Flipping learning by design: How to use cognitive science research to design flipped classrooms that help people learn best


The Fall 2016 edition of Leadership: Journal of Post-secondary Leaders just published a new article called Flipping by Design.  This article, written by me,  lays out some tips for integrating cutting-edge cognitive science into the design of a flipped classroom. In the piece, I call for a reframing of flipped classrooms based on a pervasive (and destructive) widespread lack of definitional clarity of what a flipped classroom is and how to most effectively execute one for your students.  In addition, I argue that we need to adjust our understandings of flipped classrooms to allow for more empathic, user-centered designs that align with how students learn best. Here’s an excerpt –

“For the sake of precision, a flipped classroom should be considered a framework for learning rather than a specific instructional design. Just as a home has a basic frame–windows, a front door, a back door, a roof–so too does a flipped classroom. One way to conceptualize the basic frame for a flipped class is to imagine three windows to learning that open before, during, and after class (Schell, 2013; Walker, 2013). Just as unique designs constitute the inside frame of a home, the same holds true for a flipped classroom. It is not the flipped classroom that should be at issue when we either support them or critique them. The unit of analysis should be the design, or what will happen once students step through the before, during, and after windows and into the learning spaces faculty build for them.” (p. 13).

The article goes on to lay out how to most effectively design classrooms for learning using the game-changing learning strategy, retrieval practice. I address —

  • What is retrieval practice and why use it
  • Best practices for flipping your classroom with retrieval practice
  • How to use feedback effectively
  • How much retrieval to incorporate in your flipped class
  • How to organize retrieval events
  • A word of caution

Download the full issue, Teaching on the Edge, or just the article, here.

1 Comment

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  1. Robin Musselman (@psychprof)

    Great article – thanks for this information. I am most interested in certain aspects that I haven’t tried before. Thanks again.

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