Flipping Your Class

AN OVERVIEW: An introduction to Flipping the Classroom

This module was developed by former ECU graduate student Heather Appleton as a capstone project in Instructional Technology studies.

  • Flipping the Classroom Defined

    What is "flipping the classroom"? A model of teaching that uses digital tools (lecture videos, podcasts, screen casts, etc.) which students listen to on their own time (outside the classroom), while class time is used for working together. In class, students participate in more active learning and work together to put what they have learned into practice. In other words, the traditional lecture becomes the students' homework, and inquiry-based learning that might traditionally be viewed as a student's homework becomes the classwork; hence, "flipping the classroom."

    View a YouTube video describing flipping the classroom

  • Theoretical Basis

    What does theory say? "How People Learn," a work by John Bransford, Ann Brown, and Rodney Cocking, helps explain the success of the flipped classroom. According to their research, "To develop competence in an area of inquiry, students must: a) have a deep foundation of factual knowledge, b) understand facts and ideas in the context of a conceptual framework, and c) organize knowledge in ways that facilitate retrieval and application" (p. 16).

    In the flipped classroom, students are applying what they have previously learned from their work outside the classroom and are provided with immediate feedback by their instructor, as well as their peers. This allows them to correct any misconceptions and reflect on their learning, which helps promote their understanding.

    According to these authors, "A 'meta-cognitive' approach to instruction can help students learn to take control of their own learning by defining learning goals and monitoring their progress in achieving them" (p. 18). The constant interaction with peers and the instructor ties into deep learning/metacognition.

    Read "How People Learn" online.

    Other Resources

    View "Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and The Flipped Classroom"

    View "Don't Lecture Me: Rethinking How College Students Learn"

  • Why flip?

    • Personalized/humanized instruction: promotes better communication between the students and the instructor, helps build relationships, reduces student frustration level because they have access to the instructor to ask questions
    • Immediate feedback: class time is used to explain difficult concepts and students can hear feedback right away from the instructor
    • Real-world learning: students learn how to apply what they learn
    • Student engagement: students are active participants in their learning and are actively engaged with their peers/instructor

  • Disadvantages of Flipping the Classroom

    • Not everything can be flipped
    • Not all students have equal access to technology
    • It could trigger too much time in front of a computer--"screen time"
    • Testing/assessing learning could prove difficult
    • Not all students are motivated to watch lectures outside of class
    • Can be very time consuming
Read an article on the limitations of flipping the classroom and why it need to be done right.

BEST PRACTICES: Some best practices for Flipping the Classroom

  • Inverted Learning: What can be flipped?

    Flipped Learning is sometimes referred to as inverted learning due to the structure of class. Instructional content is delivered outside of the classroom via some means of technology, while skill development (practice, projects, active-learning) is done in the classroom with collaboration from the instructor. Essentially, the homework now becomes the classwork, and vice versa.

    This approach also allows students to work at their own pace and review materials as needed. This can be especially beneficial when you have classes of varying skill levels. It also saves the instructor time in the classroom since they don't have to keep going over the same material, thus time spent on active learning activities increases. Having materials online also allows students who miss a class access to the material so they don't fall behind.

    To read more about flipping instruction, visit the web links below:

    Read an article on "Five Ways to Flip Your Classroom With The New York Times"

    Download a white paper on "7 Things You Need to Know about Flipping the Classroom"

    Read an article on "Flipping the Classroom: Five Ways to Flip Your Lectures"

  • Resources to use in order to flip lectures

    Many instructors may be apprehensive in regards to the flipped classroom simply because they aren't familiar with the tools available to them to assist with flipping their classroom.

    Some of the most popular and commonly used technology tools used by educators to flip their lessons are:

You Tube - Is a free service where students and/or the instructor can create videos. The instructor can use it for their lectures for students to view at any time. If necessary, students can stop it, rewind it, or pause it.

Wiki Spaces - A free and useful web tool that allows students to share their thoughts, reflect on the work of others, and edit a body of work together. It's great for collaboration among students.

Edmodo - A great collaboration tool where students can ask questions of other students, as well as the instructor. It also allows for online discussions and polls.

Moodle - A free virtual learning environment. Moodle helps build collaboration in a class through their forums, databases, and wikis.

Jing - A free tool that allows students and instructors to capture what they see on their computer screen. This content can then be uploaded and shared via social networking sites.

Dropbox - A free cloud storage service that allows instructors and students to work on the same assignment.  Assignments can also be turned in via Dropbox and even peer reviewed.

Narrated Powerpoint - This can be used to enhance a traditional Powerpoint presentation. Using this feature, you can add narration to your presentation. You are able to add narration throughout the duration of the presentation or to select slides.

Google Docs - A free word processing program that uses real-time automatic updates so multiple users can work on the same project together. A great tool to use for students working on projects as a team.

Screencast - An easy to use resource that is compatible with Jing. This tool allows the students and/or the instructor to capture their screen. This can then be uploaded to a website and/or blog to be shared.

If you want to learn more about the above tools, as well as others, visit the websites below:

Learn about "The 10 Best Web Tools for Flipped Classrooms


Explore "30 Flipped Classroom Tools From Edshelf"

Read about "7 Essential Tools for a Flipped Classroom"

  • Chunking: What if lectures are too long to be flipped?

    In a traditional classroom, a lecture may last anywhere from one to three hours. While that may work in the traditional setting, it might not be as effective in a flipped classroom. The video lectures need to be engaging for the students in order to keep their attention, therefore, it might be necessary to shorten them. This can be done by chunking the information. The goal of chunking is to make associations with various concepts in order to remember the information.

    Some guidelines for chunking:

    • Limit the number of concepts/items covered in one lecture
    • Break long lectures into shorter "chunks" of no longer than 20 minutes (Dr. Abbie Brown says 10)
    • Begin each lecture chunk by linking its content to what students already know
    • Simplify the presentation to avoid distracting, confusing or irrelevant content that may interfere with student learning
    • Create chunks that allow self-paced learning, so those with less preparation can focus on background material while those with more knowledge of the topic can proceed quickly
    • Use exercises and assessments to evaluate student comprehension and to reinforce learning by stimulating recall and placing content within the overall context of the course

Access more information about chunking when teaching.

  • Tips for an effective video lecture

    Once you decide that you want to create a video lecture, you want to be sure that you create one that students actually watch, which is why that are certain things you should keep in mind before beginning your video lectures

    In order to create an effective video lecture for students to view outside of class time, you need to be sure you control your environment with the following tips:

  1. Eliminate background noise (outside noise from open windows, dog barking, tv, phone, etc)
  2. Hide personal information off of desktop if using screen captures
  3. Make sure you have clear audio (mic working properly without static)
  4. Prepare a script ahead of time
  5. Dress appropriately if you will be seen
Read an article about making quality videos for the flipped classroom.

  • Assessing learning in the flipped classroom

    Instructors using the flipped classroom model must carefully plan and structure their classroom in order to effectively promote, support, and assess student learning. Since much of the assessment is likely to take place in class, instructors should create a plan for assessment when they are planning their learning activities to be sure the course goals and objectives are being met.

    As we know, students learn in different ways so an instructor might need to get creative when it comes to assessment in the flipped classroom. It is possible for a variety of different learning activities to meet the same objective so in a flipped classroom, it is not unusual for instructors to allow students a choice of assignments, as well as assessments. Students being able to show mastery is what is most important.

    To read more about assessment in the flipped classroom, check out the links below:

    Learn more about assessment in the flipped classroom in this article on "Flipped Classroom 2.0: Competency Learning With Videos"

    Explore Aaron Sams' ideas in "How the Flipped Classroom Helps Students Take Charge of Their Own Learning"


CLASS TIME: Ways to promote learning in the Flipped Classroom

  • Arrangement of Space: An Effective Environment

    In a flipped classroom, the arrangement of space is very important. Since the learning taking place is active and collaborative, it is essential that the environment supports and promotes the learning. The classroom should be easily to re-configure for a variety of activities and the instructor should be able to engage students' from anywhere in the classroom.

    Some tips for creating an effective environment in the flipped classroom:

    • Group friendly seating for collaborative projects
    • Projection displays mounted to be seen by all students
    • The instructor can lead from anywhere in the room
    • Students can move easily from group to group
    • Technology is easily accessed

    For more information about creating an effective flipped classroom, check out the links below:

    Download a PDF about "7 Things You Should Know About Collaborative Learning Spaces"

    Get more ideas on "Flipped Classroom Setup"

  • Bloom's Taxonomy and Flipped Learning

    Bloom's Taxonomy was created in 1956 by Dr. Benjamin Bloom in order to promote higher forms of thinking. It is a multi-tiered model that classifies thinking into cognitive levels of complexity. The taxonomy is hierarchical so once a person has mastered one level, they have also mastered the levels below it. In the 1990s, Lorin Anderson, a former student of Dr. Bloom's, led a group that revised the Taxonomy. That revised Taxonomy, RBT (Revised Blooms' Taxonomy) is pictured below.

    In a flipped classroom, the lower levels of taxonomy (understanding and remembering) are done outside of the classroom on the student's own time. This way they can focus on mastery at their own pace. The upper levels of taxonomy (applying, analyzing, and creating) are achieved during class time because students' are participating in active learning.

    pyramid representing Bloom's taxonomy

    For more information about Bloom's Taxonomy, check out the links below:

    Learn about "An Overview of Bloom's Taxonomy"

    Download a handout about activities for "Flipped Classrooms"

    Access more resources on Bloom's Taxonomy

  • In the Classroom

    What do you do now to promote learning in the classroom since you won't be lecturing? In class activities should focus on higher level cognitive thinking that deepen student understanding and increase their skills. You also want to focus on activities that are going to grab and hold the attention of the students.

    Some examples of activities to use in the flipped classroom:

    • discussions
    • group-work
    • case studies
    • projects
    • peer teaching
    • role playing
    • experiments
    • debates

When planning your active learning classroom activities, you want to be prepared. Some questions to ask yourself about the activities planned are:

  1. What are the objectives of the activity?
  2. How will you assign partners?
  3. Will the activity be graded?  If so, how?
  4. At what point during class will the activity occur?
  5. Will students be handing something in or just discussing in class

For more information about activities you can use to promote thinking in the flipped classroom, check out the links below:

Read more about "Active Learning Classrooms"

Compare active, constructive, and interactive learning activities in "Beyond Active Learning"


Resources: Additional web resources on Flipping the Classroom

Teaching for Tomorrow: Flipped Learning - A discussion about flipped learning by Aaron Sams, a flipped learning pioneer

WHAT is the Flipped Classroom? - Differences between the old classroom and the new flipped classroom

The Flipped Classroom Infographic - A basic overview of inverted/flipped learning, along with results of using this style of teaching

The Flipped Classroom - The flipped classroom and an example of what one looks like

What is the Flipped Classroom Model and Why Is It Amazing? - An article in Forbes Magazine on flipped learning

More college instructors are "flipping" the way they teach - An article about college instructors and how they are flipping their classrooms

A Realist's Guide to Flipping the Class - An easy to read overview of flipped instruction from start to finish

27 Ways to Flip the Classroom - Graphic with ideas for activities to use in the flipped class

6 Expert Tips for Flipping the Classroom - Best practices for flipping your classroom

Flipped Classroom: The Full Picture for Higher Education
- Background of the flipped classroom learning model and some problems to avoid when implementing it

A Step-by-Step Tutorial on How to Flip Your Classroom - How to flip a class using TED Ed platform