The flipped classroom can be an excellent student centered technique to advance learning. It provides students the skills to learn, to be independent and to take responsibility for their personal development. In addition, it can be a valuable way for the instructor to find more classroom time when we have the students face-to-face. It can work as long as the learning is assessed along the way.
I teach Culture and Ethics to a cohort of international student who bring with them various forms of learning experiences. In some countries the learning is driven by assigning reading with a follow-up lecture by the instructor. In other countries, the learning is done by memorization of words in a text book. The movement in the Canadian educational system is away from lecture-drive teaching to student centered learning and may be a culture shock for many of these international students.
I tried the flipped classroom technique, however, I did not know at the time that I was using this technique. I provided the students a web link to discover for themselves the Hofstede Cultural Dimensions study for particular countries. The Hofstede measures the effects of a society’s culture on the values of its members and compares them again certain dimension such as individualism versus collectivism or masculinity versus femininity. The following class we had a discussion of what the Hostede measures and how they could incorporate this information into their group presentations due later in the course. In order to complete the group presentation, they were required to research a culture and provide the learnings from an international business perspective. The students were able to grasp the Hofstede measurement and introduced their finding in their presentations. That is a true measurement of their comprehension of the material. Self-discovery and research engages and prepares the student for real life scenarios that may present themselves. The flipped classroom worked for me as an instructor and the students.
It is important to assess comprehension (besides results from an exam). Robert Talbert provides four assessment strategies for a flipped learning environment. The four dimensions include developing good learning objectives, employ a “frequent and small” approach, use pre-formative” (as opposed to formative or summative) assessment and act on the data.
Give the flipped classroom a try as it can be your friend. It will create a wonderful learning environment for students and should be a tool in your tool kit of student centered instructional techniques.