The Flipped Learning Phenomenon

Last updated: 25th November 2016

If you work in the education sector (or like me, have children in full time education) then you may be familiar with the concept of ‘Flipped Learning’ and its increasing use in educational establishments across the world.   If you aren’t then Flipped Learning is a change in approach where the conventional notion of classroom or lecture based learning is reversed or flipped.  Students are introduced to the learning material beforehand, with classroom or lecture time then being freed up and used to deepen understanding through discussion with peers and problem-solving activities or projects facilitated by teachers or lecturers.


Therefore, at its simplest, flipped learning is a reversal of the traditional classwork/homework routine that is combined with a blended learning approach typically made up of face to face interaction and online content.


So what effect does this homework/classwork shift have on the traditional form of teaching and lecturing?  How does pre-recording and uploading videos of class based work or lectures allow students to engage more with their subject and their teacher?  Whilst not every classroom or lecture theatre is the same, the answer is that it can have a noticeable and long lasting effect.  With flipped learning, teachers or lecturers do not stand at the head of the class reading out of books or from power point slides at set times and students no longer need to be there listening at that point in time.  However, it is important to note that even though ‘flipping’ provides teachers or lecturers with more classroom time, it does not determine how they actually use that time.  That is still the role of the teacher or lecturer.


Easy to use products such as TechSmith’s SnagIt and Camtasia can be used to record and upload the videos to an appropriate Virtual Learning Environment (VLE).  This means that the content can be viewed well in advance and at a time that is appropriate to the student.  With a suitable connection, it can also be viewed in any place on any endpoint device.  In Higher Education, students often try to capture what is being said, meaning they never stop to think and reflect on the information presented to them.  The use of video puts that control back into the students’ hand. They can view the video as many times as they want, at a pace they want, which can help reinforce learning on particularly complex subjects.


The flipped classroom may not suit every establishment or indeed every teacher or lecturer.  Often the choice to run a flipped classroom comes down to the individual and their specific teaching style.  It does involve some upfront work but TechSmith’s Camtasia product in particular has been optimised for flipped classrooms.  Its screencasting and powercasting features make this work relatively painless and results in highly personalized content. 


The level of success that teachers and lecturers are experiencing in terms of improved engagement and results with their students means that this style of learning is here to stay.  If you aren’t a convert then you may find it worthwhile to experiment with flipping a lesson or two, you never know where it might take you!


Full Infografic by Knewton available here:

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