Designing Flipped Learning: Principles and Practices

Designing Flipped Learning: Principles and Practices

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2984-2.ch002


This chapter corresponds to the PLAN step in the P-D-S-A cycle. It presents principles and practices for flipped learning that have been refined over four years of research and in-class experience. Research has shown their use to hold promise for a triple win: students win because they are more satisfied in a flipped class; faculty win because more satisfied students are more engaged with their learning; and administrators win because more satisfied and engaged students are less likely to drop their classes. However, their use does not guarantee success, but it does constitute the best attempt at flipped learning based on current information we have at hand. These principles cover the preparation and use of out-of-class learning materials, the configuration of learning spaces conducive to interactive group learning activities, means of achieving effective collaboration within teams, the changed role of the instructor, and the design of quizzes and exams that are consistent with flipped learning. Together, this material constitutes the basis for the preparation of a flipped learning syllabus and course schedule.
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As described in Chapter 1, flipped learning is a new way of hierarchical learning. There is no prescription for how learning can be maximized at each level of the flipped hierarchy. But, the implementation of the P-D-S-A cycle prescribes a systematic process that starts with the best plan available for implementing flipped learning, and then improves upon it each successive time the course is taught. The best plan available consists of the instructor’s best efforts to:

  • 1.

    Design and develop out-of-class learning and materials.

  • 2.

    Design the learning space for the in-class IGL activities.

  • 3.

    Design the in class IGL activities.

  • 4.

    Achieve effective collaboration between students.

  • 5.

    Learn how to be a learning coach and consultant (“guide by the side” instead of “sage on stage”).

  • 6.

    Design relevant and appropriate assessments consistent with the flipped learning pedagogy.

In the remaining sections of this chapter, suggestions and ideas will be presented to accomplish the above objectives. These are not intended to be exhaustive. Hopefully, they will serve as a catalyst to stimulate the instructor’s imagination and create more and better ways to implement flipped learning. The important thing is to get started. The P-D-S-A cycle will provide guidance for what to do next.

Flipped learning requires coordination between the out-of-class activities, the in-class IGL activities, and the assessments. It also requires a high level of communication between students, their teams, and the instructors. In order to effectively organize and manage these, the existence of an institutional Learning Management System (LMS) is highly desirable. The activities described in this book have used Blackboard as the LMS.


Out-Of-Class Learning And Materials

Traditional classes require that students and instructors meet face-to-face at a scheduled time in a classroom setting so that the instructor can transfer information to students. Even though students are expected to come to class every period to receive information, their learning is assessed in exams that are administered three of four times per semester. Thus, while students receive information every class period, they do not have to demonstrate learning until an exam comes along. This encourages students to store information until it has to be processed into learning, typically taking place more often than not during “cramming” sessions or “all-nighters” just prior to an exam.

Flipped learning recognizes that research has shown that video lectures are as effective in transferring information as live lectures (Bishop & Verlegen, 2013; Hamdan et al., 2013) and that watching instructional videos improves student attitude, behavior, and performance (Herreid and Schiller, 2013). Thus, students are assigned video lectures to be watched prior to coming to class. The video lectures can be watched at the student’s convenience anytime, anywhere, and with anyone they wish.

When students who have enrolled in a flipped class for the first time are told that they will have to view videos of the lectures before coming to class (in lieu of homework), they often appear skeptical. To help overcome their skepticism, it is useful to emphasize the following points:

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