22 May 2019

How the Flipped Classroom Provides Learner Engagement

Digital Immersion / Flipped Classroom


Heather Lo

Time is precious and many companies struggle daily to keep their employees engaged with training programs while still balancing demands from their primary roles. The optimum solution to this challenge lies in the movement of learning opportunities from traditional methodology to a “flipped classroom” approach. A flipped classroom can motivate your disengaged learners and accelerate the skill acquisition process.

What is the flipped classroom?

One of the key trends in professional development is flipped classroom learning, so how does this approach work and what does it mean for your learners?

The concept has actually been around since the 1990s. Although it can take many forms, the main idea is that learners consume content digitally prior to their training session. Then, they continue working with the material during class.

This blended learning approach increases instructional time as learners can receive direct instruction via interactive activities and videos. It also allows learners to implement what was learned through discussions, role-plays, debates, and other interactive activities.

Demystifying the Modern Learner
How technology and new learning preferences are shaping modern-day learning
Demystifying the Modern Learner
How technology and new learning preferences are shaping modern-day learning

When the term was originally coined it often referred to taped lectures created by the teacher. Now, it is used in a much broader sense to refer to all materials that learners consume before a class.

Activities are prepared in video, audio or text format, or sometimes combine all three. A variety of resources should be provided to reach learners with different learning preferences.

Each learner sets their own pace and can revisit the material as many times as needed before the scheduled session. The work can be completed at the optimal time for each learner, so whether they are a night owl or an early bird blended learning programs will deliver results.

The implementation of flipped classroom methodology expedites the learning process, resulting in higher levels of learner engagement.

How can the flipped classroom improve learner engagement?

Traditional learning often keeps the emphasis on the teacher, which can leave the learner as a passive recipient of information. Learners often arrive at sessions with little understanding of what exactly they will be learning about that day.

In today’s highly connected digital world, learners have the opportunity to flip this practice on its head and engage with the subject in the days leading up to a session in short, bite-sized chunks that are both manageable and engaging.

Further reading

By utilizing microlearning activities containing videos, graphics, bullet points, and quizzes, learners can easily fit learning into their busy lives and will be more engaged with the material than traditional methods allow.

A flipped classroom provides the best of both worlds approach to learning. Quality trainers guiding the learning process and a high level of learner engagement that comes with access to digital content.

Learners of all ages are increasingly looking to use digital tools to support their study habits.

In a survey of adult learners, 63% reported wanting to have access to activities that allowed them to check their understanding at the end of a study session.

Because learners in a flipped classroom can study anytime, anywhere, and at their own pace they are significantly more likely to internalize the material and be able to apply it to their work.

Traditional homework often has a negative connotation based on habits learned in primary school. Preparation activities, contrastingly, allow learners to attend their sessions with the confidence that they are ready to learn.

What’s more, companies have the added incentive of increasing the ROI of their training as learners can achieve their learning goals faster.

What do learners say about the flipped classroom?

Higher rates of learner engagement and greater satisfaction are reported when the flipped classroom approach is utilized.

In a recent study, more than 88% of learners reported investing significant effort to dive deeper into the subject being studied when learning in a flipped classroom. In fact, course ratings and learner satisfaction improve when this learning style is employed.

The trainer remains a key part of the learning experience.

The bond a learner forms with their trainer can be a powerful motivator. The digital content is not a replacement for the instructor, but a supplement that helps awaken curiosity in the learner.

Learner’s report a sense of freedom at having autonomy over what they learn. In traditional group sessions, everyone receives the exact same instruction and access to the same materials due to time limitations.

But by providing digital access to content in advance, learners are free to explore the content that best matches their learning goals and interests while trainers are free to interact with learners in small groups and individually much more so than in a traditional lecture-based setting.

In the live session, therefore, the learner is already making connections between the topics of study and their everyday lives. Often they are excited to share what they have already learned and come armed with questions and insights.

In this way, peer-to-peer learning and learner engagement are welcome byproducts of the flipped classroom.

Are you spending money on training that no one completes?

Let’s face it, in today’s busy workplace employees are time poor. The modern learner needs the entire learning process to be flexible with regards to both time and location.

While many see the value added by company-offered training programs, they are not considered a priority when time is tight.

By shifting the focus away from time spent in a classroom as the sole opportunity for learning, employees are able to use the session time to clarify, solidify, and internalize newly learned concepts through guided practice.

Demystifying the Modern Learner
How technology and new learning preferences are shaping modern-day learning
Demystifying the Modern Learner
How technology and new learning preferences are shaping modern-day learning

L&D managers no longer have to worry about wasting money on classes that are ineffective.

In the flipped classroom the learners are active and engaged participants both in and outside of the training session.

A flipped classroom program encourages mastery learning by allowing learners to revisit the material as often as needed.

As everything is available digitally, learners can watch videos as many times as they would like, reread the text, and even conduct further research to dive deeper into topics that are of interest to them.

Accelerate your learning

In the end, the greater the learner engagement the more value companies will get from their training offer. Meeting the needs of the modern learner by providing study opportunities both before and after sessions with microlearning content goes a long way towards improving learner engagement.

By utilizing a flipped classroom approach, employers provide an opportunity for accelerated learning, employee autonomy over what they learn, and a chance to implement their newly acquired knowledge in their daily lives right away.

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