The Flipped Classroom



The University of Texas at Austin. (2016) What is different about the flipped classroom.  Image retrieved from


The flipped classroom is one where the traditional lectures and content-driven delivery are offered online and application exercises are completed during face-to-face sessions, essentially reversing the traditional order of lecturing during class and assigning application homework.  This approach fits adult education’s values of active learner engagement and self-direction. (Merriam, S., Bierema, L., 2014, p.207).

By using the flipped classroom approach students are being encouraged to use their self-direction outside of the class, come to class having already viewed or reviewed the course material being covered and be ready to participate in active learning exercises.  The flipped classroom approach allows students to investigate the information at their own pace, provides them the opportunity to review any areas they may not fully grasp and allows them the opportunity to reflect on the content.  Having the students review the content prior to class gives them the chance to prepare any questions they may have so the instructor can clarify any misunderstandings that exist.  The flipped classroom allows me to spend more one-on-one time assisting students during class and provide guidance as necessary.

“The value of a flipped class is in the repurposing of class time into a workshop where students can inquire about lecture content, test their skills in applying knowledge, and interact with one another in hands-on activities.” (EDUCAUSE, 2012).

EDUCAUSE (2012) outlines several advantages of the flipped classroom including that it promotes learner inquiry and collaborative learning, provides opportunities for learners to test their skills and interact in hands-on activities, helps instructors detect errors in learners’ understanding and application, and gives learners the opportunity to be more self-directed in their learning. (Merriam, S., Bierema, L., 2014, p.208).

Students are now better able to collaborate with their peers and instructors in class, helping one another as needed while participating in active learning. Active learning leads to an increase in student engagement, motivation and greater depth of learning, which should equate to higher student success rates.


Through reflection on the quote above, by Merriam and Bierema (2014), I have come to realize that both teaching strategies and education has come a long way in the last decade.  In the past it was very typical of instructors to stand at the front of room and use most, if not all, of the class time lecturing to the students.  This was a very teacher-centered approach to the delivery of course content.  Students were having to simultaneously listen to the instructor, try to take notes and understand what was being taught which could lead to students missing significant information as they were unable to solely focus on the content being taught. (EDUCAUSE, 2012).

As an instructor of the 21st century I am continually being encouraged to take a student-centered approach to teaching and the flipped classroom emulates that notion perfectly.  Students are no longer passively receiving information and instead being encouraged to take an active approach to learning.  “The flipped model puts more of the responsibility for learning on the shoulders of students while giving them greater impetus to experiment.” (EDUCAUSE, 2012).


My ‘Aha’ moment when reading the quote from Merriam and Bierema (2014) came while reading the last sentence of the quote which states, the flipped classroom “approach fits adult education’s values of active learner engagement and self-direction. (p.207).  After all, adult education today is based on taking a student-centered approach to teaching and learning.  It is the learners who sustain lasting effects from the teachings they receive.  This quote reaffirmed for me the need to ensure that the students are always at the center of my teachings.

I used to feel that the majority of the preparation work done for class was the responsibility of the instructor. This is not to say that there is not a lot, if not more, preparation work that needs to be done by the instructor prior to class when using the flipped classroom approach.  However, the students are now being challenged to come to class fully prepared to discuss the content and participate in active learning exercises.  Due to the fact that students are having to work collaboratively with their peers in class, as there is some peer pressure associated with that, it encourages students in being accountable to others.

One key insight that I gained from reflection on the quote is that “the flipped model puts more of the responsibility for learning on the shoulders of students while giving them greater impetus to experiment.” (EDUCAUSE, 2012).  I used to feel that, as the instructor, it was my sole responsibility to ensure that my students where effectively learning what I was teaching.  Although it is my responsibility to teach effectively, it is my students’ responsibility to learn effectively.


While I am a strong advocate for using the flipped classroom approach, I still feel that it is necessary to adopt a wide variety of teaching strategies in order to meet the needs of the wide variety of students I teach.  I do not feel that an instructor can effectively teach using only one strategy or approach since not all students effectively learn in the same way.  As an instructor in the 21st century it is necessary for me to be committed to being a lifelong learner and continually strive to improve my practice, this means incorporating instructional strategies of this century and being open to incorporating newly developed strategies in the future.  I will definitely continue my use of the flipped classroom approach in upcoming courses as I feel it is an invaluable tool for instructors.



EDUCAUSE (2012).  7 Things you should know about…flipped classrooms.  Retrieved   from

Merriam, S. B., & Bierema, L. L. (2014). Adult learning: Linking theory and practice. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.