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E-learning Project results Flipped classroom

Teacher experiences in pilots

Open ended interviews were carried out with teachers who have experimented with the flipped classroom concept. The interview format, the teachers who participated and a full text of the interview can be found here. The interviews, reports of the interviews and this summary were done by Esther Bouma (ES&I). For objectivity, Esther has not participated in the support of teachers for flipped classrooms. This summary gives an overview of the most important conclusions.

Reasons and experiences

The two most important reasons to participate were:

  1. To gather experience with this innovative concept of learning
  2. Stimulate students to study the course content before the lectures and be critical thinkers during lectures

The teachers who were interviewed have experienced the pilots as enjoyable and motivating. “It is way more interesting to have discussion with students, and teach them higher order thinking than repeating the contents of the book”. Tricky moments were when a planned activity didn’t work in class. The reason for this was that students didn’t prepare, or were uninterested, but also because some students were afraid to say something that is wrong or silly.

Time investment

The invested time varies widely, from 1 extra hour per lecture to 150 hours (especially for recording videos). Not all teachers made videos themselves, but it is clear that this is the most time consuming aspect of the flipped classroom. Teachers are very happy with the support of ES&I, in the area of educational advice, as well as in practical support (such as making shorter versions of clips and placing materials on Nestor).

Student reactions

Student reactions on the flipped classroom as perceived by lecturers are diverse. Some students are positive but prefer “standard lectures”. 3rd year and Master’s students are more active participants than second year students. Students who didn’t prepare had trouble to keep up during the lecture. Students were in general very positive about the videos. Information was (usually) presented in a very concise format, they know exactly how much time was needed, and they could study in their own time and place. Students were positive about tools such as Kahoot and Mentimeter.

Educational value

In three courses further analysis was done by the lecturers themselves with regards to the relation between the flipped classroom and grades. In these courses, the pass rate and average grade was significantly higher as compared to versions of the course in previous years. Students who participated actively in class, and/or attended the lectures obtained higher grades. The six lectures who were interviewed think that flipped classroom has educational value, and want to continue working with this concept. One teacher indicates: “I think my students have learned more. I don’t just see this in pass grades, but also notice this in discussions. An objective to “participate on a high level in discussions about the course area” is for reached for most students.

Another teacher says: “I can now help my students to develop higher cognitive skills. The book becomes an addition, on which I build. Because of the flipped classroom I make time to work on a higher level during lectures.
Future of the flipped classroom

Students have trouble to get used to this new, more active, way of working. When flipped classrooms are used in a block or semester, and not within a separate course, they can get used to it more. It is important to brief students about the goals and advantages of the flipped classroom.

Teachers and management of the University of Groningen do not have a unified image of what the flipped classroom is. “Flipped classroom is more than watching videos before a lecture.” If the flipped classroom is to have a clear role in university education it should be established what it is, and is not. Despite the fact that most faculty boards find the flipped classroom an interesting development, many teachers are apprehensive to take it up. They doubt the educational value, think it cost much extra time, or don’t know how to redesign their course content. Possibilities for support of flipped classrooms should become more known in faculties.

Teacher tips
  1. Think about why you want to flip
  2. Talk to colleagues, and people from ES&I
  3. Experiment, dare, try!
  4. Let someone take (a fresh) look over your shoulder
  5. Extra time investment is earned back in later years
  6. Evaluate the process to gather evidence of the effects
  7. Stay true to yourself!
  8. Use tools such as Mentimeter or Kahoot to test knowledge or poll opinions
  9. Open a twitter wall to (anonymously) place questions or comments
Tips for making videos
  • Make a script in advance
  • Make sure that you know the learning objective
  • Keep the audience’s attention via meaningful animations/images/texts
  • Use a good tool for audio
Last modified:05 October 2015 5.07 p.m.
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