In spite of all the efforts of countless educators, the passive model of learning persists. Flipped Learning has emerged as the “easy button” to move classes, schools, and districts from passive to active learning. Flipped Learning is not just another teaching strategy, but rather, the meta-strategy that supports all others.
Flipped Learning is often thought of as static and fraught with misconceptions. Many people believe that Flipped Learning is just that thing with the videos. Though many flipped educators use video, it is not inherently about the videos. Rather, it is a pedagogical approach that maximizes the face-to-face time in the classroom.
Exploring 4 types of Flipped Learning
In a quest to maximize teacher-student time, educators have perfected what started as just an urgent need to adapt to a new era, where technology became a medium for education.
Now, the Flipped Classroom is not just a concept, it's the way teachers reach their students more effectively, allowing them to develop at their own learning speed and including modern ICT tools in the process.
Educators have adapted the already traditional Flipped Learning to meet the needs of different students, with different abilities and skills and different degrees of knowledge, going through different stages of the approach. So, let's explore the four types of Flipped Learning.
This strategy implies a perfect flip between what we call classwork and homework. What happens first is the instruction phase which takes place at home. The concepts the teacher wants students to know are provided in digital format for the learner to study at home. Teachers can use videos — original or found online — presentations, blogs and so on. These materials are uploaded on an LMS which students and teachers both have access to and through which the instruction phase occurs.
The second step is changing the classroom activities from mainly front-faced instruction to activities designed to reinforce knowledge, like projects, collaboration or discussion. In this stage, the teacher is merely a facilitator helping students to practice what they've learned at home. Thus, students take control of their own learning while teachers use valuable class time for providing support through practice and exploration.
The in-class flip
As a consequence to the concerns raised by the Traditional Flip, which saw students not have access to the internet or lacking a device, or students not even watching the videos or studying the materials at home altogether, the need to flip the flipped classroom appeared.
By bringing the flip in the classroom, these issues were addressed through station work. This means students work individualized activities in themed stations according to their needs. When doing so teachers have different pathways they can use in the learning process:
- Simple sequence — creating beforehand stations for groups of students to rotate to, managing all the activities in order.
- Mixed sequence — students attending stations only if needed.
- Looped sequence — students can start at any station and rotate until they close the loop.
- Half n' half sequence — half of the students work with flipped content and the other half receives teacher support, then they switch stations.
- No stations sequence — students can work solo, with a partner or in groups.
The benefits are immense as teachers are sure the materials have been studied by everyone (at home or in class), all students have access to a device (which remain safe at school) and teachers can provide instant feedback for instruction understanding and for practice.
There are some drawbacks though, especially with teachers having more than one class per day which does not allow students to transition through all stations in an hour. The solution could be maintaining the stations for the course of one week with preset goals for all students to reach by the end of the period.
Are you wondering why it is called mastery flipped classroom? Well, because it stands for students meeting at least 75% of the requirements or else they have to repeat the whole program. The basis for this method is called differentiated learning. It provides students the possibility to achieve goals according to their learning ability speed. This innovative method encourages students to become masters of their own knowledge.
Learning occurs through the use of videos created by teachers and embedded on an LMS based on which students can build upon the conceptual foundation the videos provide, through scaffolding, group work and teacher support.
Using this approach gives students the opportunity to show their understanding and how accountable, responsible and autonomous they are. Students have a clearer picture of what they know and what they lack and at the same time teachers can offer the necessary remediation during class time.
Lecture time is replaced by follow-up activities with the teacher helping students apply the concepts studied at home.
To be able to measure the mastery level, students have to go through some checkpoints at their own speed, but they all have to take a test at a preset date to make sure everyone remains on track.
Mastery learning got attention through Bloom in the 60's. According to his theories, anyone can master any content given enough time and support. It has been proven that 80% of students learn the content with mastery learning and only 20% of them through traditional learning. The flipped mastery approach gives students the opportunity to study at their own speed, but towards the same goals.
Flipped Learning 3.0
This is a new approach based on the idea that learning is not static, but it involves interaction, engagement and retention.
Flipped Learning pioneer, Jon Bergmann, a teacher who is also on the advisory board of Ted education, has helped create a global movement with Flipped Learning 3.0 referring to it as a meta-strategy evolving due to research, innovation the class space and technology.
This new alternative to the traditional Flipped Classroom is based on the following ideas:
- A shift in teachers' mindset about how face-to-face time can be used more effectively in class.
- A pedagogical change that ensures students that teachers are prepared and have the right qualification to apply this new method.
- A universal involvement of every stakeholder into getting students engaged in active learning with parents especially understanding that through this new approach, teachers have more one-on-one time with the students.
- Technology and the simple tools it can provide for the flipped classroom are essential in giving students independence in their learning.
- A gradual development of this approach in class, which appears because it takes time to implement the changes.
- The need to adapt teacher evaluation standards to the flipped environment.
- Training teachers to practise this approach and getting the certification for their work.
On pains and solutions
Some drawbacks may appear when implementing any one of these approaches to the flipped classroom. For instance, there may be issues concerning internet and device access for some students, which can hinder the learning process, but which can be overcome by sharing the existing resources or allowing time in class to view the materials.
Another reason for discouragement might be the fact that as teachers you have to prepare in advance the materials, usually videos, which is a laborious process. The good news, though, is that if you don't want to make your own videos, you can always go online to search through a plethora of resources. Just keep in mind the copyright rules.
If you do decide to make your own videos, you can make your work easier by using a variety of apps that will guarantee a positive feedback from your students and, also, the outcome you expect. Quizlet, PearDeck, EdPuzzle, EdCanon, Zaption, Verso, Techsmith Relay, Adobe Presenter 10, Microsoft Office Mix are some of the best go-to apps when it comes to creating videos, introducing pop-ups with questions, monitoring students' participation, etc.
No matter which app you use, remember that using an LMS will give you the possibility to store any videos you make, being able to use it time and time again. So, while it may seem time consuming at first, having the teaching material uploaded on your LMS will create a database of resources for you and your future students which inherently implies more available time to prepare classroom follow-up activities.
Given the fact that videos are the basic source for learning in the flipped classroom, teachers have to prepare them beforehand. They need to be made comprehensible and it's advisable to compress their size up to 80% without visible loss of quality. This comes with obvious effort, but the comforting thing is that once done, these videos are available forever.
Although students learn at their own pace, teachers can set a time and a limit for watching the videos in order to organize students' learning process and ensure goals are achieved.
The flipped classroom and flipped learning are not new concepts in the US, but they are beginning to spread around the globe fast, in a constant need to find the best solution for students in their self development process. Whichever type is suitable for your students, you need to consider a lot of analysis of every factor involved and a thorough planning of the steps and materials required on the way.