Flipping the Learning?


While it really isn't anything I can explain, every once in a while I stumble across a transformative concept that simply feels right.

Sometimes I try to push the concept to the back of my mind because I know implementing that change is going to result in disruption, not to mention a significant amount of work. Ultimately though the concept keeps surfacing and draws me in like a moth to a flame.

One such moment got me thinking about teaching in a very different way. That's not to say I don't already think about teaching a great deal. After all, I have always been drawn to anything that provided an opportunity to teach, curate, train, or transfer knowledge in some way.

Although I taught previously at a community college today I'm focused on delivering conference sessions, workshops, and keynotes. Additionally, much of my training has moved online in the form of interactive webinars via our Campus for Communities.

Webinars are also how I’ve managed to further my own online learning and growth in an efficient and effective manner.

It was during one of those webinars that I learned about the transformative concept of ‘flipped instruction’.

In essence flipped instruction refers to reversing what we have typically thought of as ‘class time teaching’ with that of ‘homework’. That means participants will watch videos, complete an activity, read an article or listen to podcast and listen (or read) prior to the live meeting. In other words, the homework is done before the class begins. The result is that class time can then be spent working collaboratively to share reflections and resources, tackle challenges, and solve problems. Content is still being delivered but the ‘classroom’ becomes more like a laboratory or studio while nurturing the development of a CoP (Community of Practice).

The results of flipped instruction include more exchange of dialogue and ideas, collaboration, and learning at one's own self-controlled paced. Perhaps most importantly, it allows more time to be focused on deeper and richer learning.


While some may argue that this concept isn’t really new and is simply a process that any good teacher will add to their toolbox, for me it's something more. The concept validates and provide a process for teachers like me who are truly committed to shifting from being the ‘sage on the stage’ to instead becoming the ‘guide on the side’ that is essential for today's learning.

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