How Can I Convince My Colleagues that Flipping the Classroom Is a Good Idea?

As more and more schools, colleges, and universities use video to help flip the classroom, there are a handful of questions we hear often — but perhaps none more so than this:

How can I convince my colleagues that flipping the classroom is a good idea?

The best answer to that question will be different for every institution — so let’s take a look at some of the most common reasons and goals for inverted classrooms, to help you make the case that will be right for your colleagues.

Flipped classroom teaching often starts out as the project of one or two pioneers at an institution before it spreads to more classrooms. Lots of the academics and learning technologists we speak to want to increase and accelerate adoption of the flipped classroom. From our experience of working with educators, the key to driving uptake is two-fold – highlighting the benefits of moving to a flipped pedagogy and allaying fears and misconceptions about the impact of flipping.

The benefits of the flipped classroom are becoming easier and easier to point to, as an increasing body of research shows that the flipped classroom can improve student engagement and achievement. Improving student results and enhancing the student experience are vital motivators for all teachers and the flipped classroom can certainly deliver on these points.

Moreover, the benefits aren’t just for students – Dr. Jeremy Pritchard described his use of the flipped classroom as “the most exciting teaching I’ve done in twenty years!” Reflecting this sentiment, in a 2012 survey of over 450 flipped educators published by the Flipped Learning network, 88% of teachers using a flipped classroom approach reported improved job satisfaction. Their students also reaped the benefits of the flipped classroom, with 67% of the teachers surveyed reporting that overall their students had higher test scores. More recent research from the Flipped Learning Network continues to show a positive trajectory for the impact of classroom flipping.

But how do you counter objections from teachers who don’t think flipping the classroom will work? First, it’s important to know in advance what the likely objections could be. Typically these focus on concerns that students won’t bother to watch the flipped content in advance, making the face-to-face session incomprehensible to them.

Tackling this concern head-on, educators tell us that initially students do need to be educated about how the flipped model will affect the way they learn. Generally speaking, though, as long as teachers outline their expectations upfront, the majority of students are quick to adapt. Some teachers note that flipping the classroom often makes their students more diligent, as there is nowhere to hide in the face-to-face session if the preparatory work hasn’t been done. This was borne out in research carried out in 2011 by Ball State University, referenced in our recent SlideShare presentation, where it was shown that the vast majority of students taking part in flipped classrooms did watch the material in advance.

Ultimately, in an increasing number of classrooms, the benefits of flipping far outweigh concerns and being able to cite examples where students and teachers are seeing improved outcomes will be key in encouraging more teachers to flip.

Look for the next part of our Flipped Classroom FAQ, and if you have a flipped classroom question, please get in contact by emailing Frances Andrews at fandrews@panopto.com or by adding your comment below. If you want to get started with flipping the classroom, request a demo or free trial of Panopto today.

Published: April 25, 2014