Position:Home > Study in China > News

What is the 'Flipped Classroom'?


The flipped classroom describes a reversal of traditional teaching where students gain first exposure to new material outside of class, usually via reading or lecture videos, and then class time is used to do the harder work of assimilating that knowledge through strategies such as problem-solving, discussion or debates. 


The term flipped classroom was popularised by teachers Aaron Sams and Jon Bergman from Woodland Park High School, Colorado in 2007 in response to a realisation that class time would be best spent guiding knowledge and providing feedback rather than delivering direct instruction. Bergman and Sams (2012) reasoned that direct instruction could be delivered by recording video content for students to engage with before class (and any time) freeing up class time for activities that allow deeper exploration of content.


The key purpose of the flipped classroom is to engage students in active learning where there is a greater focus on students' application of conceptual knowledge rather than factual recall (See Diagram 1).

Diagram 1: Learning opportunities of the flipped classroom (adapted from Gerstein)


The flipped classroom has grown in popularity in higher education as a potential model to increase student engagement, leverage technology and provide greater opportunities for active learning in class.


The role of technology


The growing accessibility and sophistication of educational technologies opens up increasing possibilities for students to explore, share and create content. Technology can support flipped classrooms throught he following affordances: 

Capture content for students to access at their own convenience and to suit their pace of learning (e.g. lecture material, readings, interactive multimedia).


Curate content for students to gather their own resources.


Present learning maerials in a variety of formats to suit different learner styles and multimodal learning (e.g. text, videos, audio, multimedia),


Provide opportunities for discourse and interaction in and out of class (e.g. polling tools, discussion tools, content creation tools),


Convey timely information, updates and reminders for students (e.g micro-blogging, announcement tools),


Provide immediate and anonymous feedback for teachers and students (e.g. quizzes, polls) to signal revision points,


Capture data about students to analyse their progress and identify ‘at risk’ students (e.g. analytics).