Inverted Learning Environments with Technology, Innovation and Flexibility: Student Experiences and Meanings

Inverted Learning Environments with Technology, Innovation and Flexibility: Student Experiences and Meanings

María-Soledad Ramírez-Montoya (Tecnologico de Monterrey, Mexico) and Darinka del Carmen Ramírez Hernández (Tecnológico de Monterrey, Monterrey, Mexico)
Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/JITR.2016010102
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Flexibility, technology and innovation can lead to challenging learning environments. The research question: What are students' meanings and experiences in inverted learning environments? The investigation methodology was mixed with three instruments applied to 568 students. Flexible environments, active learning and inverted learning were analyzed. Qualitative and quantitative data were triangulated with instruments, data and theory. The results indicated that (1) university students of flexible environments modified their schedules and learning locations; (2) active learning is related to students' meanings, and; (3) inverted learning experiences confirm that they find a source of learning not only in the teacher figure but also in their peers. Students mentioned learning from videos (77%) has the advantage of flexibility as well as technical problems (34%) as a disadvantage.
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Framework And Nature Of The Problem

The study was developed in a college that wishes to generate 21st century competencies in its students. Based on this vision, in 2013, the institution underwent substantial changes involving its internal organization, processes, structure, and learning methodologies.

When talking about learning environments, we do not refer only to a classroom where learning is promoted. A “learning environment” is a combination of many elements: material (such as architecture and equipment), cultural and social (promoting interaction, communication, and teamwork), time (includes planning and learning moments), and academic (also known as the syllabus) (Woolfolk, 2006). Ramírez (2015) mentions that there are many elements in learning environments that may or may not contribute to flexible learning environments.

The classrooms (Figure 1) were equipped with flexible technology and furniture that allow mobility and a change in organization. These changes allow students to interact with peers and teachers, which allows them the physical flexibility needed to apply teamwork strategies.

Figure 1.

Classrooms with flexible furniture


In the library, traditional areas intended for individual and silent work gave way to other spaces in which the furniture was flexible, encouraging teamwork in academic activities and interactions in “freer” spaces (Figure 2).

Figure 2.

Library with flexible spaces


Spaces that foster “creative ideas” were also generated. Students and teachers can be “in class” while generating projects outside the traditional classroom (Figure 3). These spaces are freely accessible, and students can choose their own times and functions.

Figure 3.

Innovaction gym


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