Flipped Learning
ATD Blog

Jumpstart Your Flipped Learning

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

L&D professionals are all familiar with the common refrain: Achieve higher levels of learning and performance with fewer resources—and with employees spending less time away from their jobs. Flipped learning is one model organizations are embracing to meet bottom-line demands, maximize value, and increase quality productivity. 

Already popular in K-12 and higher education, the flipped learning model is gaining momentum in professional training. Although there seems to be no single model for the flipped classroom, the term is widely used to describe almost any class structure that provides prerecorded lectures, reading materials, and self-directed exercises followed by a classroom, workshop-based learning experience. In this way, class becomes the place to work through problems, advance concepts, and engage in collaborative learning.  

The good news is that the flipped model can provide learners and their organizations with a new way to integrate the best of classroom learning with self-directed, learner-generated activities. Here’s the downside: flipped learning is easy to get wrong. Sure, the concept seems straightforward, but an effective flip requires careful preparation—the same as every other learning solution. Recording lectures and preparing pre-course materials still requires significant effort and time, and out-of-class and in-class elements must be carefully integrated for learners to understand the model and be motivated to prepare for class. 

In particular, designers need to keep in mind four key aspects of the flipped classroom model:   

  1. Demonstration and application: How can we develop materials that support learner-generated personalized projects and presentations?

  2. Meaning making: What sort of pre-class activities help learning stick? Should we use blogs, podcasts and videos, and social networking and discussion boards?

  3. Experiential engagement: What sort of hands-on activities maximize in-class time? How can we leverage games, simulations, labs, and other experiments?

  4. Concept exploration: What other media-rich tools, such as video and audio lectures, will reinforce learning, and when should we use them? 

Clearly, introducing a flip can mean additional work and may require new skills for the instructor. If you need a roadmap for how to move forward with implementing flipped classroom environments, join Gale Mote and Nanci Appleman-Vassil for ATD’s LearnNow: Flipped Classroom

This day-and-a-half event that mixes traditional conference sessions with facilitated time for group work and discussion. The session itself will use a combination of experiential activities with a high level of interaction among participants, as well as information about the flipped classroom model and examples of how to use the model in a variety of organizations.


LearnNow: Flipped Classroom is being held March 21-22 in Atlanta. Learn more on the event website.

About the Author

Ryann K. Ellis is an editor for the Association of Talent Development (ATD). She has been covering workplace learning and performance for ATD (formerly the American Society for Training & Development) since 1995. She currently sources and authors content for TD Magazine and CTDO, as well as manages ATD's Community of Practice blogs. Contact her at [email protected] 

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