In a traditional classroom, the teacher explains concepts via lecture or activity and then the application of the same is given as homework. The result of which is that many learners struggle and there is a burgeoning market for tutoring. The “Flipped Classroom” has turned this on its head. In this instructional strategy the concepts are shared prior to the class mostly via video and the instruction time in the classroom is utilized for developing higher order thinking skills using laboratory experiments, analysis, debate, presentation, group discussions, peer reviewing, project-based learning, skill development or practice of concept. Simply, it means math’s concepts via video to be learnt at home and actual practice of sums in classroom with the teacher. This concept is being applied across schools and colleges in U.S.A with varying levels of success.
Since I am a behavioral #trainerand psychometric assessor, I will focus on that. However, this strategy is sound for all kinds of training. When we look at the Bloom’s Taxonomy, we see that via this strategy we free up instructional time to actually get learners to application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation i.e. higher order thinking skills. Also with the investment of time on application we increase transferability to the workplace. Theoretically, this strategy is a clear winner as it:
- Focuses on higher order thinking skills
- Engages the learner in discussions and practice.
- Increases transferability
- Utilizes instructor time to help learner grapple with complex issues in the training room
However, in practice I have found many issues:
- In corporate training, many times we have reluctant participants. They have been pushed in kicking and screaming by their managers. They as a form of silent sabotage do not do the pre-work i.e. what they have to review before the classroom. Therefore you end up covering the concepts in the training room anyway. The participants may be senior professionals and unlike a school or college setting many times L&D or HR teams cannot impose any consequence. I once had the CEO turn up at a session without undertaking the psychometric assessment he was supposed to. The psychometric assessment was only a 10 min one but he claimed he did not have time.
- Participants are actually very busy and the very act of training messes up their schedule even more. The physical act of being in a workshop is required for them to switch off mentally and learn something new. I have observed that if the session is at the workplace, they keep getting called out for urgent work. The mobile phone is another distraction.
- Participants are used to the facilitator/ instructor/trainer taking the lead in the learning experience. This stems from the fact that it is how we have experienced learning till date at least in India. When I was part of a pilot program (which by the way was my first experience with online learning) with Parijaath and studying for the Masters in Learning Facilitation & Management from Concordia University, Chicago… all participants would dutifully turn up for the online class with Dr Melissa Shams but without discussing on the discussion boards or reading all the journals in recommended reading or viewing recommended videos. After observing this for 4-5 sessions our faculty from India, Prof. M.M. Pant held a class and explained the rubrics and how to learn in this new format. He told us that since the professor was not going to cover the concepts except in a skeletal manner turning up for the class was not what contributed to success. The focus of the session with the professor was discussion, application etc. Voila, all of us started writing on the discussion boards.
What has been your experience? Have you encountered any issues? And what have you done to overcome them?
Lovely Kumar is a facilitator, trainer, psychometric assessor and is co-founder at Larks Learning Pvt. Ltd. She has a unique background which combines economics, management, advertising, sales, teaching and training. She has worked with a range of corporates and academic institutions. Additionally she has obtained international certifications in training and psychometric assessments.
Learn more and reach Lovely Kumar for training workshops or DISC assessments at www.larkslearning.com, firstname.lastname@example.org or 91-9899108659.