Unit 1: Using a Flipped Classroom Approach

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Do you struggle to reach your students during lecture? Why not try a flipped classroom approach?


Before we begin, let's review a more traditional model of teaching, which includes:
  1. Lecture during class
  2. Homework is assigned to be completed outside of class

This is a standard structure for formal education, but learning also occurs outside of the classroom. For example, think of a hobby that you learned on your own, or from a friend.

brainstorming.png Take a few moments to reflect on this question - How is the traditional teaching/learning structure different from the real world learning you have experienced? After you have thought about different ways of learning, we can begin exploring the flipped classroom model.

In this module, you will:

  • Become familiar with the flipped class model
  • Discover how it can help students learn more effectively
  • Learn how to select an appropriate topic

What is a flipped classroom?


Image from The Flipped Classroom Infographic

A simple definition for a Flipped Classroom is:

  • That which is done in the classroom, is now done outside of class
  • That which is done after class, is now done during class

When looking at the traditional model in the image above, the instructor is in front of the class lecturing. Students are passive recipients of information. Homework is assigned for students to work on after the class. In this model, the teacher often takes the role of "Sage on the Stage", which means the teacher is the expert in front, disseminating information to the students. Since homework is done outside of class, students may not always get the guidance or feedback they need to fully understand the concepts.
FC 1.jpg

In the flipped classroom model, the students are actively participating during class. The instructor plays the role of "Guide on the Side", by facilitating student learning, answering questions, assisting students who are struggling, and guiding the activity. The lecture is an asyncronous lesson that is assigned for the student to view before coming to class.
FC 2.jpg

Many teachers have heard about the Flipped Classroom method, and many hold misconceptions about how this teaching strategy should be used. Click to view a graphic organizer that provides some additional description of what Flipped Classroom means.

monitor.png Watch this video to hear one of the cofounders of this model, Aaron Sams, talk about how he utilizes this method in his teaching.

How is a Flipped Classroom beneficial?

Let's review the advantages of utilizing a flipped classroom model:

Active Learning

  • Students can control pace of pre-class lesson (pause, rewind, replay)
  • Students can reflect on concepts, pause to take notes, jot down questions, and summarize learning during the pre-class lesson
  • Class is transformed from passive listening to active learning time
  • Classroom management issues decrease since students are busy and engaged


  • Pre-recorded lectures can accommodate student or teacher absences
  • Busy students involved in many activities or sports can review lectures when convenient
  • Students can approach the pre-class direct instruction at their own pace

Personalized Learning

  • Enables differentiated instruction
  • Students who struggle can get extra help during class time
  • Structure allows students to practice mastery of content
  • Gaps in prerequisite knowledge can be identified more efficiently
  • Assignments can be adjusted based on student's ability and progress
  • Enables Just in Time teaching
  • Students learn to manage their own time


  • Videos and multimedia speak to today's students
  • Promotes learning with tools that students use in their personal life


  • Increases student-teacher interaction during class time
  • Encourages stronger relationships between student and teacher
  • Promotes student-student interaction

Parental Involvement

  • Parents may learn and benefit from the pre-class lessons
  • Lesson content is transparent, parents can see exactly what is taught
  • Parents can be involved in diagnosing learning problems

What type of lesson should be used for a Flipped Classroom approach?

Here are some characteristics of lessons that will work well for a flipped classroom approach:

  • Content can be chunked into 15- 20 minute sections
  • Concepts can be illustrated effectively using images and multimedia
  • Lectures or lessons may be available through shared open content
  • Lessons where students may need to practice and apply concepts
  • Material which generates many student questions

Test Your Understanding

Please use the following quiz to test and refine your understanding of the concepts in this unit:

Take the quiz to check your understanding

Apply your Knowledge

1. Share what you have learned by answering the following questions in the discussion area: (click on the discussion tab on the top of this page).

  • Select a concept or lesson that you feel would benefit from using a Flipped Classroom approach.
  • State why you selected the lesson.
  • Describe how using the flipped classroom model will benefit your students for your selected lesson.

2. Reply to a classmate's post in the discussion area and comment on their work. Please be sure to offer constructive and helpful comments!

Putting it all Together


Now that you know a little about the flipped classroom model, I would like you to watch this video from Paul Andersen, an instructor who has used this model. The video captures his reflections, which may help you when thinking about lesson design in the upcoming units.

4.png Now that you have completed Unit 1, click here to start Unit 2: Planning the Pre-class lesson.


Bergmann, Jonathan, and Aaron Sams. Flip Your Classroom: Reach Every Student in Every Class Everyday. International Society for Technology in Education, 2012.

Bergmann, Jonathan, Jerry Overmyer, and Brett Wilie. "The Flipped Class: Myths vs. Reality." The Daily Riff 14, April 2012: n.pag. Web. 19, Oct. 2012.

The Flipped Classroom Infographic. Knewton. 12 Nov. 2012. www.knewton.com.

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