Fliplearning Versus Homework
Setting home-study tasks brings frustration. Frustration for teachers when students say they have not done it; frustration for students who perhaps do not see the relevance of tasks set.
Flip-learning is a new way to approach the setting of home-study tasks. Rather than being retrospective, it is future looking. It is pre-lesson preparation, reflection and questioning that students undertake to help inform future lessons. Prior to a lesson, the teacher directs students towards specific resources that they digest and respond to. This can then be utilised by the teacher to inform the next lesson. The overall effect of this is that students attend a subsequent lesson armed with a great deal of knowledge and questions ready to further their understanding and skills. Flip-learning facilitates the development of learning undertaken outside the classroom giving a deeper and richer understanding of the topic being studied.
Vygotsky (1978) claimed that learning is a two-stage process; it occurs on the social plane and then later on the individual plane. Hence, flip-learning inverts this two-stage process as the learning undertaken individually outside the classroom is consolidated and expanded in subsequent lessons through interaction and discussion with peers facilitated by teachers.
Providing lesson content to students prior to a lesson can take some prior planning but the pay-off is engaging and enthusing students in their learning. However, as with any new change in teaching, this may take time, so be prepared for this eventuality. To this end, flip-learning needs to be carefully structured so that students are clear what their responsibilities for learning are prior to the lesson. Students need to be told clearly, especially when first using this approach, what they are NOT to do just as much as what TO DO.
Flip-learning can improve the quality of differentiation. Firstly, it allows differentiation by pace. It also links well with Bloom’s Taxonomy of Learning (1956) but inverts the taxonomy, so that the bottom levels of cognition are reserved for student self-instruction through structured activities, and lesson time is focused on the upper levels of the taxonomy. Hence, lesson time is spent on the most complex aspects of cognition within a social environment creating a deeper and richer understanding of the topic(s) being studied.
Using the flip-learning approach takes prior planning. Look at your course outline and content and identify where the division of learning can happen so that it ultimately creates lesson time for enhancing learning deeper and more personalised based on what the students bring to the table. Buy in from students will depend on its efficacy being apparent to them!
Flip not Flop
As with any approach, use meaningfully, or it becomes repetitive and tedious for students. Use flip-learning when it can really enhance learning and give students the chance to formulate their own ideas or questions prior to a lesson which can then be discussed and assimilated into subsequent lessons. Good planning and purposeful use of the material provided in flip-learning tasks is key to successful flipping.
Bloom, B.S. (1956) Taxonomy of educational objectives: The classification of educational goals. New York, NY: Longman.
Vygotsky, L.S. (1978) Mind in Society. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.