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Flipped learning is not place-based

Posted on: January 18, 2016

I am often asked what the differences are between the flipped classroom and flipped learning. I have mentioned a few important distinctions in my presentations and reflections. Now I share one more.

The design of the flipped classroom is likely to be place-based. Conversations tend to start with “Outside the classroom, I would like students to…” while “Inside the classroom, they should…”. There is nothing wrong with this provided the activities outside and inside the classroom are strategic, well-designed, and meaningful.

The problem with this approach might be that teachers do not really change the way they teach. For example, they could still only be delivering content outside the classroom and not building upon it inside. This approach might also limit what students do: They do only as the teacher dictates.

Flipped learning is about transferring the responsibility and ownership of learning to students. It is about motivating students to create content, to teach themselves, and to teach others. It is nurturing more independent and self-directed learners.

The creating of content and teaching is not limited to the outside or inside of the classroom. It happens in both because there are no silos of activities but a continuum of effort. Flipped learning is a realisation of the anytime-anywhere promise of technology.

Flipped learning goes against the grain of time tables, fixed curricula, academic grouping of students, and other artificial constructs of schooling. It leverages on the natural inclinations of learners when these constructs are not put in front of them. That might be why it is so much easier to flip the classroom than to flip the learning.

2 Responses to "Flipped learning is not place-based"

Such a timely post for me! I’m attempting to transition from flipped classroom last year to flipped learning this year… My naive conception is that the instructional designer must prepare many lesson packages, including extension packages for the quicker students, and many levels of formative assessments for flipped learning (or would it be called flipped mastery?) to work?


I’ve been promoting flipped learning over the flipped classroom for quite a while. Individual practitioners will not get FL until they facilitate it. Individual organisations will not understand FL until they let practitioners learn by making mistakes. Without doubt, that’s the best way to learn.

As for mastery, it’s a term normally reserved for the learner. I would take flipped mastery to mean that teachers need to learn, unlearn, and relearn. That would not be a bad thing, but it would likely confuse more than it would convince.


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