As instructional designers we are constantly being bombarded with new technologies and new trends. It’s difficult to distinguish which are fads, and which are worthy of our investments of time and resources. The safest, and often most expedient course of action is to continue to focus on the delivery technology we know is NOT a fad, the traditional classroom. I was fortunate to help work with an RTO back last year that tried the “flipped classroom” model for one of their courses they were planning on delivering.
The flipped classroom concept originated where traditionally students would go to a class, learn from the teacher, and then go home to complete homework. Perhaps they build a model of a cell, or write a report about the Vietnam War. Because they are at home, they naturally turn to their parents and siblings for help. But the parents are not necessarily experts at biology or American history. Traditional homework doesn’t set the student up for success. The flipped classroom model attempts to solve this problem. It takes the lecture aspect of the classroom and turns knowledge-oriented content into self-directed work. The content could be delivered via an online video or via a textbook/ebook etc. Students then learn on their own, and then only come to class to ask the expert/teacher questions about the content, complete project work, and apply knowledge. And since all the project work isn’t completed in a vacuum, you can kick it up a level and make it more engaging and fun. Students can then collaborate in groups, with an expert to moderate, to create projects and interactions that reach a higher level of learning than they may have on their own.