Flipping classrooms has become a popular pursuit in education. The concept of “flipped learning” moves direct instruction from the classroom to the learner’s own space, allowing for more practice time, one-on-one observation, and interactivity when learners get together with the instructor in class.
Organizations like the non-profit Khan Academy, which makes 2,500+ free videos available to anyone at any time, are leading this revolution in learning. This video featuring educator and flipped learning pioneer Aaron Sams gives a great overview of the concept as he used it in his classroom.
The Flipped Learning Network breaks this approach down into four pillars. (I’ll summarize here, but be sure to check out the complete guidelines on their website too.) The instructor can use these guidelines to flip a single lesson or an entire instructional approach:
- Flexible environment: Design space and timeframes for student interaction and reflection; observe and help students as needed; provide various ways to learn and master content.
- Learning culture: Take the focus off the teacher; let students engage with each other through meaningful activities; make activities available to all learners and give feedback.
- Intentional content: Focus on concepts in direct instruction that learners explore on their own; create or organize relevant content (usually videos) for learners; differentiate for accessibility and relevancy.
- Professional educator: Observe learners and be available to them for individual, small group, or class feedback as needed; observe learners and provide assessment; record data to design future instruction; collaborate with other instructors.
So what can the business world learn from this model used in progressive schools?
It’s all about shifting focus from simply receiving information to demonstrating what’s been learned. Here are some ideas for getting started:
- Make a conscious effort to shift away from the lecture. We all know what too much lecture-based training leads to. Instead of making the face-to-face time all about listening and taking notes, make the lecture content available in brief videos or elearning segments that your learners watch before attending the class. With the ability to pause, rewind, and skip ahead, online learning gives learners more control over how they choose to experience the lecture.
- When creating the design for your learners, genuinely keep the focus on what the learner needs to do as a result of the training, not what the learner should know.
- Design your classroom experience with plenty of open-ended situations. Invite the learners to be part of discovering or building solutions.
- Create meaningful activities and projects for learners to work on during face-to-face time; the more clearly connected to their jobs, the better.
- Be available to observe and provide feedback on the spot as learners are working on their activities.
We’ll be focusing on the concept of flipped learning during our next Collaborative Learning Network session on April 2. It’s free and open to anyone in the learning and development community who’s interested, but an RSVP is required.
The flipped learning model has plenty of promise in the business world. How many of you have used it, and what were your results?