Flipped Learning: Teacher-Centered to Student-Centered

ISTE Standard for Coaches 4:3b “Establish trusting and respectful coaching relationships that encourage educators to explore new instructional strategies.”

The flipped learning approach has steadily grown in popularity, especially in the last two decades. There is increasing interest in the flipped classroom community which signifies that more and more educators have implemented some form of flipped learning. In 2014, Flipped Learning Network and Sophia Learning conducted a survey called “Growth in Flipped Learning: Transitioning the focus from teachers to students for educational success” (Yarbro et al., 2013). According to this survey, flipped learning was recognized by 96% of teachers, up from 74% in 2012 and 78% had flipped a lesson during the school year, another increase from 48% in 2012 (Yarbro et al., 2013).

Here are more numbers from the past several years (Priyanka Gupta, 2016):

  • 46% of teachers researched have been teaching for more than 16 years, but are moving towards flipped classrooms.
  • 96% of teachers who have flipped a lesson would recommend it to others.
  • 9 out of 10 teachers noticed an increase in student engagement.
  • 71% of teachers indicated that the flipped classroom strategy helped improve the grades of their students.
  • Of the teachers who do not flip their classroom lessons, 89% said that they would like to learn more about this strategy.

What do these numbers mean? What positive outcomes can be derived from a flipped learning approach? What makes flipped learning work? 

“Learning isn’t linear, and it isn’t easy. It’s strongest when it involves challenge, is collaborative, and is supported and celebrated along the way” (Dorr, 2015)

Definitions

“Flipped Learning is a pedagogical approach in which direct instruction moves from the group learning space to the individual learning space, and the resulting group space is transformed into a dynamic, interactive learning environment where the educator guides students as they apply concepts and engage creatively in the subject matter” (Flipped Learning Network, 2014a).

Steed (2012) describes flipped learning by comparing it to a traditional classroom model. In the traditional classroom model, teacher instruction, student assimilation of instruction content and student completion of activities take place during lesson time, and then homework is assigned outside of lesson time to help students consolidate what they have learned. In the flipped classroom model, Steed puts the teacher instruction, delivery of content and student assimilation as taking place outside of lesson time. Activities for students to strengthen assimilation of content, as well as teacher support for students take place during lesson time. Please see the table below:

Figure 1: Traditional Model and Flipped Classroom Model (Steed, 2012)

According to teachthought.com (2014), the flipped classroom is a type of blended learning as it utilizes both asynchronous learning and in-person learning. Simply put, “students are introduced to content at home and practice working through it at school” (teachthought.com, 2014). 

Remember the “I do, We do, You do” strategy?  I have used this countless times as a reliable teaching strategy in my classroom. Reverse that order and you get flipped learning (Schmidt and Ralph, 2016). 

Bārdule (2021) describes flipped learning as the harmonious combination of technology and active learning methods. Teachers use sound pedagogical principles and merge them with choice technological tools that are age-appropriate and meaningful. They use technology to prepare the work that students will engage with at home and organize rich learning activities in class that promote depth of understanding, consolidation of skills, collaboration, feedback and reflection. 

The Flipped Learning Global Collaborative, a coalition of teachers, technology professionals, education leaders and researchers in 49 countries, was started in 2016 with the purpose of facilitating the adoption of flipped learning around the world (About FLGI, n.d.). FLGI defines flipped learning this way:

“Flipped Learning is a framework that enables educators to reach every student. The Flipped approach inverts the traditional classroom model by introducing course concepts before class, allowing educators to use class time to guide each student through active, practical, innovative applications of the course principles” (About FLGI, n.d.).

Figure 2: Flipped Classroom (https://teach.ufl.edu/resource-library/flipped-classroom/)

What makes flipped learning work?

Here are the 4 pillars of FLIP Learning according to the Flip Learning Network ​​(Flipped Learning Network, 2014).  The short statements provided for each pillar help educators reflect and quickly assess how effective they are in ensuring these pillars are adhered to.

F – Flexible Environment

Teachers arrange and rearrange learning spaces to suit corresponding lessons or activities. Students may choose when and where they learn.  This flexibility sustains student engagement and promotes effective collaboration.

  • F.1 I establish spaces and time frames that permit students to interact and reflect on their learning as needed. 
  • F.2 I continually observe and monitor students to make adjustments as appropriate. 
  • F.3 I provide students with different ways to learn content and demonstrate mastery. 

L – Learning Culture

Flipped learning takes on a student-centered approach, where students are actively engaged in rich learning experiences. 

  • L.1 I give students opportunities to engage in meaningful activities without the teacher being central. 
  • L.2 I scaffold these activities and make them accessible to all students through differentiation and feedback.

I – Intentional Content

Teachers maximize classroom time by developing conceptual understanding among students.  They teach important and relevant content using active learning methods.

  • I.1 I prioritize concepts used in direct instruction for learners to access on their own. 
  • I.2 I create and/or curate relevant content (typically videos) for my students. 
  • I.3 I differentiate to make content accessible and relevant to all students. 

P – Professional Educator

The role of professional educators is even more demanding in a flipped classroom than in a traditional classroom setting. In a flipped classroom, educators continually interact with students and give them feedback. They also seek to improve their practice by being reflective and collaborating with colleagues.

  • P.1 I make myself available to all students for individual, small group, and class feedback in real time as needed. 
  • P.2 I conduct ongoing formative assessments during class time through observation and by recording data to inform future instruction. 
  • P.3 I collaborate and reflect with other educators and take responsibility for transforming my practice.
Figure 3: Pillars of Flipped Learning (Yarbro et al., 2013)

The terms flipped classroom and flipped learning, though used often together and somewhat interchangeably, do not mean the same thing. A flipped class or a flipped lesson does not necessarily lead to flipped learning, but to ensure that flipped learning takes place, these 4 pillars must be put into practice (Flipped Learning Network, 2014a).

Advantages and Disadvantages

Advantages 

  • Improved access to class content – students can access lessons at home and can pause and/or replay lessons when needed
  • Improved teacher and student interactions – teachers have more time to work with students to answer questions, clarify understanding, give feedback and  provide activities to solidify learning
  • Improved academic success for students – students receive more personalized support from teachers
  • More collaboration time among students
  • Increased student engagement
  • Consistent use of technology and digital tools to enhance and improve instruction

Disadvantages

  • Significant prep work by teachers, such as recording lessons and making videos (The Definition of the Flipped Classroom, 2014)
  • Varying types of digital devices and bandwidth for students (The Definition of the Flipped Classroom, 2014)
  • Increased screen time for students (The Definition of the Flipped Classroom, 2014)

Flipped learning in the elementary classroom

Flipped learning has been taking place in the elementary, secondary, and higher educational settings, though it can be more challenging to do it in an elementary classroom due to the age of students, their level of independence, the increase in screen time, and the general desire of students, especially in the younger grades, to be with their teachers (Hidayah & Mustadi, 2021). 

Nowadays, in this technology-rich learning environment, the use of digital tools is becoming more commonplace. The success of flipped learning hinges on two important elements: 1) to create meaningful work for students that is done outside of class time and 2) to plan and/or create active and developmentally appropriate activities to help students practice and extend their learning. With this in mind, teachers have to be mindful of diverse home situations and the different levels of access to technology. 

Conclusion

“Flipping is more about the mindset of putting attention on students’ learning and redirecting away from the teacher” (Toh et al., 2017). The essence of flipping a classroom is putting the students’ needs first and adjusting instruction to meet the needs of every learner in the classroom. Students learn to take responsibility for their own learning, while teachers continue to teach, guide, direct, assess and assist when necessary.

Resources

About FLGI. (n.d.). Flipped Learning Global Initiative: The Exchange. https://www.flglobal.org/about/

Bārdule, K. (2021). E-Learning Tools for the Flipped Learning in Elementary School. Baltic Journal of Modern Computing, 9(4). https://doi.org/10.22364/bjmc.2021.9.4.05

Blended & Flipped Learning: Case Studies in Malaysian HEIs. (2014). Centre for Teaching and Learning.

Buitrago, C. (2019, October 4). Flipping writing Q&A. http://crbuitrago.com

Dorr, E. (2015, November 4). How Administrators Can Design the Best Learning Experiences for Teachers – EdSurge News. EdSurge. https://www.edsurge.com/news/2015-11-04-how-administrators-can-design-the-best-learning-experiences-for-teachers

Doubet, A. (2015). Flipping the Elementary Classroom. Creative Educator. https://creativeeducator.tech4learning.com/2015/articles/In-Class-Flip

Flipped Learning International Definition. (n.d.). Flipped Learning Global Initiative: The Exchange. Retrieved July 25, 2022, from https://www.flglobal.org/international_definition/

Flipped Learning Network. (2014a). FLIP handout FNL Web. https://flippedlearning.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/FLIP_handout_FNL_Web.pdf

Flipped Learning Network. (2014b, March 12). Definition of Flipped Learning. Flipped Learning Network Hub. https://flippedlearning.org/definition-of-flipped-learning/

Priyanka Gupta. (2016, July 30). Some Interesting Statistics on Flipped Learning You Must Know. EdTechReview. https://edtechreview.in/data-statistics/2457-flipped-learning-classroom-statistics

Hidayah, L. R., & Mustadi, A. (2021). The Implementation of The Flipped Classroom for Early Grade Students in Elementary School. International Journal of Elementary Education, 5(1), 98–106. https://ejournal.undiksha.ac.id/index.php/IJEE/article/view/33151/18539

Schmidt, S. M.,P., & Ralph, D. L. (2016). The flipped classroom: A twist on teaching. Contemporary Issues in Education Research (Online), 9(1), 1. Retrieved from https://ezproxy.spu.edu/login

Steed, A. (2012). The flipped classroom. Teaching Business & Economics, 16(3), 9-11. Retrieved from https://ezproxy.spu.edu/login

​​The Definition Of The Flipped Classroom. (2014, January 16). TeachThought. https://www.teachthought.com/learning/definition-flipped-classroom/#:~:text=The%20flipped%20classroom%20was%20invented

Thomas, S. (2021). Embracing the Teaching Skill That Can Make 2021/22 A Great School Year. BAM Radio. https://www.bamradionetwork.com/track/sharpening-the-one-teaching-skill-that-can-make-or-break-your-2021-22-school-term/

Toh, T. S., Tengah, K. A., Shahril, M., Tan, A., & Leong, E. (2017). The Flipped Classroom Strategy: The Effects of Implementation at the Elementary School Level Mathematics Lessons. Proceeding of the 3rd International Conference on Education, 3, 186–197. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.17501/icedu.2017.3120

Yarbro, J., Arfstrom, K. M., McKnight, K., & McKnight, P. (2013). Extension of a Review of Flipped Learning [Review of Extension of a Review of Flipped Learning]. 1–20.

Yoshida, H. (2016). Perceived Usefulness of “Flipped Learning” on Instructional Design for Elementary and Secondary Education: With Focus on Pre-service Teacher Education. International Journal of Information and Education Technology, 6(6), 430–434. http://www.ijiet.org/vol6/727-R042.pdf

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2 Comments

  1. Thank you for a great post on the Flipped Classroom. I especially appreciated the quote you used in your conclusion about shifting focus from the teacher to the students. Having used flipped learning, I have found that the students are so much more invested in what we are learning. I hope your students enjoy this new approach.

  2. It is an enlightening post, Chelly. Educators can wisely implement this method by understanding the advantages and disadvantages of flipped learning. This teaching method encourages student engagement and promotes active learning in the classroom. Promoting flipped learning in elementary schools is encouraged to enable learners as the center of learning.

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