A better way of teaching and learning for higher education
The practice of flipped learning not only holds the promise of making teaching more effective and more fun but also leads naturally to avenues of productivity in scholarship and service, according to Robert Talbert in his book Flipped Learning: A Guide for Higher Education Faculty. The traditional higher education teaching model presents information in the form of lectures to large groups of students who then go away and undertake by themselves higher-order learning activities involving application, analysis and evaluation. In the flipped model, the students study the information by themselves, and then in group class time they undertake the more cognitively complex learning activities for which access to the teacher’s expertise is much more necessary.
The theory of flipped learning appears to be quite sound, but many actual flipped learning experiences turn out to be failures. The reasons why a flipped learning experience might be unsuccessful include:
- Failing to provide adequate online learning resources: video versions of last year’s class lectures are not generally adequate.
- Failing to track students’ online progress: if students are not completing the online learning, urgent corrective action is required.
- Failing to prepare and deliver appropriately targeted class activities: group time which is too challenging or not challenging enough can lead to disengagement.
- Failing to deal with student expectations: in flipped learning the teacher becomes the learning coach, rather than the primary content deliverer.
- Failing to provide students with adequate learning support: the teacher as learning coach needs to be available at the points of greatest need.
I found some parts of the book fairly heavy going, but in my view the book provides a detailed and balanced overview of the practice of flipped learning as it applies to higher education contexts. Whereas most other resources on flipped learning simply extol the benefits of the practice or provide instructions on how to do it, this book gives detailed guidance on the types of obstacles which you will need to overcome in order to succeed. As such, I strongly recommend the book to anyone considering implementing flipped learning in a higher education context.