Flipped Classroom

THE FLIPPED CLASSROOM MODEL IN E-LEARNING TRAINING

eLearning

In the delivery of knowledge, a change of role between students and teachers provides students with an active and collaborative attitude, which places them at the center of their own learning process.

The two stages of learning

Lately, the incorporation of technology in society has meant a radical change in our life and work models, compared to those of previous generations. With this, an accelerated process of adaptation and need for innovation (on which we are still working), has been installed among us.

In a global, constantly changing market, the obligation to add new knowledge and keep it permanently updated is now emerging as a fundamental objective to maintain our professional competitiveness. Therefore, in many companies and organizations, continuous training has become an unavoidable goal to improve and maintain their position.

Like the rest of sectors, education must face this new challenge. In this sense, the introduction of new ways of giving knowledge represents a very important advance in the evolution and increase of the effectiveness of teaching processes.

Among all of these new ways, today we will talk about flipped classroom or inverted class. This technique arises from the interest of young educators in adopting a renewed speech and incorporating new technologies to the face-to-face training model. A proposal that suggests a paradigm change in the delivery of knowledge: to switch the order of the participants involved in the process.

In other words: from the model in which the teacher spends class time fundamentally transmitting certain content to the students so that, afterwards and outside the classroom, they study and assimilate it with the support of complementary documentation, we move on to a model that suggests a role switch.

Now, from the delivery of several data and references, taking advantage of the ease and scope of new digital media, it is the student, aside from face-to-face time, who first searches and investigates the subject. Later, and in the classroom, they analyze results and discuss doubts and questions with other classmates and the teacher.

So, in this new situation, what was previously considered as "complementary documentation" becomes search and analysis material for this first stage. A model that, above all, seeks to spark off an active and collaborative attitude in the students that places them at the center of their own learning process.

Flipped Classroom
The flipped classroom technique in the e-learning environment

But, how is the flipped classroom technique adapted to e-learning?

In the flipped classroom model of distance learning, we also speak of a two-stage classroom. However, in this case, stages are in virtual format, the first one being asynchronous and the second one, synchronous. That is: in the first stage, based on the data stated by the teaching expert, students do some research on their own, without the need to share schedule or training space. In the second stage, and together with the expert, all students meet in the live virtual classroom to share results and discuss proposals.

Therefore, the only difference of the flipped classroom in e-learning environments with respect to its application in face-to-face training is that, in the second stage, the physical classroom where participants meet is replaced by a virtual one thanks to the resources incorporated in the LMS platform.

And in what types of training is the application of the flipped classroom technique recommended?

Flipped classroom is especially recommended, for example, in all those project-oriented training capsules in which, in addition to managing comprehension skills, students must develop application skills. To better understand this, let's analyze a case.

Imagine there is a company that manufactures electrical components to be installed in public and civil works. The selection and choice of the solution offered must go through the strict analysis and validation of the client's technical team. This process involves answering all their questions with precision and knowing how to advise them on the optimal application and adjustment to the specific features of their projects. Therefore, an appropriate training of our commercial team in the offer of products oriented to projects will be decisive for the success of the sale. Let's get to work!

An e-learning course is set. After teaching (in asynchronous format) about the models and characteristics of our components, an activity whose aim is that students acquire the ability to incorporate them correctly in the design of a work is proposed. Thus, based on the briefing of a simulated project, it is suggested that students do some research and analyze related information (projects with similar characteristics, cases of success, competitors’ offers, etc.) and then present their best solution.

For this type of activity, flipped classroom format will work very well. In the first stage, research and analysis, the asynchronous format will be applied. Then, with the results obtained, all students and the expert will move on to the synchronous format, in which they will meet online to share and discuss their findings and proposals.

Thanks to this crossed information and to the experience and viewpoint of their classmates, the perspective of each student will be significantly expanded, and their ability to answer questions and respond to situations that may arise in real cases will increase. From this moment, they are placed in a position of advantage over others to offer the best solution for the application of products in the project.

As a result of this process, the members of our sales team will be encouraged to incorporate a new ability into their skills: beyond simply being salespersons who sell electrical components, now being competent advisors who understand and share the problems of their clients' projects.

Flipped Classroom
The role of the expert in the flipped classroom model

As in other collaborative dynamics, the role of the expert is essential in the flipped classroom model. They are no longer mere transmitters of knowledge. Now, they are promoters of the students’ autonomous learning and motivators of cooperative work.

The responsibility of this expert is to guide and direct the students so that they acquire new knowledge, apply it properly and actively participate in the presentations and debates, boosting a dynamic and interactive environment that favors training.

Therefore, their ability to socialize the class, present challenges, criticize positively, assess proposals, open new lines of debate and maintain participation at all times is of vital importance. It must be considered that here, students do not learn “from this person”, but “with this person”, so his or her intuition to guide this path, without imposing personal criteria, is essential to bring out the creativity and critical thinking of the students.

Conclusions

As previously said, and favored by the progress of technological resources such as the immediacy of access to information or people’s interconnectivity and ubiquity, we are in a time of great change. If we add to this the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be able to appreciate how new ways of doing things grow around us.

Teleworking, which was incorporated as a provisional alternative in a crisis situation, far from being forgotten in this new post-pandemic stage, is proposed, when allowed by the work model, as a great opportunity to balance the work and home lives of many employees, thus improving their quality of life.

On the other hand, a large number of training environments, even recovering face-to-face classes in most of their programs, already incorporate blended learning and e-learning as a competitive value of their current educational offer.

In the environment of companies and organizations, we can see how many of them are reinforcing and promoting their distance training programs.

Therefore, if as a manager for any of these, you are in the process of transforming and optimizing your teaching content, do not forget that techniques such as flipped classroom can improve the quality and results of the training.

Remember:

  • The introduction of new ways of giving knowledge represents a very important advance in the evolution and increase of the effectiveness of teaching processes.
  • The flipped classroom is a technique that, switching roles between students and teachers, seeks to provoke an active and collaborative attitude in the students that places them at the center of their own learning process.
  • The flipped classroom is especially recommended in project-oriented training models where, in addition to managing comprehension skills, students must develop application skills.
  • The expert socializes the class, presents challenges, criticizes positively, assesses proposals, opens new lines of debate and maintains participation at all times. This role is essential, as students no longer only learn “from this person”, but “with this person”.

Magí del Campo

Magí is a Training Coordinator, trainer, designer and audiovisual producer. He is a partner and head of the training area at Futura Training & Consulting, an Opentrends teaching content company. Furthermore, he works on projects for the transformation and adaptation of corporate content, both technical and technological, with the aim of providing the user with an attractive, easy and direct language.