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The Rise of Flipped Classroom Learning During Covid-19

flipped classroom

Although Covid-19 has impacted the world in so many ways, it has also laid the foundations for an astonishing transformation in education. While it has exposed the gaps in traditional public education, it has also unearthed the infinite possibilities when it comes to online learning and the benefits of a flexible education approach. There is no question that school closures and the transition to remote learning have been a challenge for many students and educators, especially for children without access to digital devices and internet connectivity at home. However, we have also seen how some young people have thrived with a more flexible, online learning model which supports self-paced, personalized, and independent learning.

This has sparked much needed debate around the future of education, providing a unique opportunity for us to reassess the way we deliver teaching and learning in the 21st Century and consider how alternative methods, such as online teaching and blended learning, should be considered more seriously when it comes to catering for a wider range of students.

The new age of personalized online learning

With much uncertainty remaining around schools reopening and variation across states, it is unsurprising that there has been a significant spike in schools offering hybrid learning and families seeking home-schooling options. According to a recent USA Today poll, 60 per cent of parents with K-12 children said they were more likely to consider home-learning rather than sending their children back to school. Of course, face-to-face teaching remains a valuable part of the education experience, yet the pandemic has shown how virtual classrooms can also provide an engaging, accessible and interactive option for learners, especially those who might struggle with traditional classroom teaching methods.

As any educator will tell you, each student is different, and a teaching method which works well for one child might not work for another. Some students will be much quicker to pick up new concepts while others might need more time to solidify their understanding. Some students, for example those with behavioural issues or medical challenges, might be better able to concentrate on their studies outside of the ‘normal’ school day hours, and without the distractions which come with the physical classroom environment.

Learning online can also provide students the flexibility and confidence to focus and thrive with their studies. For instance, many schools and universities find that students feel more comfortable asking questions and sharing ideas when they don’t understand a topic in an online setting, which in turn improves their engagement with the subject. With online learning, teachers have greater scope to plan and assign personalized content and timetables for students according to their levels and abilities without impacting their workloads, as well as enabling the student to learn at a pace which suits them and benefit from more individualized learning.

The flipped classroom concept

It is no secret that a ‘one size fits all’ learning model simply does not work for the majority of students today, and Covid-19 has accelerated the shift towards edtech as a means to deliver a more flexible, dynamic and accessible education experience. We have seen that education doesn’t have to stop just because schools are closed, and that traditional teaching approaches are not always conducive to nurturing well-rounded, independent thinkers. We are also living in a digital age with a generation of students who have grown up confident using technology and consuming content through digital devices. Through harnessing edtech tools, we can explore new ways of reaching and engaging with children who might have been ‘closed -off’ to traditional teaching methods. One such method which has become increasingly popular during the pandemic is flipped classroom learning.

Whether it is used as a standalone teaching tool or as part of a hybrid approach, online learning lends itself to a fun and engaging education experience. The flipped classroom method promotes independent and student-led thinking rather than a reliance on the teacher’s instruction, whereby students have access to learning materials and objectives and are able to complete any assigned tasks ahead of class. For example, a teacher might set a math quiz within the LMS for students to take before the lesson and upload their results to the platform. Lesson time therefore becomes a space for group discussion and collaboration, freeing up time for specific queries and talking through their work with the teacher. In doing so, this encourages the students to take ownership of their learning, to develop their independent thinking skills and importantly to self-reflect on their comprehension. These are all crucial skills which, if developed now, will stand young people in good stead for adulthood.

Of course, the flipped classroom model is most effective when combined with regular support and guidance from the teacher. For any parent or school considering an online learning platform, it is important to select one which facilitates teacher monitoring and assessment remotely, to help children stay on top of their learning. Learning platforms that allow students to communicate with their teachers and classmates at any time, sharing when they’re taking a quiz or if they have a query about the lesson, can also help to replicate the social interaction benefits of a physical classroom setting. This element helps students to feel connected with their teacher, whilst maintaining a sense of independence with their learning.

Many educators have had to adapt quickly to new online learning platforms and video conferencing tools during Covid-19, all while figuring out new ways to keep students engaged and motivated remotely. The flipped classroom can be a highly effective teaching method for students learning online, providing them with the freedom to access learning materials and study independently in their own time, while still benefiting from live teacher support. Using an LMS enables educators to get creative and plan flexible, personalized lessons, which encourage students to take charge and, more importantly, enjoy the learning experience.  

By Graham Glass, CEO of Cypher Learning