Tip #611: Can Flipped Learning Be Effective?

Flipping your classroom gives the students the chance to apply ideas rather than simply absorbing them.”  Higher Education Network

Before we answer this question, we should clarify what is meant by “flipped learning.” The idea is that requisite individual learning will occur prior to and outside of the classroom. In this way, classroom time can be used for interactive collaborative learning activities in which that knowledge is applied.

This pre-training information may include: prerecorded lectures, reading materials, video demonstrations and self-directed exercises. It may be provided in paper form, online through blogs, podcasts and videos, or through social networking and discussion boards.

Is flipped learning a good idea? Yes.

Can flipped learning be effective? The answer to this question is a very qualified “yes.”

There are numerous questions that need to be answered in order for flipped learning to work:

Selection of the Pre-Work:

  1. What change in knowledge or behavior is desired at the completion of the training program?
  2. What information do the participants need to learn on their own?
  3. What is a reasonable amount of information for participants to absorb?
  4. What is a reasonable amount of time to expect participants to do the pre-work?
  5. What format(s) will be most effective for the participants to learn and retain the information?
  6. What format(s) would be most comfortable for the participants?
  7. Who will design the pre-work?
  8. How long will it take to create the pre-work materials?


  1. Are the necessary systems in place to house the pre-work and document its completion?
  2. How will access to the pre-work be ensured for all participants?
  3. Will a dedicated website be necessary?
  4. How long will it take to design access points?
  5. How much time should elapse between completion of the pre-work and attendance in the classroom?
  6. How will the pre-work information be reinforced until attendance in the classroom?

Communication Regarding the Pre-Work

  1. How will the participants be notified about the pre-work?
  2. How will the participants be encouraged to complete the pre-work?
  3. Who will be responsible for responding to participant questions concerning the pre-work?
  4. How will participants be reminded to complete the pre-work?

Completion of the Pre-Work:

  1. When and where will the participants be expected to do the pre-work?
  2. Will participants be given work time to do the pre-work- and if so, how much time?
  3. What will be the deadline for the completion of the pre-work?
  4. How will completion of the pre-work be documented?
  5. How will participant completion of the pre-work be monitored?

Integration of the Pre-Work into Classroom Activities:

  1. Will it be necessary to check retention of pre-work information at the beginning of the class?
  2. How will the pre-work information be integrated into classroom activities?
  3. What learning activities will maximize the use of the class time?

As is obvious by these questions, developing pre-work requires thought.

And then there is the possible (if not probable) issue of one or more participants who come to class without completing the pre-work, because they were either unaware of the pre-work, lacked access to it, lacked time to complete it, or just blew off the requirement.

You may get the feeling that I have been less than successful with flipped learning experiments.

If you have managed this successfully, please share your tips!

May your learning be sweet.





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