The flipped classroom method is a technology-driven blended learning style that has grown popular in recent years. However, new research suggests that certain technology-induced blended learning models worsen achievement gaps between student groups. In other words, the flipped classroom might be more harmful to students than teachers realize.
In this study, students were divided into three groups based on their academic performance: underachieving, average, and high achieving. Some students were engaged in a blended-learning mathematics course while others attended a traditional face-to-face course. There were five characteristics of the blended-learning course: all lectures were done online with slides, classes were 75 minutes long, exams didn't differ from traditional courses and counted for 90% of the grade, students were not informed of the blended format before registering, and a quiz measuring aptitude was conducted at the beginning of the course.
The results revealed that low achieving students performed as expected in the traditional course, but more poorly in the blended course, while high achieving students did well in the traditional course, but performed even better in the blended course. Overall, the blended learning model enlarged academic performance disparities.
The results point to a possible academic threshold that should be in place before implementing blended learning courses in order not to increase gaps in achievement. However, there is hope that all students can benefit from the blended learning model if educators couch it with other activities such as mandatory assignments like quizzes, interaction opportunities like message boards and forums, and peer-to-peer learning activities like video conferencing with stronger students.
It is important for educators to consider the benefits and risks of new technologies and pedagogical practices before adopting them. The results of this study reveal that the benefits of technology can be lost if not implemented properly.Pixabay