Blended Learning and the Flipped Classroom

Blended learning is a pedagogical approach in which a student learns at least in part through delivery of content and instruction via digital and online media with some element of student control over time, place, path, or pace. This allows a student to create a customized and integrated approach to their learning. Blended learning is often combined with a flipped classroom approach to teaching.

The flipped classroom is a pedagogical model in which the typical lecture and homework elements of a course are reversed. Students view short video lectures or other mulit-media content asynchronously before the class session. Then in-class time is devoted to active learning such as discussions, project-based or problem-based assignments, or laboratory exercises. This teaching model allows instructors to guide student learning by answering student questions and helping them apply course concepts during class time. Activities that have been traditionally assigned as homework are now done in class with the instructor’s support.

Recent advances in learning technologies have made it easier for instructors to implement a blended and flipped teaching approach. However, with any teaching format there are benefits and limitations to consider. The EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative group has summarized some of the recent research and understandings related to blended learning and the flipped classroom. To learn more about these concepts review the EDUCAUSE Blended Learning Report (PDF) and the EDUCAUSE Things you should know about… Flipped Classrooms report (PDF)

Getting Started with Blended Learning and the Flipped Classroom

Below are some basic considerations to help you implement this teaching approach:

  • Explain to students expectations of their role in this teaching format
  • Create a well-organized online course space (i.e. Blackboard course) to house course material
  • Employ universal design for learning concepts to ensure course content is accessible to a diverse group learners
  • Develop high quality online or multi-media resources
  • Create videos that are 5-10 minutes long (lengthy videos lose student attention)
  • Create online assignments and assessments to accompany videos
  • Create meaningful classroom activities to engage students in their learning and allow them to apply what they have accessed online