Last year, I worked with Magna Publications and Faculty Focus to conduct a survey on the benefits and challenges of the flipped classroom model in higher education. The findings give us a glimpse of where we are with this instructional model and what campus leaders need to consider as they develop programs and resources to support faculty and students.
It was not surprising to me to see the number one challenge for faculty who want to FLIP is time. It takes time to re-design a lesson plan (or a whole course) to fit within the framework of the flipped model, and it takes time during class to find a balance when it comes to integrating active learning strategies. However, it was exciting to see that almost 70% of the respondents tried flipping some part of their course and that they are encouraged to do it again since it was a positive experience for both the instructor and the students.
From my perspective, the most challenging part of developing the survey was how to define the term “flipped” classroom. During the past five years, as I’ve traveled around the country speaking and working with faculty, it is clear we still have not developed one specific definition for the flip. In developing the questions for the survey, I struggled to to find one specific definition that aligns with all of the models and discussions presented in the most popular educational journals, online magazines, and blogs. Some educators connect the flipped classroom to videos. Others see it as another name for ‘active learning’. Regardless of how it’s defined specifically right now at this stage of discussion, I’m glad to see there are more educators who are taking the risk and trying a new approach in their classrooms to create more engaging and effective learning experiences. That’s what matters to me, and that’s the part I hope isn’t a trend.
On to the report…
Results from the survey are based on the responses from the 1,089 Faculty Focus readers who completed the survey. Highlights include:
- More than two-thirds (69.5%) have tried flipping an activity, class, or course, and plan to do it again. Another 5.49% have tried flipping, but don’t plan to do it again.
- Roughly one-third (31.8%) of those who have flipped did so within the past year.
- The majority of faculty who have flipped rated the experience as positive for themselves (70.3%) and their students (64.8%).
- The top reasons for flipping include a desire to increase student engagement (79.3%) and improve student learning (75.8%).
- In terms of the actual benefits, nearly three-fourths of respondents saw greater student engagement (74.9%), while just over half noticed evidence of improved student learning (54.66%).
- More than 80% said students are more collaborative and 76.61% said they ask more questions, while almost half (48.75%) also noted some student resistance.
- The most frequently reported barrier to experimenting with flipped learning practices came down to one word: time—a combined 70% of faculty said it was a significant or very significant challenge.
- Of those respondents who are not interested in flipped learning, 38.9% said they don’t know enough about it and 27.4% felt it was a fad.