What Is “Flipped” Learning?

Flipped learning means inverting the traditional model of what happens in and out of the classroom, especially in lecture-based courses.

  • Traditionally, most class time is spent with the instructor conveying information, demonstrating skills, or facilitating carefully guided discussion. Students do reading before class and practice or apply their learning later, largely outside the classroom through homework or assignments.
  • In the flipped model, classroom time becomes student-focused rather than faculty-focused or information-focused. The instructor provides robust pre-class learning materials (like video lectures or demonstrations), and class time is focused on active student involvement. This does not mean self-teaching or extra homework. It means revising what you do in and out of class time to maximize interaction when you are together.

Melanie Brown, Michael Opperman, and Warren Sides, professors of math at Champlain, provide an introduction to flipped learning:

Slides are also available in PDF format (Champlain login required)

A follow-up to this video by the same professors shows examples from their classes; for privacy reasons, it is limited to those with Champlain logins. Both video and slides are available.

Flipped Learning and Virtual or Hybrid Teaching

The flipped learning model can be especially valuable for virtual and hybrid course design, in which your synchronous or in-person time with students may be limited. Conveying information outside of a synchronous meeting time is more accessible to students. More importantly, it allows you to focus on practice, interaction, community, engagement, and exploration in your live meetings. We received many questions from faculty during Covid-19 about enhancing these aspects of remote learning, and flipped learning is a great way to build your course around active student participation.

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