Distilled wisdoms for flipped learning
Posted July 9, 2015on:
Educators who have flipped their classrooms or moved on to actually flip learning invariably have advice for those new to the journey. I share just three of many I have learnt by practising what I preach.
My first piece of advice is to make it as ordinary possible. If you attempt the extraordinary or if you need similarly special conditions in the future, the initial effort not sustainable.
I am not saying keep the bar low. I am saying you should not overthink or complicate designs, plans, or resources.
For example, refrain from designing home-based learning that requires a vendor’s proprietary platform. Instead, you could look at mobile strategies, tools, or platforms because these tend to be more accessible and intuitive.
You should also avoid relying on a long weekend, an e-learning day set aside by the school, or an academically off-peak period. If you need such special circumstances or so much time, you are not likely to try it again.
My second nugget is plan for success, but learn from failure. Even if you take my first piece of advice and keep it simple, you should not expect everything to work.
Simple does not mean doing the same thing in a different context. It means taking a risk to do one or more things differently. You will make mistakes and these are the most valuable lessons for a teacher.
For example, you might have designed in desktop mode, but tried implementing in mobile device mode. There will invariably be mismatches in expectations and results. Go full mobile the next time around.
My third pointer is to focus on the learner and learning, not on curriculum or teaching. The latter should be the means to getting at the former.
Teacher-related aspects of flipping could mean preparing resources and scaffolds. These are good and necessary most of the time, but these are not the most important aspect of flipping.
To flip learning is to nurture a more independent learner. This means preparing the learner to work with online resources and manage social interactions. Teachers should model how to read, watch, pick out, respond, and reflect (amongst a host of other important skills).
For example, it is not enough to tell students to just watch a video. You might show them the difference between an annotated YouTube video on a desktop (annotations present) and a smartphone (annotations absent). Depending on the desired outcomes, it may be necessary to show them how to identify key segments, where to take notes, and how to respond.
If you take a step back from the advice, you might notice they apply in other technology-mediated learning contexts as well. They should because my practices are not isolated efforts. They blend one into another and form a continuum of strategies. If you are clever about it, yours should too.