Flipped classrooms again

My previous post about flipping the classroom created some interest, so I thought I’d check out the current literature and see what is new. Overall, the picture looks rosy. No matter what subject you are teaching, authors are finding that the flipped classroom yields better results and improved student attitudes to their studies.

McBride (2015) describes his motivations for experimenting with flipping:

My reasoning behind trying the experiment of “flipping” my classes was to achieve four things. First, I wanted to cover more material. Second, I wanted to engage the students more in class by “lecturing” less. Third, I wanted the students to have an enjoyable experience with mathematics since most students were non-math/science majors with preconceived prejudices against math. Fourth, I was hoping their grades and pass rates would increase.”

Who can argue against them?

Three other papers sprung out at me for various reasons: O’Flaherty and Phillips (2015) offer a very useful review for those of you who need a quick overview of the literature. Moffett (2015) offers a series of eminently sensible practical tips on the classroom implementation of flipping. Gilboy et al. (2015) address one of the most important issues around teaching innovation: what is the effect on student engagement? The outcome was that the majority of the students preferred flipped over traditional.

As with many educational innovations, the literature on flipping is overwhelmingly positive. So two caveats:

1) perhaps those experiments that ‘fail’ are simply not reported : no-one wants a bad news story.

2) is it really the ‘flipping’ that is having the effect, or is it the way it re-energises the teachers and this is why the students do better and are more engaged?

No doubt this literature will move forward quickly over the next couple of years with various questions being asked of the theory and practice of flipped pedagogy. It is also important to look beyond the boundaries of a single programme or module. What are the effects of flipped pedagogy in module A on students’ learning (and or teachers’ classroom practices) within related non-flipped classrooms? Surely, if the theory is sound (in terms of gains in learning), the effects will extend beyond the immediate context?  Plenty to look out for in the literature.


Gilboy, M. B., Heinerichs, S. and Pazzaglia, G. (2015) Enhancing student engagement using the flipped classroom. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 47(1): 109 – 114.

McBride, C. (2015) Students’ attitudes and success during my first attempts at flipping. International Journal for Cross-Disciplinary Subjects in Education, 6(2): 2174 – 2183.

Moffett. J. (2015) Twelve tips for ‘flipping’ the classroom. Medical Teacher, 37(4): 331 – 336.

O’Flaherty, J. and Phillips, C. (2015) The use of flipped classrooms in higher education: A scoping review. Internet and Higher Education, 25: 85 – 95.


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