Flipping the Classroom to Improve Student Engagement

Person Writing with Pen - Panopto Flipped Classroom SoftwareA recently-released study indicates that students in classes that employ active learning methods outperform students taking traditional courses, and it’s shaking up the academic world this week.

The study was performed by biologists from the University of Washington and the University of Maine who meta-analyzed over 200 studies that compared student performance in undergraduate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) courses under traditional lecturing versus active learning.

What the biologists found was startling: students that attended classes with traditional, instructor-focused, “teaching by telling” lectures were 1.5 times more likely to fail than students in classes that employed active learning methods. Additionally, the study found that average exam scores by students in active learning sections were 6% higher than those in traditional lectures.

Although there is no single definitive approach to active learning, the release of these findings has sparked a lot of discussion among educators on some of the best ways that teachers can improve student engagement in their classrooms.

One of the fastest-growing ways of making class time more interactive is flipping the classroom (also known as flipped teaching or the inverted classroom). In flipped classroom scenarios, students view pre-recorded lecture videos before coming to class, and then use the time during class for activities that allow them to engage with or practice the material under the guidance of the instructor. These activities can include:

  • Group problem-solving
  • In-depth questioning and discussion
  • Student polling using personal response systems (clickers)
  • Student-generated content and presentations
  • Solving worksheets or tutorials, and more.

Interactivity doesn’t have to be reserved for in-class time. Professors that are flipping their courses can also make their lecture recordings more engaging by embedding quizzes, polls, and other interactive web content into their videos.

What are some of the best ways you’ve found to make your classroom more interactive? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.

If you’re interested in learning more about how Panopto’s lecture capture platform can help you flip your classroom and improve student engagement, contact us to request a demo or sign up for a free 30-day trial.

Published: May 19, 2014