducted in a group learning space like a classroom or a workshop. The educators encourage the learners to view lectures online, at their own pace. These could be podcasts or video lectures posted online by the educators.The educators may add some peer discussions or online interactions as a learning component.
At times, the term flipped classroom is interchangeably used with the Flipped Learning. However, a flipped classroom may or may not be specifically designed. Often, the educators flip a class of a brick and mortar learning, instructing the learners to read certain texts or watch certain videos, and/or conduct the related research. In contrast, the Flipped Learning is not accidental. It is not conducted depending on an educator’s mood. The Flipped Learning is defined, specific, and designed on the specific learning philosophy, intended to meet the expected learning outcomes.
Significance of a Flipped Learning
In a classroom, a learner might be focused on capturing and noting the educator’s message, missing the significant points and their import. More time is spent in transcribing the lectures than on comprehension. In contrast, a pre-recorded lecture or online podcast/video gives a learner more control to pause, or re-run the recording, leading to a better comprehension.
In organisations and corporates, the Flipped Learning is used as a blend in various important events. The executive town halls can use Flipped model by recording and sharing the boring numbers and presentations on high-level performance review ahead of time with the attendees,leaving more time for the executives to have strategy discussions that may have a real impact.
All onboarding and leadership development programs can be flipped.Here, the workshop will focus on knowing the new recruits or learning the ropes of the designated roles. The online elements of the Flipped Learning are used for delivering the history of the organisation and the organisational charts; or learning the theory of the various models, which are then practised in the workshop.
Organisational training programs on JAVA and Asp.net can use this technique. Even sales training can use the blend of learning, with lectures on products in a podcast/video and sales pitches and query handling as role play activities in the workshop.
Benefits of a Flipped Learning
So, why is the Flipped Learning becoming popular? In this model:
- The learning is controlled by the learner. The online lectures can be taken by the learners at the location and time of their choosing, in their preferred dosage and at a pace suited to their learning style and/or capacity.There are no worries of missing a lecture, as the lesson can be repeated as many times. There are a fewer distractions or interruptions, allowing more concentrated learning, especially when preparing for exams.
- The learning is shared through collaboration. The learners can work as teams and collaborate their experiences. The online projects and discussions are a part of the self-paced or the online component of this model.
- The learning is more efficient. It is inexpensive and the educators can create videos or lectures with a little investment. The repeat value of these lectures over the years trumps the cost of making them. If a lesson is taught by more than one educator, the learners have access to all styles and material, resulting in better comprehension of the subject. Self-paced lectures leave more time for classroom practice, brainstorming, and project work.
- The learning becomes less frustrating. The flipping of lectures creates more time for completing activities and exercises during face-to-face sessions. The educators have more time to explain the concepts and exercises, reducing the frustration associated with learning, thereby, creating better learning ambience for the learners. Classrooms or workshops become the place for reiterating concepts, enabling learning, and providing instant feedback with opportunities for improvements.The Flipped Learning results in better learning statistics.
Limitations of a Flipped Learning
There could be downsides to this model. These impeding aspects are:
- Acceptance: The Educators may not like the model for two reasons – difficulty in accepting the unconventional approach to training; the effort and time required for recording the lectures and creating the online forum may not appear worthwhile. The learners may miss the face-to-face lectures and may undermine the importance of hands-on workshops or interactive part of the model.
- Access: Digitised part of learning may not be easily accessible to all the learners from various social strata. Unless special cyber rooms and other free resources are made available to the learners, this model, with all its good intentions, is bound to remain limited, or fail.
- Preparation and Participation: This is a matter of trust. The learners may not be willing and/or honest in taking the learning seriously. The educators should be willing to spare no effort in making the lectures engaging. This would require a diligent effort and adeptness from both the involved parties.
How to Create a Flipped Learning?
The educators and the teachers have been working for centuries, or perhaps millenniums, to perfect learning models. It is no surprise that we have numerous models on instructions and training, each an attempt to better the existing theory or philosophy. Also, it is not an accident that many models or learning theories, at best, end up being a blend of the existing ones. The focus is to address the learning styles of learners that could be a combination of visual, auditory, kinaesthetic-tactile and their various sub-divisions.
A Flipped Learning can be created to address all of these learning styles.
- Create a lecture video. A lecture video will address the visual and auditory learning style along with kinaesthetic-tactile for note takers.
- Create an online discussion forum for learners to collaborate and discuss their findings.
- Conduct a workshop or classroom for activities or project work. This will support all learning styles, addressing Dale’s Cone of Learning Experiences at many levels.
At the end of the day, it is important to measure the needle movement in learning and compare various models to find the best match for your learners. It is also imperative to monitor the level of acceptance of the chosen learning method. A blended approach is universally accepted and most effective way of learning. However, finding the right blend is key for successful learning. A Flipped Learning uses multiple modes, exploiting the best of multiple methods –brick and mortar, self-paced online and collaborative.
By Sarika Nanda
Sarika is a blogger, a writer, instructional designer and corporate trainer. She is a seasoned professional in the eLearning space, consults for various global organizations. She likes sharing and discussing best practices for improving learner engagement and learning outcomes at workplaces.