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:

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.

Flipped Classroom Bloom's

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 leighanne.lankford@training-pros.com. 

Comments
22 Responses to “Isn’t The Flipped Classroom Just Blended Learning?”
  1. Excellent. First I’ve seen of relating the Flipped Classroom to Bloom. This will be helpful in explaining the value to a client of mine!

  2. My first reaction when reading your (excellent!) post was: well, yeah, of course “flipped” is a type of blended. Then I started to wonder: wait a second, isn’t “flipped” just traditional instruction, but backwards (what used to be homework is now done in class and vice versa… thus the name flipped, I guess)? And then I started to wonder: does it really matter how it’s classified/categorized/named (flipped, blended, etc.)? And then I stopped thinking because my brain started to hurt. I guess my question to you is: what do you think is the importance of the label given to an instructional strategy? (This isn’t a criticism, more a point of genuine curiosity)

    • ileighanne says:

      Brian – I also think we get too hung up on the names. Thus my title. However, I think the approach to looking at Bloom’s Taxonomy is just good instructional design. If we need to give it a name to communicate about it – then so be it.
      I’ve been pointing to Bloom’s with eLearning design for years with clients. I try to point out the level of learning they can achieve with that rapid eLearning product and what they probably can’t reach.

  3. Sue Schnorr says:

    Great post – love the alignment to Bloom’s Taxonomy.

  4. Ed Caldwell says:

    The concept is not necessarily new, although the term, “flipped classroom” is new to me. Refer to “School’s Out,” by Lewis Perlman. Back in 1993 he used basically the same model of what was then the coming age of technology in the classroom. Although his focus was on school age children, the concept easily applies to adult learning.

    I have often wondered why it has taken so long to emerge in practice, either in education or adult learning. I suspect that has to be rooted in our basic models of expectations coupled with motivation challenges.

  5. David says:

    I’m a trainer for a support function at a university, and have followed with interest the increasing popularity of the flipped classroom model in higher education. I’ve been interested in adopting the model for staff training, and your post helped me get my head around it in a useful way. I hadn’t thought of the connection to Bloom. Thanks!

  6. baird whelan says:

    A large part of the discussion surrounding flipped learning is centered on the shift from evaluating to creating as the highest level on bloom’s taxonomy. Here’s the revised (2001) bloom’s

  7. Reblogged this on Life Happens and commented:
    very useful article for every teacher to gain an understanding and to come apart these two learning types)

  8. danrstowell says:

    Reblogged this on Mr. Stowell's Flipped English Classroom and commented:
    Great and succinct posting. To tell you the truth, I was introduced to the term “Flipped Classroom” before “Blended Learning.” Either way – a good way to explain it to my colleagues.

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  1. […] Read more: Isn’t The Flipped Classroom Just Blended Learning? « Ileighanne’s Blog. […]

  2. […] 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 …  […]

  3. […] 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 cou… (Isn't The Flipped Classroom Just Blended Learning?  […]

  4. […] 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 …  […]

  5. […] 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 …  […]

  6. […] 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 w…  […]

  7. […] Blended learning is focused on technology and engaging the learner; it is often seen as the combination of asynchronous e-learning events with traditional face-to-face instruction. Flipped learning on the other hand focuses on how to address different types of learning; in particular, it looks at how an instructor can best support a learner in higher level learning tasks.  Leigh Anne Lankford has a great post looking at the difference between the two. […]

  8. […] 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.  […]



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