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Flipping content creation

Posted on: April 9, 2015

This is the fifth part of my week-long focused reflection on flipping.

I shared my three dimensions of flipped learning (flipping) in a video and during various presentations (most notably, Righting the Wrongs of Flipping).

I have previously shared my rationales on the merits of getting learners to create content and to teach as part of the process of flipping.

Today I revisit why it is important for learners to create content.

Teachers are not mind-readers. If they were, they could make a more profitable living elsewhere! A teacher does not know what a student knows (or does not know) until the student tells or shows the teacher.

An educational psychologist might say that these performances are externalized manifestations that provide evidence of internal processes. They are representations of mental schema (Ausubel).

The more tangible and manipulable these representations are from a student, the easier it is for teachers and other learners to compare that student’s schema with their own.

As serendipity would have it, here is a very good example from a teacher, @enoch_ng, who is experimenting with learner-generated content.

It should become obvious that the students who created the video got the eventual answer right, but their explanation for simplifying the fraction was wrong.

I reiterate: Until a teacher gets a student to speak, sing, dance, or otherwise perform and create some content in the process, that teacher is unlikely to know for sure what that student understands or misunderstands.

I cite this example to counter common teacher thinking about the rigour and amount of time for content creation.

Creating content is typically the concern and likely a source of pride for the teacher. This is because an informed teacher will tend to create content that is aligned to learning objectives and curricular requirements.

When I tweeted the thought above, I was referring to content creation not from a teacher’s perspective, but from a learner’s one.

A teacher might be thinking about lesson units. I am referring to content nuggets that students can create to show what they (mis)understand. The content does not have to be a long, complex video. (BTW, the same principle applies in conventional flipping: Teacher-created or curated video is not mandatory or a given.)

When I model this idea in workshops, I get teachers to create quick, simple, and powerful content. For example, they contribute data points via a Google Form which we visualize with graphs; we use online stickies to collect reflections, issues, and opinions; we use Google Slides to co-create quizzes.

Now this does not mean that students should not be given slightly more ambitious content to create. This is the domain of reusable learning objects or micro-content. Combine these with getting learners to teach and we have the third dimension of flipping. More on that tomorrow.

4 Responses to "Flipping content creation"

Enoch: RT @ashley: Revisiting the 2nd dimension of flipped learning: Getting learners to create content! #edsg via


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