Isn’t The Flipped Classroom Just Blended Learning?
I’ve been an instructional designer for a long time. I remember when video was a cutting edge technology. I remember when “CBT” was something only very high financed companies could create and it was delivered on a floppy disc. And I remember incorporating many different delivery media into my designs and calling it “blended learning”.
Lately, we’ve been hearing about this new model called The Flipped Classroom. My cynical self immediately thought “Oh, they’re just re-branding blended learning with a new name.” However, I had discussions with a colleague about it and became a little more intrigued. I decided to stop trying to prove that The Flipped Classroom was just Blended Learning, and focus on learning more about it. Working with Sarah Gilbert, I learned a bit more about the concept. Here’s some of what I have learned:
The Flipped Classroom is definitely a subset of Blended Learning, but with a different focus.
Blended Learning: The focus is on engaging the learner. As designers we experimented with pre-work, classroom instruction, eLearning before or during class, videos, etc. The focus is on keeping the learner interested and engaged with different media.
The Flipped Classroom: The focus here is on the type of learning and how it is addressed. Recall your Bloom’s Taxonomy:
The Flipped Classroom focuses on what is happening during the live interaction with the facilitator. What level of Bloom’s Taxonomy is being addressed while you’re with the facilitator? I would argue that the majority of the time, facilitator time is focused on the bottom layers of the triangle. In the Flipped model, facilitator time is primarily used in the top layers like application, synthesis, evaluation, analysis.
Here’s a simple example that all parents will understand:
Your child learns all about something in class like Chemistry. (I shudder!) Then, your child has homework. He (or she) needs help because, well, - chemistry is hard! If you’re lucky, you did well in chemistry class and remember the basics. You are able to interact with your child and help him. However, if chemistry happens to be one of your least favorite subjects ever – you will not only be unable to help your child, you’ll end up with total frustration for both of you.
In the flipped model, your child would come home and watch a video on chemistry, read a chapter, or review something the teacher has provided on the subject. Then, tomorrow at school, the child will spend his time in class working on the assignment. He will be able to get help and guidance from the teacher. All those things that are difficult to understand will emerge as part of class. …and there will be peace in your home.
In the next blog, I’ll share the experiential learning cycles that are emerging for The Flipped Classroom model.
Leigh Anne Lankford is an instructional designer with more than 21 years’ experience in the field of HRD. She is a Relationship Manager for TrainingPros in Atlanta, working closely with training and development departments of large organizations to identify, attract, and on-board contract employees for very specific and specialized training and development needs. You can reach Leigh Anne at email@example.com.