Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Interactivity and the Flipped Classroom

Flipped Classroom, as defined by Wikipedia, is an instructional strategy and a type of blended learning that reverses the traditional learning environment by delivering instructional content, often online, outside of the classroom. It moves activities, including those that may have traditionally been considered homework, into the classroom. In a flipped classroom, students watch online lectures, collaborate in online discussions, or carry out research at home and engage in concepts in the classroom with the guidance of a mentor. Lectures are created by the instructor(s) and posted online. The lectures typically contain course material in the form of text presentations, podcasts or videos. This model thrives on the concepts of active learning and high engagement.

The real value of this model comes from the fact that students can utilize the in-class time for participating in stimulating discussions and exercises, thus making it practically beneficial and more engaging. But this can only happen if students get their basic concepts in-place through the lecture that they have taken at home. So the key ingredient in making a flipped classroom work is to make the lectures more engaging and appealing and the in-class sessions more interactive and interesting. All of this is significant particularly because the students are required to view and understand the lecture material at home without any supervision and based on the level of interest and understanding acquired through the lecture, they participate in the in-classroom exercises. Thus, for the flipped model to work, adding interactivity to this both sides of this approach becomes a necessity.

While the learner is viewing a video, the lecturer could easily add a reinforcement exercise or a quick game to confirm whether the learner has understood the concept. This would make in-class sessions even more effective as the learner would have already understood the concept. Also, if these learning interactions are hosted on an LMS, the lecturer could track the scores of each of its student to assess the student’s knowledge, thus making in-class sessions more effective.

Considering that lecturers or professors are non-technical people, they need a tool which is rapid, Do-it-Yourself (DIY) and has variety of interactions to add newness to their courses every time they plan to do a flipped classroom. Raptivity fulfils all these requirements. The lecture material could have simple interactions like games, quizzes and learning aids as quick reinforcement exercises. At the same time, one can use interactions like explorative learning techniques to help students engage with the learning content and discover information at their own pace. Such interactions add an element of fun to the whole concept of flipped classrooms, thus making it easier for the instructors to engage students.

An effective flipped classroom requires careful preparation on part of the instructor. It’s important to use the right elements to make it work. Interactivity will surely get us one step closer towards the bigger goal.

Have you ever experienced Flipped Classrooms? Do you know of other effective ways that make them work. Share below!

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