Flipped learning, blended learning, face-to-face, and e-learning are terms we’ve come to know well in the past decade, but how do the practices actually stack up against each other? The researchers in a new study were interested in how a flipped learning classroom compared to the other models in four areas: students’ learning performances, self-efficacy beliefs, intrinsic motivation, and perceived flexibility.
For this study, the researchers split 90 undergraduate students taking the same science course among four classes: flipped, blended, fully offline traditional, and fully online courses. A flipped class is one in which students watch lectures at home and complete activities and answer questions during the actual class time. A blended learning course is one that combines online learning with in-person learning, such as watching a teacher lecture in the classroom but completing assignments online. To collect results on these different models, the researchers administered pre- and post-test learning assessments and questionnaires to evaluate both learning outcomes and student levels of efficacy, motivation, and flexibility.
The results suggest that students in the flipped classroom had significantly better learning performance than students in the blended, traditional, and e-learning settings. Although students in the flipped classroom began the study with the lowest pre-test scores, they ended with the highest post-test scores, suggesting a steep increase in learning. In addition, the study found that students in the flipped classroom had significantly higher levels of self-efficacy, but also lower levels of intrinsic motivation. There was no difference in perceived flexibility among the classes.
This study demonstrates that flipped learning could potentially have a valuable place in higher education. The model involved web-based lectures, guiding questions, and immediate feedback from the instructor. If professors and schools are interested in increasing learning outcomes among their students, they may want to incorporate some or all of these elements into the classroom.
Thai, N. T., De Wever, B., Valcke, M. (2017). The impact of a flipped classroom design on learning performance in higher education: Looking for the best "blend" of lectures and guiding questions with feedback. Computers & Education, 107(4), 113–126.Image: IMG_1505 by AFS-USA Intercultural Program via Flickr