Flipped Learning

By Austin Shaffer

Hello everyone, Austin Shaffer here. Today, I will be giving an overview on the Flipped Learning paradigm through discussing some of the important aspects associated with it. There have been quite a bit of creative solutions introduced into the classroom over the years to try and facilitate in the learning process for our students. Flipped Learning has created quite a bit of buzz in the learning community, so I would like to look at it a little more closely.

Flipped Learning essentially started in 2007 by John Bergmann and Aaron Sams. Although, it was arguably first mentioned and implemented unsuccessfully in 2000 by a couple of professors from the University of Miami. It was known then as the Inverted Classroom (Noonoo, 2012, para. 3). Initially, Bergmann and Sams implemented software into their classroom that would record their live lectures. Stemming from that, they decided to stop lecturing their students altogether, and instead prerecorded all of their lectures for their students to view. Through more practice and other ideologies, this became the Flipped Classroom. There are a lot of misconceptions about what Flipped Learning actually entails. Many members of the learning community think it just entails student work at home. “Flipped Learning is an approach that allows teachers to implement a methodology or various methodologies into their classrooms” (“Definition of Flipped Learning”, 2014, para. 2).

Flipped Learning is built upon the foundation of four pillars which include: a flexible learning environment, learning culture, intentional content, and a professional educator. To better understand Flipped Learning, I would like to take a look at each pillar more closely (“Definition of Flipped Learning”, 2014, para. 5-8). The first pillar, a flexible learning environment, allows for a variety of learning modes. It is often noted how educators will physically arrange their learning spaces to better integrate a lesson or unit. By doing so, they allow students the freedom to choose when and where they learn (“Definition of Flipped Learning”, 2014, para. 5). For the second pillar, learning culture, rather than the traditional teacher-centered model, the instructor centers the model to a more learner-centered approach. By doing so, during class, topics can be explored more fully and as a result students feel more involved in the learning process throughout (“Definition of Flipped Learning”, 2014, para. 6). For the third pillar, intentional content, educators must make every effort to help students develop self-centered learning. Educators must determine what materials should be taught by themselves and what materials students should explore on their own to arrive at the appropriate conclusions. By doing so, educators can maximize their classroom time (“Definition of Flipped Learning”, 2014, para. 7). The final pillar, a professional educator, entails how an educator must be an expert of their craft. It is argued that a Flipped Classroom is much more demanding of a traditional one. With this in mind, the educator must be very observant and continually provide feedback for their students. Being reflective throughout the learning process is key to the successful implementation of the Flipped Learning Paradigm (“Definition of Flipped Learning”, 2014, para. 8).
Through the implementation of the previously aforementioned four pillars, educators can expect to see a shift away from the traditional classroom. It is important for educators to remember that their role in the Flipped Learning Classroom is as a guide or facilitator to knowledge, rather than spoon-feeding the information to their students (Prensky, 2010, p. 21-25).

You may ask yourself, “Why implement the Flipped Learning Classroom?” It is important to realize that students today are much different than students from the past. With modernized technology, such as the internet, students have the potential to learn much more than in the past. Furthermore, as a result of their upbringing, students today expect much more from their learning experience. While we have discussed the educator’s role in the classroom, let’s now take a look at the student’s role. According to Prensky (2010), the students must take on the role of the following: a researcher, a technology user and expert, a thinker, a world changer, and a self-teacher (p. 18-20). These defining characteristics help to promote the Flipped Learning Paradigm in the classroom. Another role that must be clearly defined in the Flipped Classroom Paradigm, is the role the parents play. Their role is key to successful student learning. Parents should make every attempt to act as an educator would; As a facilitator to knowledge. Parents should also be expected to encourage their students self-learning and be involved in every way possible (Bergmann, 2013). Within the Flipped Learning Paradigm, sometimes parents can be resistant to change. As they expect teachers to teach rather than students teaching themselves. As such, educators must reach out to parents to explore their concerns and remedy any potential issues. Educators must encourage parents to remain active and present within their students education (Bergmann, 2013).

Some other important considerations for the Flipped Learning Classroom Paradigm is technology accessibility. It is important to understand what technological limitations your students may have. What technology is available in the classroom versus what is available to students at home. Depending upon your answers, modification of your curriculum might be necessary to ensure your students are learning appropriately. Another important consideration is exploring what topics your students are passionate about. A cornerstone of the Flipped Learning Paradigm is engaging your students through interesting topics. Be sure to explore what your students are most interested in learning about, and modify your curriculum as necessary. Flexibility is key.

Finally, it is important to understand our own limitations with regards to the Flipped Learning Paradigm. When considering lesson plans and activities for students, be sure to ask yourself whether or not this is something you currently feel comfortable with. If you aren’t comfortable, consider alternative means to deliver the instructional materials. Additionally, utilize the many resources available to build upon your own deficiencies as an educator. Some educators might be intimidated to move to a new teaching paradigm. Prensky (2010) suggests asking yourself some of the following questions before considering implementing this Flipped Learning Paradigm: Do I know how to translate content into guiding questions? Can I make learning real and not just relevant? Do I see alternatives to lecturing content? And am I comfortable letting students take the mainstage? (p. 32) If you answered yes to the previous questions, then it might be time to consider implementing the Flipped Learning Paradigm in your classroom. If you answered no to some or all of these questions, consider what matters most in your own pedagogical thinking. Consider the learning process your students currently use, and how you could create a better learning environment conducive to the learning process.

Through reading through some of the insights on the Flipped Learning paradigm, I hope you have gained a better understanding of how this paradigm works, and how it can show a real positive change in the classroom. I hope any educator would consider implementing this paradigm for the benefit of not only themselves, but most importantly for their students. Thank you.


Bergmann, J. (2013, August 26). What If Your Child Is In A Flipped Classroom? Retrieved April 23, 2017, from http://www.jonbergmann.com/what_parents_should_know_if_their_child_is_in_a_flipped_classroom/

Definition of Flipped Learning. (2014, March 12). Retrieved April 23, 2017, from http://flippedlearning.org/definition-of-flipped-learning/

Noonoo, S. (2012, June 20). Flipped Learning Founders Set The Record Straight. Retrieved April 23, 2017, from https://thejournal.com/articles/2012/06/20/flipped-learning-founders-q-and-a.aspx

Prensky , M. (2010). Teaching Digital Natives. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin: A Sage Company.

Flipped Learning

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