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  • Writer's pictureMichelle D Rogers

Why You Should Flip Learning

Flipped learning is a popular buzz word. While science course labs have long been flipped, we are now seeing this course management approach slide into other educational domains as well.

Why Flip?


In essence, a flipped learning means having students review lecture materials and information outside of class and, when they come to class, doing interactive group work and activities that apply that learning during limited face-to-face (f2f) time. The idea is that we have few hours of f2f time with students so it is great if that time can be utilized to the maximum benefit.


Tools that Aid Flipping:

  1. Screencasting: With easy access to a variety of free and easy to use screencasting tools online, it has never been easier to create screencasted video lectures for students. Why waste precious class time going over materials they can view as a video prior to class.

  2. DLOs: There are tons of free tools online now that allow one to create interactive digital learning objects (DLOs) for courses. These can include video presentations, "test your learning" quizzes, matching, ordering and other interactive simulations, and much more.

  3. Limited Class Time: There is only so much f2f time with students, so why waste it droning on about ecosystems? Instead, for example, have students watch video lectures or YouTube videos online about ecosystem functions or nutrient cycles (to name just two topics) before they come to class, then do group work or applied learning in class with them when they have access to your (faculty, instructors, or teachers) expertise. Students pay tuition to have access to the expert: you. So, let them get the most out of your expertise and wisdom in your field.

  4. Teach Self-Efficacy: Students need to learn how to become leaders in their own learning and success. Only through knowing how to plan ahead and self-help can they become successful leaders in their lives and careers after college. Showing them how to access learning on their own time and come to you with questions about it during f2f time helps prepare them for success later in life.

  5. Catch Misconceptions: This one is huge! I taught online Environmental Science for years, and what I found was that I would lecture and they would take notes, and then they would write a paper, and the paper was full of fallacies and misconceptions because they had misunderstood some concepts, theories, or scientific cycles, etc. If the students had instead watched lecture videos before class, and we had covered the concepts interactively in class through activities or a question-and-answer session, then I would have caught those misconceptions and helped the students learn any concepts they were having trouble with BEFORE they go home to do independent work and papers using those concepts.

  • Tip: Just make sure to include a short quiz at the start of class to make sure they are motivated to view those materials before coming!

Some Recommended Recording Tools:

Other Great Tools to Use:

  1. Tip: As noted above, if you have lectures and learning materials they were supposed to study before coming to class, help motivate them by having a quiz at the start of class on those materials, and make those quizzes at least 10% of the total final grade. This encourages and motivates students to do that work prior to coming.

Here is a great video about a method of flipping the classroom called FIZZ. It is very easy to implement, and includes just making basic video lectures for students to view prior to coming to class:

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