What is flipped learning? Quick-fire links

Are we about to see organisations slipping in the word “flipped” when describing their learning and devlopment activities? The concept is gaining ground in the education sector, so what exactly is it and what does it mean for learning and development (L&D)? Martin Couzins

The main thrust of flipped learning is that the learner is given materials (online video, for example) to look at outside of the classroom so that those materials can then be discussed back in the classroom. That’s the flip – looking at learning materials outside of the classroom rather than them being delivered by the teacher in the classroom.

This is how Wikipedia currently defines flipped learning:

“The traditional pattern of secondary education has been to have classroom lectures, in which the teacher explains a topic, followed by homework, in which the student does exercises.

“In flip teaching, the student first studies the topic by himself, typically using video lessons created by the instructor or shared by another educator, such as those provided by the Khan Academy. In the classroom, the pupil then tries to apply the knowledge by solving problems and doing practical work.”

Khan Academy success

The rise and rise of the Khan Academy and its focus on video learning is adding fuel to the fire. And now, with backers such as Google and Bill Gates, the Khan concept of learning by video is set to shake-up education around the globe.

Donald Clark, former CEO of Epic Group, speaker and blogger, says that the flipped approach is useful for ensuring technology is kept outside of the classroom. Clark looks at the success of the Khan Academy and what educators can learn from it. He says: “Khan’s trick, is something I’ve believed in for years. Don’t use technology in the classroom, use it before and after, outside of the classroom.”

But flipped learning is not a new concept, argues Steve Wheeler, associate professor of learning technology at the University of Plymouth. In his post he asks whether the concept is really that revolutionary, arguing that the use of video content in learning has been around for some time. He says that watching video in itself does not make for good learning. “Just watching a video cannot be seen as a viable substitute for good learning.”

Taking it further

Wheeler would like to see the flipped concept taken one step further. He argues that flipped learning should represent a fundamental shift, a turning on its head for the way learning is delivered. This shift would see teachers become learners and learners become teachers. “Flipping learning for me means teachers becoming learners and students becoming teachers. If teachers assume the role of a learner, and accept that they are not the fonts of all knowledge, but are there to facilitate learning instead of instructing, positive change in education would happen.

“Similarly, if we ask students to become teachers, and we encourage them to independently create their own content, share and present their work – either in the classroom, or on the web – we place them in a position where they must take responsibility to learn and develop their understanding of their subject. This is active, participatory learning.”

So where does this leave the flipped concept in organisational learning? Any organisation that follows the 70:20:10 vision for learning and is using video will already be flipping to some extent as learning content is being watched outside of the classroom.

The concept takes trainers away from the notion that content – traditionally in the form of handouts – has to be given to learners in the classroom.

Engaging and focused learning

In his article on TrainingZone, Flipping the training regime, Matt Pierce, training manager at TechSmith argues that flipped training provides trainers with the opportunity to focus on specific learner needs.

“At the basic level flipping is a simple adaption of traditional training techniques, rather than a method in its own right. Nevertheless, it holds the capacity to greatly improve the training process. Providing training content upfront allows instructor-led sessions to focus on specific requirements of trainees, replacing generic content on a given subject. Measurement is also improved as results are largely demonstrated before the trainer’s eyes.”

In his article on creating flipped training content, Pierce says that by crowdsourcing the training materials from within the organisation, content can become even more engaging.

“Within any organisation there will be several employees who hold knowledge that can benefit several or all of their co-workers.

“Once identified, this knowledge can be captured in the form of learning content and presented to others within the organisation using the flipping model.”

LAST month I mentioned that Craig Taylor, a solutions consultant at e-learning provider is Epic, is running a session on YouTube at a UCISA event on using social media in training. Taylor is using a flipped approach to his session and you can see his pre-session video content on YouTube.

The flipped concept does not stop there. This week’s Chat2learn Twitter chat was on the topic of “Flipped leadership”.

Comments are closed.