Flipped classroom survey highlights benefits and challenges

Posted on September 14th, 2015

The flipped classroom continues to gain attention, but how is it actually working in practice? Faculty Focus, an online publication that focuses on effective teaching strategies for university classrooms, recently conducted a survey asking their readers what they thought the term flipped classroom meant, if they had used a flipped classroom approach in their courses, how they were using it, and what benefits it offered for their students. Amongst the 1,089 respondents there was some discrepancy about what a flipped classroom approach actually encompasses. Some respondents focused on definitions related to leveraging technology (i.e. videos of lectures), while others described it in terms of active, student-centered, collaborative learning strategies. While there was some confusion around the terminology and definitions, the report on the survey states that “most scholars and survey respondents seem to agree that active learning and student-centered learning approaches are the foundational principles of the flipped philosophy, and the value of this approach is that it can lead to enhanced student engagement, motivation, and learning, if done well.” In terms of implementation, 67 percent of the respondents indicated that they were using or had begun to use the flipped classroom in their courses in the last two years. Regarding impact, 65 percent felt that the flipped classroom had increased student engagement, and 70 percent reported that it had increased student learning. Faculty also noted challenges in implementing the flipped classroom, including a lack of support from their department head, dean, or academic leader and not enough time to implement the approach. The survey reflects some of the discussions and findings that have come out of UBC’s Flipped Lab, a network of faculty, staff, and students engaged in or exploring this approach to teaching.