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Oct-Dec-2018 Pedagogies

Flipped Classrooms: A Gateway to Personalised Learning Experience

Janardan P. Mahatre
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A teacher is expected to accomplish a lot in the few periods allotted to him/her in a term. They are required to introduce a concept, elucidate it, drive discussion around it, do a quick recap to gauge students’ understanding, then shift to hands-on activities and conduct assessments. In addition, they also try to innovate the teaching methodology and yet complete the syllabus in time.

Faced with this challenging task, teachers often have no choice but to let go of the personalisation of learning. But the traditional method of teaching-learning is fraught with problems. For example, in an average class, some students often end up interrupting lessons with questions. In such a case, a few students lose attention and fail to grasp the lesson. This clearly shows that at the same time in the class, while some students are so engrossed in the lesson that they try to clear their doubts, some get distracted and fail to keep pace. This proves that all students don’t learn at the same pace and the same way.

With the innovations in teaching-learning approaches and intervention of technology in education, a flipped learning approach has been adopted to address this problem. Let us understand the concept of flipped learning in detail.

Flipped Learning

A type of blended learning flipped learning is an instructional approach that flips traditional learning with a scenario where students are introduced to concepts before they attend the lecture in the classroom. The teacher shares the content with students in the form of videos, previously recorded lectures, articles, PPTs and more. The students go through the material in advance and attend the classroom with a basic knowledge of the topic, thereby turning the classroom into a place of discussion.

This process of initial learning helps students absorb the information at their own pace and in their own manner. The teachers, on the other hand, can use the classroom time to elaborate on the topic, and not just impart knowledge but facilitate deep learning.

Advantages of flipped learning

Personalised learning

As opposed to the one-size-fits-all approach, flipped learning is a learner-centric approach. Students learn at their own space and pace; they can review the material shared with them well in advance. This mode of self-learning helps students become independent learners and inculcates a love for lifelong learning.

Higher-level learning

According to Bloom’s Taxonomy, there are six stages of the cognitive process, ranging from simple to complex, including knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation. In a traditional classroom, however, a teacher is able to take the learning process only till the second stage because of constraints. In a flipped classroom, learners apply their knowledge to perform hands-on activities. The discussions and debates on a topic also enable them to develop their critical thinking skills. Therefore, learning is more advanced in a flipped classroom as the teacher is able to push learning till the fourth stage, i.e. analysis.

Effective teaching

The process of teaching does not only entail passing on information; however, traditional classrooms have often been dense on information. With the advent of technology-based education, things have started looking brighter. Flipped learning, which is also a technological approach, will enable teachers to pursue their profession in a creative manner, as in this approach, they have the opportunity to elucidate topics, organise debates and discussions.

Though there are numerous benefits of flipped learning, unless it is successfully implemented, there is no way to ensure that all students religiously go through the material shared with them before attending the lecture. In case the students do not co-operate, teachers will have to explain the concepts from scratch. Recording lessons and playing it as the first part of the lesson could help address this problem. Termed as in-class flipped class, this could be a recap of sorts. Besides helping the teacher introduce the concept quickly, it will also allow them to invest their energies in other tasks, instead of teaching the same thing over and over again.

Another challenge in adopting the flipped classroom approach is the lack of a robust learning management system (LMS) in the Indian K-12 market. Although there are many edtech players who are working on building an LMS well suited to the Indian K-12 sector, its success will depend on the implementation and adoption.

Critics have often expressed their concern over how online learning can become devoid of any social quotient if the curriculum is not designed well. However, such concerns don’t cloud blended learning, which is a blend of both online and teaching methods. Thus, flipped learning is a perfect solution to retaining human touch in teaching–learning and yet showering the benefits of technology on learning.

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Janardan P. Mahatre
Janardan P. Mahatre

Janardan Mhatre, currently Chairman of Girija Mhatre School, Vasai, is an expert in revolutionary pedagogic practices. He has several years of experience in the field of education and is the recipient of the prestigious Award for Education Service in the year 2009 in recognition of his dedicated social service in education.

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