Trends in Adult Learning

Reflections on the Flipped Classroom

When I first heard the term “flipped classroom” I thought it meant that each student taught a section of the class guided by the instructor.  In my first year of teaching, I assigned each student to teach one concept (very short 2 – 3 minutes) to the class.  I told them that by teaching a concept they will have a much better understanding of the topic.  Overall, some students provided great examples with their definitions, though several just read verbatim from their notes. This was part of their participation mark.

Now I understand that the definition of a flipped classroom is when an instructor videotapes lectures, which the students watch at home on their own time and at their own pace (Goodwin & Miller, 2013).  The instructor then forms small groups and the students discuss the lectures and the instructor circulates the room to guide discussion.  The hope is that the student will actually remember the material and then be able to get a better mark via participation.

I was curious about the research on the flipped classroom and the pros and cons using this approach.  In the recent article in the Faculty Focus entitled “Flipped Classroom Highlights Benefits and Challenges” by Bart (2015), the results appear to be positive from both the instructor (70%)and student (64%) perspective and in some classes students are getting higher grades.  The cons appear to be the amount of preparation time for the instructor, lack of motivation on the part of the student and some students still prefer the instructor to be in charge (Bart 2015).  It also depends on what topic is being delivered.  For example, I am very fortunate that the class that I teach has a large practical component.  Once the basic skills are learned, then different scenarios can be played out in the form of case studies where students can learn from each other.  In this case, I circulate around and stimulate discussion and highlight that there is a different approach to each patient they may be working with.

 Bryan, G & Miller, K. 2013 March. Research Says/Evidence from Flipped Classrooms Still Coming In.  Retrieved from:
Bart, A. 2015 August. Flipped Classroom Survey Highlights Benefits and Challenges. Retrieved from:



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