Flipped Learning and Flipped Classrooms and their Application and efficacy in Adult Learning. By Taymour Miri – Leadership Coach (Certified ICF Master and Gallup Strengths Coach)

Education as a whole is transitioning into the age of technology and personal learning. New instructional styles like the flipped classroom and flipped approach model have become increasingly popular recently in hopes of increasing adult learners’ engagement and effective learning. Programs designed for adult learning need to utilise this approach to align expectations and needs of the learners and to provide the environment that would enhance the learning for the individuals and groups based on their learning style, context and personal goals. The two styles are similar but not the same.

Flipped Classroom Learning
The flipped classroom learning is exactly what it sounds like; learning flipped upside down. Instead of using a traditional learning from a textbook and lecture, a flipped classroom learning from an application perspective. A flipped classroom personalizes learning for students. Students are able to make their own decisions on how to learn class material while personalising the lesson purpose and understanding its importance in their own context.

Essentially, at the beginning of the program, students are provided with topics and objectives and then given their own time to learn about the material through instructional videos provided by the trainer. Students take class time to improve their critical thinking and problem-solving skills by having the freedom to learn on their own.

So what role does the trainer play in a flipped classroom?
Don’t forget that trainers are the most important tool in the classroom. In a flipped classroom the most effective role to play is to provide support to students wherever needed. In real-time, trainers are able to provide direct support to students while they work on material traditionally done at home. Trainers can spend more time focusing on expanding the understanding of students and spend more one-on-one time with students during class time.

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Of teachers noticed a positive change in student engagement since flipping their classroom

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Of teachers who have flipped a lesson, would recommend that method to others

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Of teachers indicated that grades of their students have improved since implementing a flipped classroom strategy

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Of teachers researched, that have been teaching for mare than 16 years, are moving towards flipped classrooms

The flipped approach, is commonly used in conjunction with a flipped classroom, as the transition from the “instructor in the front of class” style to the “a guide along-side the learner” style.

Flipped Approach
Similar to the flipped classroom, the flipped approach takes a traditional approach and flips it upside down. The flipped approach transitions trainers from a provider of information to more of a coach alongside students.

Trainers provide their students with the various types of content to utilize in their own time so when they come to class, they can spend time working out problems together with other students and the trainer. The students either work individually or in groups or with their trainer to participate in application learning through problems, games, and discussions.

So what’s the difference?

The difference is that flipped approach may not change the entire structure of the physical classroom meaning that content may still be given and taught inside the classroom.

The flipped approach, is commonly used in conjunction with a flipped classroom, as the transition from the “instructor in the front of class” style to the “a guide along-side the learner” style.
Adult learners want the programs to be personalized to their needs, flexible and to reach their outcome in the time period suitable for them. There are millions of dollars spent in organisations around the world with little return on investment because the learner is not engaged during the program and the style of learning does not match their strengths and the structure of the program is not designed in a way to ensure the learning is internalised.

the classes are used for the trainer to share additional learning points or experiences over and above the content available and for the individual or groups to interact and practice or ask questions

Adult Learning Application
The programs at Farsi Coaching Academy, FCA are designed with the needs of the learner in mind and a number of key factors are included in the learning model. This model embodies the flipped classroom learning and the flipped learning approach outlined above:
The first is multiple ways of delivering content geared to ensure that different learning styles can benefit from aligning their style to the content available. This includes written, voice and video.
The second is a flexible structure in that the student can listen and read material before the class and listen to the class discussion afterwards as many times as they want. Also if they miss the class, they can jump into the class the next time it is provided and still continue with the group as before bringing continuity and possibility to adjust the learning pace to their personal situation.
The third is the trainer as coach in that the classes are used for the trainer to share additional learning points or experiences over and above the content available and for the individual or groups to interact and practice or ask questions. 

In this approach the trainer is using the coaching mindset and skills both with an individual and a group to facilitate learning. With this approach the trainer is sensitive and curious to ensure the learning is matched with the style of learning of the individuals by bringing a variety of ways to deliver the learning outcome in the class.
Lastly, over the last decade at FCA we have been pioneers in bringing e-learning to the market using a variety of technology and adjusting the program as the technology advances. We delivered the very first on-line coach training program through a telephone bridge line whereby the students from all over the world connected to the call – at that time that was the best platform available! Now, we are connecting via video and voice through smart phones via the net and the technology has advanced to an extent that content can be shared and groups can split and re-group with the trainer facilitating the best environment for their learning. At the same time we facilitate student learning environments face to face to ensure that those who can and need to connect personally can do so and still be able to connect with their peers virtually at the same time.
There are numerous potential advantages to this style of learning.

Flipped classrooms allows class time be used to master skills through collaborative projects and discussions.

1. Students have more control
In a flipped classroom, it is possible for students to have increased input and control over their own learning. By providing short content on demand, students are given the freedom to learn at their own pace. Students may pause or rewind the lectures, write down questions they may have, and discuss them with their trainers and peers in class.
This also allows students who need more time to understand certain concepts to take their time reviewing the material without getting left behind, and receive immediate assistance from trainers and classmates. As a result, this can not only improve student achievement, but improves student behaviour in class as well.

2. It promotes student-centred learning and collaboration
Flipped classrooms allows class time be used to master skills through collaborative projects and discussions. This encourages students to teach and learn concepts from each other with the guidance of their trainers. By allowing students to partake in their own learning, they are able to own the knowledge they achieve, which in turn builds confidence. Furthermore, trainers are given the ability to identify errors in thinking or concept application, and are more available for one-on-one interaction.

3. Lessons and content are more accessible (provided there is technology access)
By making written, voice and video content available at all times online, students who are forced to miss class due to illness, vacations or emergencies, can catch up quickly even if they have to take additional classes for the practical learning. This approach does however need the student taking time to prepare and plan.

Based on the adult learning theory the learner is driven, committed and accountable for their outcomes therefore at FCA we trust that they will seek support when needed and we have provided the right systems and structures in the program to ensure the student reach their outcomes.

4. It’s more efficient as long as the student manages themselves!
Done properly, in a flipped classroom, learners can have more time to spend on their already busy list of personal and work priorities, whether that means more free time on hobbies, or more projects at work or further learning.
The efficiency comes from learning in alignment with their learning style which in itself is faster due to quicker understanding and staying engaged while learning. Also it is efficient because the learning can occur when it is convenient for them (for example listening to audios while driving from one place to another). Finally the efficiency is higher because of the pace of learning during the classroom that is interactive as the trainer is coaching the individual or group. This does however rely on the adult learner managing themselves to the extent that they put the time and energy required – for that we have designed an effective support system and peer coaching throughout the program to support the students when faced with these internal challenges.

Taymour Miri

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