Flipped Classrooms Can Help Deepen Student Learning

Flipped Classrooms Can Help Deepen Student Learning

What is this Research About?

Recent research has stressed the importance of active learning within classrooms. One way in which universities incorporate active learning techniques is through flipped classrooms. Flipped classrooms bring student-centered learning to the forefront. This type of teaching provides students with lecture materials and learning goals before class. Students consume these materials in their own time. In-class time, then, consists of active learning strategies that push students to engage, apply, and question what they have learned. In this study, the researchers considered how male students, who tend to report less enjoyment of flipped classrooms, interact within the active learning environment.   

What did the Researchers Do?

The researchers examined students’ perceptions of flipped classroom learning in a graduate course on qualitative research. External facilitators led two separate focus groups of male students. The focus groups took place in consecutive years and were comprised of students who had taken the course in the previous semester. Students in the focus groups were asked to reflect on and offer suggestions to improve their experiences of flipped classroom learning. Researchers then analyzed the focus group data using thematic analysis.  

What did the Researchers Find?

The researchers found that trust and first impressions played a large role in the effectiveness of flipped classroom environments. Working technology was also key to success. Participants’ feedback on the flipped classroom method was mixed. Overall, participants felt more in control of their learning when they were able to choose how and when to engage with pre-recorded lectures. Participants were more likely to engage deeply with their peers when they had the tools to come to class prepared. If students listened to pre-recorded lectures before class, they were more likely to find classroom collaboration time useful and engaging. 

→ How to Implement this Research in Your Classroom

Flipped classrooms can encourage students to engage deeply with classroom material, as long as students trust that the pre-class work is worthwhile. In a study of male graduate students, researchers utilized two focus groups to explore feedback on flipped classroom methods. This method of using pre-recorded lectures as well as collaborative and applied class time offered students the flexibility to engage with course content on their own time. Students were also able to engage with the practical application of the content during structured time with more hands-on support from the instructor. Flipped classroom techniques are especially useful when: 

  • Pre-recorded lectures are no longer than 10-15 minutes long 

  • The lectures are available on easily accessible technological platforms  

  • Expectations of instructor and student roles throughout in class and out of class work are clearly stated  

→  Citation

Sigurðardóttir, M. & Heijstra, T. M. (2020). Mixed approaches to learning in the flipped classroom: How students approach the learning environment. The Canadian Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 11(1), 1–15. https://doi.org/10.5206/cjsotl-rcacea.2020.1.8098   

→  Keywords

  • Active learning
  • Student Engagement
  • Flipped Classrooms
  • Learning Environment
  • Approaches to Learning 

Creative Commons by logo This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Canada License

Snapshot Writer: Julia Linares-Roake

Snapshot Publication Date: 2022

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