Recording a lecture doesn’t equal a flipped classroom

Does a lecture move us up the arrow any?  Didn't think so.

Does a lecture move us up the arrow any? Didn’t think so.

According to researchers’s very preliminary work at Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, CA, “Flipped Classrooms” may not make any difference to students’ learning outcomes. This article has my knickers in a twist.

I don’t know what makes me more angry

a) that the researchers are right at the beginning of their grant and either they or the media who have picked up their *preliminary* work are prejudging the outcome, or

b) that someone has the bright idea that learners have to sit through a lecture at all, whether it is before or during scheduled class time.

Maybe educators should try something different than lecturing.  How about getting the students to dig around for the information, both inside and outside of class.  How about making them active participants in their own learning?  An educator’s best asset is his or her repository of knowledge, which includes knowing where to find things, how to make connections, and who else is doing excellent research in the field.

In my ideal “flipped classroom”, the educator would develop a “treasure hunt” of sorts for great information about the topic at hand.  Then the learners would come into the classroom ready to discuss, analyze, synthesize, apply and all those other higher orders of learning that Bloom talks about.  Why on earth would anyone assume that learners would do well with an hour of talking head on a learning management system when there is the whole Internet at their disposal?

I guess the corollary of this “preliminary” research is that a flipped classroom does not necessarily equal great pedagogy.

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3 responses

  1. Hmm.
    I am sympathetic to a), yet b) I think ignores a major potential benefit of the flipped model: Personalisation.

    With self-paced flip and, for example, the Khan academy, face-time can be used to resolve questions arising after learning.

  2. Hi Adrian –

    I agree that using Internet resources such as the Khan Academy videos is a move in the right direction. Personalization of learning is what learners need! The article ignored options such as this, and focused on instructors recording their own lectures. I can’t imagine why that would be a good idea, unless the instructor is already an excellent lecturer and video editor (like Sal Kahn, ). With hours of educational video being uploaded to YouTube alone every day, educators would be serving themselves and their classrooms better by learning how to curate good instruction from the Internet.

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