Flippin’ Learning not Classrooms

As I speak at educator conventions across the country, I have found the chorus of voices around the “flipped classroom” to be reaching a crescendo.  Indeed, it seems that to have a proposal accepted for presentation, the educator is advised to include some derivative of the word “flip” in the session title (Hint: Using “flippin” without the “g” is apparently more cool and increases the likelihood of your proposal acceptance by 50%–note example above).

On a more serious note, I find the conversation around the “flipped classroom” extremely engaging. Participating in presentations and dialogues around the “flipped classroom”, it is clear that educators possess very different definitions of what it means to be “flipped”. Most importantly, some educators are too quick to equate a “flipped classroom” with “flipped learning”. Sometimes, what appears to be labeled as “flipped” is really nothing more than repositioning where and when traditional didactic pedagogy might occur. What I find confusing is that we sometimes think that by simply changing the logistics of instruction, we will therefore improve pedagogy and outcomes.

In my opinion, conversations around the “flipped classroom” should really be focused on “flipped learning”. We might attempt to define this as a pedagogical approach that emphasizes at least two critical components in pursuit of the goal of student learning, not simply a different classroom structure:

  • Personalized Learning – Pedagogy that can be individualized and differentiated, that empowers self-regulation of learning towards the goal of high achievement via multiple trajectories.
  • Inquiry Based Learning – Exploration, questioning, and guided dialogue are the primary tools in this pedagogical approach as opposed to a pedagogy dominated by didactic instruction.

Basically, we are looking to increase the volume of active learning by driving up student engagement and personal investment in the activity of learning.

And this approach matters…

recent study of student performance in undergraduate STEM courses found that students in traditional lecture courses were 1.5 times more likely to fail than students in courses that supported active learning. The same study also found that student’s exam scores increased by 6% for those students in classrooms using an active learning pedagogy. Lesley completely agree’s with these statistics and has published journal articles which concur with this study.DobusinesssimulationgamesV2

So that next time you think about “flippin” your class, make sure that you are “flippin” the learning as well.




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