The term 'flipped classroom' refers to a pedagogical model in which traditional lecture and homework elements are reversed. (Lage et al., 2000)
What is a flipped classroom?
The 'flipped classroom' has been defined (by, for example, Abeysekera & Dawson, 2014) as a set of pedagogical approaches that seek to reduce student cognitive load and increase student motivation and engagement by:
- moving most information-transmission teaching out of class,
- using class time for learning activities that are both active and social, and
- requiring students to complete pre- and/or post-class activities to fully benefit from in-class work.
Thus, although there is no single model for the flipped classroom, the implementation of a flipped classroom approach involves requiring students to engage with interactive content focussing on key concepts prior to attending class, so that during class time they can participate in collaborative activities that clarify concepts and contextualise knowledge through application, analysis and problem solving (Karanicolas & Snelling, 2010).
The flipped classroom has become an increasingly popular approach to reimagining student learning opportunities; particularly since the widespread adoption of online learning environments at universities has facilitated student access to content and enabled students to study independently of the traditional classroom (Sankey & Hunt, 2013).
Why use a flipped classroom?
Contemporary educational research has consistently found that if students have the opportunity to preview key concepts ahead of class time, the face-to-face session can be more effectively used for active learning where concepts are analysed and applied (Herein & Schiller, 2013; Karanicolas & Snelling, 2010; McLaughlin et al., 2014).
How to flip your classroom
To teach effectively using a flipped classroom it is important to:
- Communicate the rationale behind adopting a flipped classroom to your students so that they know what to expect and what will be expected of them.
- Provide incentives for students to prepare for class.
- Provide clear connections between in-class and out-of-class activities.
- Ensure that the unit follows a logical structure – in terms of the order of topics and the way content is presented online – will help students approach their self-study activities in an efficient and effective manner. Consider organising online content into modules, as well as numbering each content item in the order that it should be approached.
- Ensure that classroom activities are interactive and designed to consolidate content.
- Provide facilitation and guidance that supports students as a community of learners.
- Provide prompt and effective feedback on learning activities and assessment tasks.
- Utilise technologies that are familiar and accessible to students.
The Flipped Classroom Project @ The University of Adelaide sought to translate the concept of the flipped classroom into actual classroom practice; helping to build the capacity of academics to understand flipped classrooms and to design their flipped classes around a pedagogical framework. The Project was led by the School of Dentistry at the University of Adelaide in partnership with Health Sciences Faculties from both the Australian Catholic University and the University of Tasmania.
The University of Adelaide 7 steps to Flipping with a Framework is designed to guide teachers through the process of designing effective flipped classrooms utlising Bloom’s Modified Taxonomy. Open the link to access the complete framework for more detail and guidance around what to consider at each step.
Step 1: Learning outcomes and key concepts
Step 2: Plan your implementation strategy
Step 3: Develop the pre-class learning activities and checkpoints
Step 4: Develop and link the class activities
Step 5: Deliver the class
Step 6: Link to the post class activities and assessment
Step 7: Evaluate your flipped class.
To further reduce cognitive load and increase engagement, consider providing mini lectures and short readings, interspersed with short reflective activities, memory games, quizzes, or even surveys. This Activity options – choose your tool [PDF], developed by the Tasmanian School of Business and Economics, outlines a range of online tools that you can use to embed activities in your unit.
Frequently asked questions about flipped classrooms
The following resources may support you to implement a flipped classroom approach to the teaching in your unit.
This video of a Flipped workshop delivered by Senior Teaching Fellow, Stuart Schonell, presents the rationale behind flipped approaches, a range of strategies and considerations, and reflections by other TSBE staff on their experiences of ‘flipping’ their classrooms.
This article by James Allison and Christopher Chin from the Australian Maritime College, and Belinda Williams from the Tasmanian School of Business and Economics, provides an overview of the use of one fully flipped and one partially flipped approach to teaching in two AMC units.
The FLIPCurric Online Flipped classroom practitioner’s guide.
In this video, Dr Abelardo Pardo, Lecturer in the School of Electrical and Information Engineering at The University of Sydney describes what a flipped classroom is, and the many benefits and considerations of this type of teaching.
Abeysekera, L., & Dawson, P. (2015). Motivation and cognitive load in the flipped classroom: definition, rationale and a call for research, Higher Education Research & Development, 34(1), 1-14, https://doi.org/10.1080/07294360.2014.934336
ExLNT Griffith University. (2019, October 21). Flipped Learning. https://app.secure.griffith.edu.au/exlnt/entry/3805/view
Fisher, R., Ross, B., LaFerriere, R., & Martiz, A. (2017). Flipped Learning, Flipped Satisfaction, Getting the Balance Right. Teaching & Learning Inquiry, 5(2). https://dx.doi.org/10.20343/teachlearninqu.5.2.9
Freeman, S., Eddy, S. L., McDonough, M., Smith, M. K., Okorafor, N., Jordt, H., & Wenderoth, M. P. (2013) Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111(23), 8410–8415. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1319030111
Herein, C., & Schiller, N. (2013). Case Studies and the Flipped Classroom. Journal of College Science Teaching, 42(5), 62-66.
Karanicolas, S., & Snelling, C. (2010). Making the transition: achieving content connectivity and student engagement through flexible learning tools. In Proceedings of the Distance Education Association of New Zealand (DEANZ) Conference Wellington 2010.
Karanicolas, S., Snelling, C., & Winning, T. (2018). Translating concept into practice: enabling first-year health sciences teachers to blueprint effective flipped learning approaches, University of Adelaide.
Lage, M. J., Platt, G. J., & Treglia, M. (2000). Inverting the classroom: A gateway to creating an inclusive learning environment. The Journal of Economic Education, 31(1), 30-43. https://doi.org/10.1080/00220480009596759
McLaughlin, J. E., Roth, M. T., Glatt, D. M., Gharkholonarehe, N., Davidson, C. A., Griffin, L. M., Esserman, D. A., & Mumper, R. J. (2014). The flipped classroom: a course redesign to foster learning and engagement in a health professions school. Academic Medicine, 89(2), 236-243. https://doi.org/10.1097/ACM.0000000000000086
O'Flaherty, J., & Phillips, C. (2015). The use of flipped classrooms in higher education: A scoping review. The Internet and Higher Education, 25, 85-95. https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.iheduc.2015.02.002
Sankey, M. D., & Hunt, L. (2013). Using technology to enable flipped classrooms whilst sustaining sound pedagogy. In H. Carter, M. Gosper and J. Hedberg (Eds.), Electric Dreams. Proceedings ascilite 2013 Sydney (pp.785-795).
Teaching UNSW. (2020, October 20). The Flipped Classroom. https://teaching.unsw.edu.au/flipped-classroom