Teaching on the Flip-side
March 15, 2018
By Dr Nicolas Matthee

The 21st-century brings a wealth of challenges to the world of education including the dual function of equipping students with the applicable knowledge and 21st-century skills to adapt in a vigorously changing society. Educators are left to decide which routes are best to take in responding to this challenge. Luckily, they are not alone as many other educators and researchers around the world are busy engaging with this topic.

Alison King published her book From Sage on the Stage to Guide on the Side in 1993, providing the impetus for the movement of the flipped classroom. The flipped classroom methodology quickly gained momentum through a wide variety of literature exploring the enhanced teaching paradigm. Academics, educators and innovators alike explored this exciting new teaching paradigm where traditional teaching is not replaced but enhanced by occasionally flipping it on its head. The flipped classroom concept is explained by Milman (2012: 85) as “the idea is that rather than taking up valuable class time for an instructor to introduce a concept (often via lecture), the instructor can create a video lecture, screencast, or vodcast that teaches students the concept, freeing up valuable class time for more engaging (and often collaborative) activities typically facilitated by the instructor.”

Recent research indicates that students react positively to instruction based on a flipped classroom pedagogy. Jacob Enfield published an article in the Tech Trends journal stating that amongst the group of students participating in the research they:

  • Found instructional videos helpful, engaging and appropriately challenging;
  • They enjoyed being able to progress through the material at their own pace;
  • Found the in-class activities that followed the flip engaging.

Researchers Rasmussen et al. (2014) provides the following chart to visualise the data they received from their student feedback on the flipped classroom method:

While the flipped classroom methodology might not be the be-all end-all to pedagogical challenges in the 21st-century, it offers educators creative ways to facilitate and teach valuable 21st-century skills.  Jon Bergman, Aaron Sams and other pioneers host the Flipped Learning Network as an online hub where educators can learn more about flipping their classes and ITSI also offers courses on flipped classroom methodology. Flipped classroom is not just about sending your students a video, it’s about enhancing their learning process to be confident in their skills as 21st-century citizens.