Overview of Flipped Learning

flipped classroom

by Jessica Porter, Office of Educational Technology (eTech)

Flipped learning is a blended learning model that reverses the typical order of content dispersal and acquisition. In a traditional, lecture-based class, the instructor delivers the basic material in class, and students practice new concepts on their own time. In the flipped model, students encounter new material at home, usually via reading and lecture videos, and then they use class time to discuss and apply what they have learned.

During class, the instructor facilitates active, inquiry-based learning that students complete individually or in groups. In any case, the goal is to shift the high-level cognitive work to the classroom, where students have direct access to their instructor and peers.

Why Flip a Class

It enables personalized learning experiences.

True flipped learning enables personalized learning experiences. Without the one-size-fits-all lecture, students are able to learn and discover at their own pace, and best of all, they have a chance to work with their hands.

It promotes deeper learning.

Instead of passively consuming lectures, students spend more time interacting with their peers and applying the new material to real problems. As a result, they cultivate a deeper understanding of the material and how to use it.

It’s active and collaborative.

Flipped learning moves the application-oriented “homework” into the classroom, where students have direct access to the learning community. Students perform interactive, high-level tasks with their peers, while the instructor offers feedback and support.

Students and instructors get better feedback.

Flipped learning offers instructors real-time data on student progress. Consequently, students receive immediate feedback on their performance, and instructors solve problems as they emerge, long before the midterm or final exam.

How to Flip a Class

There are many ways to flip a class, and you can even try a partial flip, where aspects of a course retain their traditional flavor (i.e., some units are lecture-based, others activity-based). In any case, instructors typically assign reading and recorded lectures for homework, and then students complete a variety of active, high-level tasks in class.

These activities assume many forms, including

In addition, you will need to provide an incentive for students to prepare for class and a consistent means of assessment. A pre-class quiz or writing assignment would satisfy both requirements.

If you are considering the flipped method, UT-Austin offers an excellent step-by-step guide that covers everything from assessment to students’ out-of-class workload.

For an overview of the theoretical basis of flipped learning, read Vanderbilt’s helpful teaching guide.

Further Reading