Which Flipped Classroom Is Right For You?

The flipped classroom has made the leap from buzzword to buzz-worthy.

As educators at universities, colleges, and schools around the world look to new ways to engage students, the flipped classroom model has become the go-to addition to the traditional lecture.

But referring to it as “the flipped classroom model” is a bit disingenuous – the fact is, there are almost as many ways to flip a classroom as there are classrooms to flip.

So – which flip is right for your class?

At its most fundamental, “flipped classroom” is defined by the NMC Horizon Report as “a model of learning that rearranges how time is spent both in and out of class to shift the ownership of learning from the educators to the students.”

Today’s teachers have found no shortage of ways to adapt that idea to meet their own needs. As those adaptations evolve, we’ve now begun seeing real trends in how flipped classrooms can be structured for success.

Three Parts to Every Flipped Classroom

For every classroom, flipped, traditional, or otherwise, the basic class session has 3 parts: before, during, and after class. Successfully flipping a classroom requires educators to take a new approach to both the before-class time, and the in-class time. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular flipped classroom trends.

Flipping the Classroom: Before Class

Central to the flipped classroom is the idea that the educator shares instructional materials with students for review prior to class. While this material can take a number of forms, the Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching highlights two general philosophies to how much material teachers share:

Inverted Classroom
In an inverted classroom, teachers provide a complete lecture experience – typically including lecture videos or presentation slides with voice-over, textbook readings, and links to other resources. Students review these materials at their own pace, rewinding to review points as needed.

Micro Flipped Classroom
The micro flipped model seeks to take advantage of the adaptability of the flipped classroom. Educators share small parts of lectures (called “micro-lectures”) in advance, as well as select assignments to spur student thinking. Other lectures and assignments may be saved for classroom time. The format allows the teacher to better manage content – presenting more central or difficult information ahead of time for students to review at their own pace, while introducing additional information later in class.

Flipping the Classroom: During Class

Regardless of the teaching philosophy, the next central element of the flipped classroom is in-class activity. The goal of every flipped classroom is to enable the educator to shift from lecturer to coach and facilitator, and the University of Texas at Austin Center for Teaching and Learning notes there are a number of effective strategies to make that change.

Case-based Learning
Students prepare before class, and are assigned to small groups at the beginning of class time. Groups analyze a given problem or assignment and present a solution or recommended course of action. Teachers act as guides during class, engaging groups to suggest approaches or answer questions.

Guided Inquiry Learning
Students review materials before class. In-class activities are socratic in nature, guided by questions from the instructor and designed to encourage students to explore concepts or information, draw conclusions, and apply the concepts.

Team-based Learning
Students prepare before class and are quizzed over the content at the start of class (either as individuals or as teams). Students are given immediate feedback on their performance, and educators tailor the day’s lessons as needed with in-class microlectures to address gaps in understanding. Finally, students are assembled into teams for structured discussions or activities based on lecture content.

Peer Instruction
Students prepare for class and simply inform the teacher as to what they found confusing or difficult. Class time features a mix of mini-lectures and peer interaction, either with the class as a whole or with smaller groups, depending on the subject matter. Peer Instruction deliberately avoids asking students to raise hands to answer questions, and instead insists students openly discuss of questions and work out answers together to achieve better understanding.

Flipping the Classroom: After Class

While the flipped classroom strategies at play may be different in every school, the central goals for all remains the same:

  • Make the classroom environment more engaged and interactive
  • Help educators quickly identify which students would benefit from additional instruction
  • Ensure that students leave the classroom not dreading another homework assignment but instead, ready to apply the knowledge they learned before class and practiced in class.

Looking for more ideas on how to find the right flipped class for you? Check out how professors at Eastern Michigan University are flipping their classrooms right now.

Want to find out more about how to make flipping a classroom easy – and find out how other educators are flipping their classroom? Contact our team for a free demo of Panopto today.

Published: March 05, 2014

Recommended Articles