Student Teachers' Lived Experiences of an ODeL Flipped Instructional Design

Student Teachers' Lived Experiences of an ODeL Flipped Instructional Design

Micheal M. van Wyk (University of South Africa, South Africa)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/IJOPCD.2020100102
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In recent decades, research studies on the flipped class pedagogy strategy have shown significant educational benefits in student learning across subjects and contexts. This investigation determines the extent to which the ODeL flipped instructional design enhances student teachers' pedagogical content knowledge of economics. An explanatory mixed-methods design, a self-designed online survey, and blogs were employed for data collection. This article reported positive experiences of students exposed to the educational benefits of flipped class as a digital pedagogy to learn how to teach the subject. Furthermore, social interaction, building relationships, and student learning about the types of sources used to learn how to teach economics are vital for the success of the strategy. Finally, it contributes methodologically to the validation and reliability of an online data collection instrument for future data collection purposes. The findings of this study are limited to a small group of student teachers in the course Teaching Methodology of Economics.
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The knowledge economy showed a drastic shift and an increase in technology-driven teaching approaches to support student learning. The rationale for this shift by universities’ management was serious concerns of low first-year undergraduate student throughput rate and a huge increase in the drop-out rate of forty percent which places a huge burden on their budgets. Another factor that influenced this shift is that institutions of higher learning in South Africa began to start with curriculum transformation strategies. These renewal transformative curriculum strategies focus on technology-integrated teaching and learning approaches into the existing curricula, and in particular at the University of South Africa (UNISA), as an open distance e-learning (ODeL) institution. The University’s tuition policy provided clear directives for the implementation of a blended learning approach. To implement this approach, academics were exposed to different disruptive teaching approaches. These different technology-integrated technologies were implemented by the Institute for Open Distance Learning for professional development (IODL). From these in-service empowering sessions, academics in the various colleges started sessions using technology-integrated teaching tools namely, video conferencing, webinars and flipping the lecture rooms for an increase in student online participation.

As part of the college of education curriculum transformation strategy and progress on curriculum renewal and development, the author saw the opportunity and the educational benefits to venture into the flipped class teaching approach. The flipped class approach prompted the researcher to investigate the “what, why, how and where” of implementing this phenomenon in the Teaching Methodology of Economics in an ODeL context. Originally, the flipped instructional approach was coined the “inverted class” (Large & Platt, 2000), later the “flipped class” (Bergamn & Sam, 2000) as a teaching and learning approach that the teacher must plan, through intended, meaningful in-class and out-of-class activities to stimulate an active learning environment. The majority of research published on flipped class emerged in the areas of traditional face-to-face (F2F) contact (Zappe, Leicht, Messner, Litzinger, & Lee, 2009; Alvarez 2011; Steed 2012; Bergman & Sam, 2014Zainuddin, 2018) and blended learning environments (Graham, 2013; Talley & Scherer 2013; Elmaadaway, 2018; Lo & Hew, 2018; Shih, Liang, & Tsai, 2019) – and, to a lesser extent, in the distance education (Liu, & Zhang, 2018) and ODeL context (van Wyk, 2018). A desktop systematic scoping review approach (Arksey & O'Malley, 2005; Levac, Colquhoun & O'Brien, 2010; Chung & Hwang, 2019) was used to explore search engines and databases that showed that a plethora of studies was conducted on flipping the class as a digital pedagogy, but to a lesser extent in an ODeL context. Previous studies have reported that the flipped classroom pedagogy approach showed excellent educational benefits for student learning (van Wyk, 2018; Elmaadaway, 2018; Chung & Hwang, 2019). With regard to the higher education sector, teacher education programs, in particular, have started rethinking curricula over the past five years by employing more teaching-integrated technologies into pedagogy (van Wyk, 2018; Liu, & Zhang, 2018). In addition, the author views this as an opportunity for flipping the online class in an ODeL context. Therefore, further research on flipped class is needed to validate the educational benefits of an online e-learning environment. Therefore, what is not yet clear is the impact of the flipped class pedagogy on student performances in economics in an ODeL context.

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