Another dot in the blogosphere?

Q&A on flipped learning

Posted on: October 5, 2014

I facilitated a lively discussion on flipped learning at the gathering organized by ScoreCampus on Monday.

Addendum: I shared elements which I summarized in two blog entries

Here were two follow up questions (and my answers) that went in the Facebook invitation space.

Q: Let’s say I were a classroom teacher and I try out flip learning. How might I go about testing the effectiveness of Flip learning? What sort of data should I collect? What are some of the common pitfalls I should be aware of when conducting such a study at the school level?

A: There’s no short answer for this but I’ll try to provide some perspective.

The data you collect would depend on the design of the study which would typically be action research. Most would conduct quasi-experimental research, e.g., one treatment group (flip) and one non-treatment group (non-flip). This is a bad idea as you cannot control for other factors that influence outcomes.

The outcomes are data you collect. These could be test results, student attitudes, attendance rates, etc. But if the design is not rigorous, the data is pointless as neither will stand up to scrutiny.

An alternative design is to collect that data from one or more flip classes as case studies (no comparisons). Another alternative is an ethnographical (storytelling, documentary-like) account of changes in student and teacher behaviours. Such stories can be more compelling if there is evidence of better learning habits (e.g., progression of self-directedness) or improvement in teaching strategies (e.g., confidence with differentiated instruction).

Overall, I would recommend a mixed method approach that would provide both compelling numbers and stories.

Q: Following my last question last evening, may I know what are the fundamental differences between IB and Flip learning? It seems to me that both advocate the non-use of textbooks and self-directed learning and have similar prior assumptions to a set of learner profiles. Thanks a lot.

A: The IB is an alternative programme of study leading to qualifications. As you pointed out, the driving philosophy is based on learner-centred principles.

Some might consider flipped learning to be an instructional approach or even an overall pedagogical strategy. I think of it as an educator’s mindset and teaching philosophy — the focus on learning and the learner instead of teaching and the teacher.

The IB educators might flip. The IB can leverage on community-based learning and JIT. But the IB can rely on a broader set of strategies.

On the other hand, flippers cannot claim that they are offering an IB.

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