The Research Digest, May 2015, Issue Number 47

The Research Digest highlights new research in learning and teaching. This month, we are highlighting recent work on the benefits of the flipped classroom. This issue was developed in conjunction with May’s issue of Best Practices on The Flipped Classroom. If you’re interested in learning more about this topic, or have any suggestions for us, please send an email to lto@ryerson.ca. To access past issues of the Research Digest, visit the LTO website.

New research on the flipped classroom:

Microlectures in a Flipped Classroom: Application, Creation and Resources
Mid-Western Educational Researcher, 2014

Using microlectures in a flipped classroom is a growing trend. In this media review, the benefits of microlectures for such classrooms are discussed, including how they can be used to help students become more responsible for their learning, as well as how they can be used by teachers to provide differentiated instruction. A list of resources for creating microlectures is included.

How Learning in an Inverted Classroom Influences Cooperation, Innovation and Task Orientation
Learning Environments Research, 2012

Recent technological developments have given rise to blended learning classrooms. An inverted (or flipped) classroom is a specific type of blended learning design that uses technology to move lectures outside the classroom and uses learning activities to move practice with concepts inside the classroom. This article compares the learning environments of an inverted introductory statistics class with a traditional introductory statistics class at the same university. This mixed-methods research study used the College and University Classroom Environment Inventory (CUCEI), field notes, interviews and focus groups to investigate the learning environments of these two classrooms. Students in the inverted classroom were less satisfied with how the classroom structure oriented them to the learning tasks in the course, but they became more open to cooperative learning and innovative teaching methods. These findings are discussed in terms of how they contribute to the stability and connectedness of classroom learning communities.

Online Prelectures: An Alternative to Textbook Reading Assignments
Physics Teacher, 2012

To engage students in a more meaningful discussion of course material and prompt their higher thinking skills, most instructors expect students to read the course textbook for initial exposure to the course content before class. However, as many instructors are aware, most students do not read their textbook throughout the quarter. At California State Polytechnic University, Pomona (Cal Poly Pomona) we have adopted web-based multimedia learning modules (MLMs) as prelecture assignments to help students to prepare for the class activities. The MLMs place lecture contents into the hands and control of the learners; similar to “flipped” or “inverted” classroom approaches, this method allows students to receive key course content outside of class and apply and analyze the content actively during class. In addition to initial exposure to basic principle, the MLMs provide additional worked examples that cannot be thoroughly covered in class.

Case Study: Case Studies and the Flipped Classroom
Journal of College Science Teaching, 2013

This column provides original articles on innovations in case study teaching, assessment of the method, as well as case studies with teaching notes. This month’s issue discusses the positive and negative aspects of the “flipped classroom.” In the flipped classroom model, what is normally done in class and what is normally done as homework is switched or flipped. Instead of students listening to a lecture in class and then going home to work on a set of assigned problems, they read material and view videos on genetics before coming to class and then engage in class in active learning using case studies, labs, games, simulations, or experiments. A guiding principle of the flipped classroom is that work typically done as homework (e.g., problem solving, essay writing) is better undertaken in class with the guidance of the instructor. Listening to lectures or watching videos is better accomplished at home. Hence the term “flipped” or “inverted classroom.”

Inverting the Classroom: A Gateway to Creating an Inclusive Learning Environment
The Journal of Economic Education, 2000

The ability of instructors to vary teaching styles in introductory economics courses is seemingly limited by time constraints. If an instructor wanted to lecture for those students who learn best via lecturing, conduct experiments for the experiential learners, and oversee self-directed study for the independent learners, then he would need to increase student contact time fourfold. However, both the proliferation of students’ access to multimedia and the advances in ease of multimedia development for faculty have created an environment where these layers of learning can be integrated without inordinately increasing contact time or sacrificing course coverage. We outline a strategy for teaching that appeals to a broad range of learning styles without violating the constraints typically faced by instructors at most institutions. In addition, we present student and faculty perceptions of such a course.

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