Flipping. Where will it land?

Flipping is the practice of introducing concepts before a session and using the session for structured, guided active learning.

Flippers on a diver's feet emerging from the sea

Flipping is the practice of introducing concepts before a session and using the session for structured, guided active learning.

In 2020 Strelan and colleagues published a meta-analysis of 198 studies comparing flipped and traditional classrooms, almost all in higher education and with a combined total of 33,678 students. To identify circumstances in which the effects of flipping on learning are strongest, they coded these studies for several moderators including discipline, pre-engagement activities, assessment, small group size and same or different educator.

If you only read one thing:

One of their findings was that even minimal components of flipping can bring moderately positive effects. They attribute this to educators’ efforts to clarify the intended learning outcomes and nature of the activities that happen in the timetabled sessions.

But since timetabled sessions are generally few and fleeting, it helps to keep thinking about ways to scaffold self-paced learning. The following two readings offer strategies to prompt students to deepen their learning from materials by mentally reorganising the new information and integrating it with existing knowledge.

Optional readings:

Some questions to think about:

  1. What are your theories about why the positive effects of flipping were stronger in Humanities and Engineering, and weaker in IT and Mathematics?
  2. The pre-class engagement activities didn’t have much of an effect on learning, maybe because the in-class activities were successful. However, structured, personalised, guided active learning seems to be key. What are your ideas for strategies to promote generative learning from materials, either self-paced or during sessions?
  3. What is missing, what unanswered questions do you still have, or what questions would you expect from skeptical colleagues?

Bonus link: Wake Forest University student workload estimator.

Photo by Danielle Bouchard on Unsplash.

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