Ideas for a Flipped Classroom Model

By Bruno Bachmann — Posted on: June 30, 2016

Rather than argue if one teaching approach is more effective than another, this article seeks to develop some ideas around the flipped classroom model and perhaps provide some guidance or inspiration for further research.

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How can a flipped classroom model influence and inform instructional design?

The Idea

The classical flipped classroom model is one where students can acquaint themselves with material in their own time, at home usually, and engage in active learning during class time with the support of their teacher. Nevertheless, there are a number of other ways one can create a flipped classroom. At UBC, for instance, French-immersion teachers would spend 6 hours in class learning synchronously, while the rest of the class’s interactions occurred online. Remote students would also dial in online, achieving a virtual classroom presence. In recent years this teaching model has been gaining traction in educational communities all over the world. So what is all the hype about flipped classroom model and what can teachers do with it?
As Khan demonstrates in his TED Talk, the core value behind the flipped classroom method is that students are given the ability to learn in their own time and at their own pace, allowing them more personalized time with their teachers. Learners can take the time they need to master the material at home before coming into class instead of trying to keep up during lessons. Learning in the comfort of their own homes also means students can review previously covered material and strengthen foundational knowledge without falling behind or   having to push forward on shaky foundations. Allowing students to recognize and fill holes in their knowledge means learners can boost students’ feeling of responsibility for their own learning, an important skill in higher education.
When students return to the classroom they can be encouraged to further explore content they familiarized themselves with independently. With the use of in-class technology like iPads teachers can monitor students in their activities and identify those who need support in certain areas. This way teachers can provide valuable one-on-one time to students in need while allowing others to race ahead, or give the fast learners challenges to build on their existing knowledge and engage their creativity. Faster learners can even tutor their classmates, strengthening student relationships and understanding of material. Often students offer unique perspectives on content that teachers cannot.

Challenges and Considerations

Nevertheless, because the hybrid classroom’s purpose is to adapt teaching styles to varied learners it becomes important to recognize that certain students will be less engaged in self-teaching at home than others. This article makes a number of suggestions on what actions can be taken by teachers to further boost student engagement with course material. Moreover, some students may not have the technological means to access course material at home. For this reason schools may need to provide the required technologies and other resources to all learners to make flipped learning as effective as possible. Many hybrid learning models incorporate methods of student accountability like in-class quizzes and pre-activity recaps of information what was supposed to be learned at home. This way teachers can make sure their students are on the same page, and reward those who took the time to explore the material at home.

Flipped Classroom Ideas

There are a number of ways for educators to create flipped learning environments for their students. The classic approach involves having students watch lecture videos or do readings at home, but there are many others as well.

  1. Teachers can have students do research on certain topics in their subject areas and present them to the class. The project and passion based learning (PBL) models stem from this idea and are explained briefly in this ISTE article. The idea here is that learners are allowed the precious opportunity to explore subject areas and find their passions with the guidance of their teachers. Check out ASCD’s “Seven Essentials for Project Based Learning” for a general approach outline.
  2. Similarly, students can participate in inquiry-based learning. Here a teacher poses guiding questions that the students then investigate and come to understand on their own or in groups under supervision. This way students develop a deeper understanding of the topic in question while developing their leadership and research skills, relying on their supervisors to encouragement and guidance.
  3. Teachers can track student progress using open-source applications like Moodle or learning management systems like Blackboard Connect. This software allows teachers to customize their students’ learning environments, monitor the work they are doing, and the content they are interacting with, and the frequency and manner in which they do so.

Flipped Learning at UBC

Some professors at UBC are flipping their classrooms. This website showcases their experiences in doing so.

Interested in a flipped classroom?

If you are a UBC educator looking to incorporate a hybrid learning model feel free to contact Educational Technology Support at for help!

Additional Resources