MiniCPD: The Flipped Classroom

Dr Clare Ray introduces the concept of the 'flipped classroom'.

In this MiniCPD, Dr Clare Ray introduces the concept of the 'flipped classroom' and how this can be used in a bi-modal teaching context. For more advice, see the HEFi Canvas Remote Teaching Resource. 


The flipped classroom or flipped learning is built on the premise that there are now a multitude of ways to deliver or for students to engage with course content aside from the traditional lecture. Using some of these alternative modes of delivery for online knowledge acquisition, for example podcasts, videos, animations, pre-reading and quizzes, frees up lecture time when you’re face to face with the students for knowledge construction.  We can help students start to make sense of their course material, reinforce key concepts, test their knowledge understanding and application of content, and help them identify the areas in which perhaps they need to do additional study.

My approach is to provide short five to ten-minute podcasts recorded using Panopto which are aligned to specific single learning outcomes or objectives. The podcasts often finish with a summary of the key points and pose a question to challenge the students to apply and their knowledge. Typically I would have six to seven podcasts for the students to engage with before each timetabled session. In the timetabled session I use a variety of approaches. I discuss and explore the questions posed in the podcasts – to do this I use TurningPoint audience response software to ask questions, employing peer instruction and re-polling where necessary. The questions help to identify common misconceptions which I can then address using the visualizer to provide explanations. I also use questions or worksheets which encourage students to collaborate in small groups to test and apply their knowledge and receive and provide feedback on their learning.

The challenge in making the flipped classroom successful is in communicating to the students the evidence underpinning the efficacy of the approach. This includes acknowledging that they may find it more challenging and difficult than a traditional approach. Students taught in an active classroom learn more but feel like they learn less; it is important to help students understand this. They may also perceive that the flipped classroom approach requires more time so it’s important to show students that it just changes the points at which they work independently and allows them to get personalised feedback on their own learning during the semester, when more support is close at hand, rather than during the revision period when they are often not in the position to receive face-to-face feedback and support.

I would encourage you to give the flipped classroom a go.