As we are going to explore this week, the ‘flipped classroom’ is one example of a blended learning approach. Reflect on your previous experiences of ‘flipped classroom’ or other blended learning approaches, as student and / or educator, and share and discuss your examples with your PGCHE colleagues.
1. What previous experiences have you had of ‘flipped classroom’ or other blended learning approaches, as educator and / or student?
My experience on the Falmouth Flexible MA was, I think, an excellent example of blended learning. Each weekly module followed a similar format/structure which included and intro video on the subject, a live lecture/seminar, a weekly forum topic to discuss with peers, a weekly webinar where students would discuss work in smaller groups and then also weekly reading, reflections in a CRJ and the creation of our own body of work. Some live lectures would be interactive inviting students to contribute and discuss that week’s topic/images and these for me were the elements of the learning where I really felt like I learnt the most.
2. How was the students’ learning supported by this approach?
At first, there were so many elements/components to each week’s topic, it felt a little overwhelming coming into the course and I’ve certainly discovered that new students starting on the MA (as I’m teaching on it now) are experiencing the same level of overwhelm. However, once settled into the structure it became evident which elements I gained the most from and I could prioritise those in my own learning schedule. I soon found that the forums didn’t provide much in the way of learning and the weekly lectures and webinars were rich in information that I could both learn from and use in my practice. It did mean that I could allocate my time and weight it towards what I felt was most beneficial but I guess this also leads to students perhaps not fully engaging in all elements of the course content (such as the forums).
The Flipped Classroom
The flipped classroom is a pedagogical model in which the typical lecture and homework elements of a course are reversed. It encompasses any use of technology to leverage the learning in the classroom, so the lecturer can spend more time interacting with students rather than spending time lecturing on basic concepts students can learn on their own. It is important to understand that what makes the flipped class work is not the technology itself but the fact that it upends the ‘stand and deliver’ lecture model of teaching. Lately, this is most commonly done with custom video or audio podcasts (or ‘webcasts’) that students view online, outside of class time. So, the flipped classroom can be considered a type of blended learning because the model allows students to choose the location and time, as they receive content and instruction online.
The real value added is in repurposing class time into a workshop where students can inquire about lecture content; test their skills in applying new knowledge; work together to solve problems and grapple with material; interact with one another in hands-on activities while receiving feedback from teachers and peers. In this way, class time can be more fruitfully utilised to encourage deeper learning.
The notion of a flipped classroom draws on such concepts as active learning, student-centered learning, student engagement, blended design and podcasting.
TASK 1 :Produce and Evaluate Ideas for Flipping Classrooms
Think about the micro-teach session you did in last module’s Assessment 1, and / or the larger face-to-face teaching session in which that micro-teach session took place. Consider:
- How you might ‘flip’ that particular class, given what you have just learned about the flipped classroom approach.
- The learning outcomes that you want your students to achieve.
- How you could put some elements (eg any content delivery done in class) of the learning activity online instead, for students to do outside the class
- How the design of the learning activities within the class could change, to take advantage of the time and space freed up.
- How the face-to-face and online elements could be blended together to support the students’ learning so they can achieve the learning outcomes more effectively, and gain a better learning experience.
You may also consider other face-to-face classes that you currently teach, or have taught in the past.
If you teach predominantly online, an alternative approach to this exercise is to select an online learning activity and consider how you could complement it with a face-to-face session – thus producing a flipped classroom. Consider how this helps your students to achieve the learning outcomes more effectively.
TASK 2: Reflect & Produce
We would like you to:
- Choose a specific face-to-face teaching session you currently do or have done before, in your own teaching practice and local context. As explained above, you could choose either
- Your face-to-face micro-teach session that you did in the last module, and / or the larger session in which that was located; or
- Another face-to-face session you currently deliver or have previously delivered; or
- If necessary, choose an online learning activity / set of activities you deliver, and add and integrate a face-to-face session with that design, to produce a flipped classroom approach.
- Consider the different elements of the current design of that teaching session – aims, learning outcomes, learning activities, resources needed, how it links with the wider programme of study, differentiation, etc.
- Consider what you have learned from what different practitioners have said about the flipped classroom approach this week.
- Produce a flipped classroom: apply what you have learnt about the flipped classroom approach to produce initial draft ideas for how you could adapt the design of your selected teaching session.
TASK 3: Reflection
For your ongoing weekly reflection for your learning, and to help with your work for the final Assessment 2: Reflective Blog submission at the end of the module, please produce this week’s reflection for your Critical Reflective Journal (CRJ).
Spend a few moments looking back at your own and your colleagues’ contributions on this week’s forums. Look over your notes from materials you read this week, and any further reading and independent research.
Consider what you have learned this week about flipped classroom approaches to support students’ learning.
Check this week’s learning outcomes (in Introduction) to consider your level of achievement of these:
- To what extent do you think you have achieved each of the learning outcomes for Week 2? If you think there is room for you to achieve these more fully, what could you do to achieve that?
- What have you learned this week regarding the use of flipped classroom approaches to support student learning?
- What does all this suggest about the ways you and your colleagues are currently supporting your students’ learning, in your own practice and teaching context? What is good about these, and how could they be further developed in the future?
- How has your understanding of the use of flipped classroom approaches changed from doing this week’s topic and activities?
- How did you learn this?
- What supported your learning?
- What has challenged you?
- What has surprised you?
- How does this relate to what has been proposed in the different sources of scholarship you have read? Which specific sources and what claims in those does this relate to?
Preparing for blended e-Learning, Allison Littlejohn; Chris Pegler. 2007, Routledge, London Chapters Chapter 3: Devising blended e-learning activities, pages 49 – 69.
Chapter 4: Documenting e-learning blends, pages 70 – 78.
Read (optional) Chapter 5: Choosing e-tools for blended activities, pages 94 – 133
Blended learning and online tutoring: a good practice guide, Janet MacDonald, 2016, Gower: Aldershot, England.
Chapter 11: Course design for blended learning, pages 128 – 133 and
Chapter 3: Tutor’s perceptions of effective intervention, pages 21-31