General framework, terminology and pedagogy

General framework, terminology and pedagogy

Introduction

At all levels of education, teachers are increasingly being challenged to form creative, critically thinking students who are able to absorb, integrate and apply knowledge at different levels, going from reproducing facts, understanding concepts and researching and using procedures for problem solving, to the metacognitive knowledge required to overview and respond to complex problems in life and society. There’s an ever-increasing demand for teachers to pair “content with engaging, experiential, and innovative learning experiences” (Darling-Hammond, 2019). Indeed, in the years before the corona pandemic swept the world, it was already clear that the future of learning would be a 'blended' form, with an alternation of classical learning moments with other learning moments. The corona crisis has only accelerated this fact. Suddenly, professors were forced to teach online, students to take classes from home. The reactions are divided but provide valuable information. We are in the middle of a real-time investigation into the possibilities, conditions and consequences. Without having thoroughly examined the reasons for this yet, we were able to notice a striking fact in some universities and university colleges: a higher percentage of students passed all exams of the first semester compared to the same period last year. For Ghent University, the effect was even stronger for the first-year students: they score better than last year (24.5% pass all courses of the first semester this year compared to 20.1% last year)
Source: https://www.ugent.be/nl/actueel/resultaten-examens-eerste-semester-ugent-beter-corona.htm.

An important question is how teachers can be equipped with the mindsets and the didactical, pedagogical and technological skills required for deeper student learning in order to reach the 21st century skills, abilities, and learning dispositions.

Theoretical framework

Flipping the classroom is a pedagogical method that shifts direct instruction from the group space (face-to-face lesson on campus) to the individual learning space (online individually learning at home). The student comes to the face-to-face lesson after having reached a certain level of knowledge. The lesson time on campus is thus transformed from a rather passive instruction in a classic setting, to a dynamic, interactive learning environment in which the teacher guides the students in applying concepts, practicing techniques and gaining deeper insight into the subject matter. The method popped up in diverse educational settings during the first decade of the 21st century, when educators experimented with shifting the lesson instruction from a teacher-centered to a learner-centered model using a range of technology and social and digital media. The lesson content to be studied first at home was offered in several forms (video, text, podcasts, links to websites…). Flipped learning allows teachers and students to explore the deeper knowledge dimensions inside the classroom, because the basic knowledge a student needs is already reached in anticipation of the in-class face-to-face session. The teaching and activities during the class time include a wide area of active learning types and the possibility of a more personalized interaction between teacher and students on one hand and between students mutually through peer-instruction on the other hand.

The Flipped Classroom

Figure 1: Flipped Classroom instructional model

 

The flipped classroom model is one of the teaching methods that combines the individual learning with the deepening of knowledge in class or in groups, using technology and media. Instead of traditional (passive) lectures to start with, where educators transfer their knowledge from scratch (tabula rasa) to the students and the students then study the subject content at home, the students first learn by doing individually and at their own pace online, supported by their educators as coaches and their peers as co-learners. Then they come well prepared and with sufficient basic theoretical knowledge to the face-to-face classes and lab practice sessions to learn in depth the lesson content, taught by their educators.

The ideal flipped classroom model

Figure 2: The ideal Flipped Classroom Model

Terminology

The difference between online teaching and the flipped classroom method, is that online teaching provides only one or more asynchronous (for example the Kahn Academy, a webinar on a certain lesson, a recorded lesson) or synchronous lesson (for example what many teachers did during the lockdown, teaching with a video conferencing system such as Teams or Zoom). The student follows the lesson online instead of face-to-face. The flipped classroom method combines online and face-to-face lessons, with focus on learning individually and at own pace first and deepening the knowledge during the face-to-face moments afterwards. Of course, there’s a lot of other possibilities to combine online and face-to-face teaching. To define the overall pedagogical approach where learning at distance and learning in a face-to-face setting are mixed in several ways, we use the term “Blended Learning”.

 

Want to know more:

Things you should know about Flipped Classrooms: https://library.educause.edu/-/media/files/library/2012/2/eli7081-pdf.pdf 
Myths and facts about Flipped Learning: https://er.educause.edu/articles/2017/9/myths-and-facts-about-flipped-learning 
Flipped Learning recent developments: https://onderwijstips.ugent.be/en/tips/flipped-classroom-een-traditionele-les-omgedraaid/ 
 

Comparing Blended to online and Face-to-Face teaching and learning

Figure 3: Comparing Blended to online and Face-to-Face teaching and learning

 

Want to know more? Watch these videos to know more on the flipped classroom and blended learning method:
https://youtu.be/BbGC6meyRa0 (What is Flipped Learning? A Model for Higher Ed. in 2021)
https://youtu.be/mjHeJ2d7ySU (What is Flipping the Classroom? Output FlippingFirst E+ project, 2016-2018)
 

Teaching principles of FTC

Keeping up with the rhythm of the rapidly evolving information and communication technology isn’t enough. Research shows the importance of integrating content knowledge, technological knowledge and pedagogical knowledge in teaching. “For this reason, teacher training in information and communication technology (ICT) needs to investigate the theoretical foundations guiding their application and use in the classroom, both at a disciplinary and at a pedagogical level, together with technological knowledge on how ICT work in its implementation.” (Rodriguez Moreno, 2019). The Technological, Pedagogical and Content Knowledge (TPACK) framework, designed by Mishra and Koehler (2006), has had a major impact on research and determination of the kinds of knowledge required by teachers in order to integrate ICT in their lessons. In 2019, the TPACK model has had an upgrade by adding “another knowledge domain that teacher must possess to integrate technology in teaching” (Mishra, 2019). Mishra realized that the success of the effort of teachers to integrate technological, pedagogical and content knowledge also depends on their Knowledge of the ConteXt (XK) and how the situational and organizational constrains can effect sustainable change. (Mishra, 2019)

Revised version of the TPACK-model
Figure 2: Revised version of the TPACK-model (Mishra, 2019)

 

The TPACK-model fits perfectly into the taxonomy of Bloom, used for many decades by teachers worldwide to design courses, determine and formulate the expected Student Learning Outcomes (SLO) and to create assessments. The taxonomy of Bloom is based on the classification of thinking skills into 6 hierarchically organized categories, ranged from lower level to higher order. The two-dimensional hierarchical table was first filled with nouns (Bloom, 1956) and after revision by Anderson and Krathwolh in 2001, the nouns were changed into verbs. (Anderson, Krathwolh, & al., 2014)

Want to know more? Watch this video: https://youtu.be/eXLdqO0fY3w 
 
 Revised version of Bloom’s taxonomy
Figure 3: Revised version of Bloom’s taxonomy ( (Bloom, 1956)

 

In 2006 Rex Heer from Iowa State University again redesigned the taxonomy, in this case into a 3-dimensional framework. The cognitive domain was defined as the intersection of the Cognitive Process and the Knowledge dimension going from concrete (factual, conceptual, procedural) to abstract (metacognitive). 

The 3-dimensional framework of Bloom’s taxonomy
Figure 4: The 3-dimensional framework of Bloom’s taxonomy (Teach Tought Staff, 2016)

 

Formulating the objectives as intersections between a cognitive process dimension and a knowledge dimension, taken into account the curriculum, the context, the learners and will be an important first step in how you will connect the content delivery (online or F2F) to the learning activities using the Flipped Classroom method.

Want to know more on e-learning with Blooms Taxonomy? Watch this video: https://youtu.be/XJWFQI4TV5E


Conclusion

Flipped learning as one of the many forms of blended learning allows teachers and students to explore the deeper knowledge dimensions inside the classroom, because the basic knowledge a student needs is already reached in anticipation of the in-class face-to-face session. The teaching and activities during the class time include a wide area of active learning types and the possibility of a more personalized interaction between teacher and students on one hand and between students mutually through peer-instruction on the other hand.

It is an instruction method that combines TPACK with the ability of describing and achieving lesson objectives spread over the 3-dimensional framework of Bloom’s taxonomy. 

Flipping the classroom includes a new way of thinking about both teaching and learning. From the students it requires a more active and deep learning at their own pace, from the educator it requires actively and collaboratively designing, facilitating and directing the learning taking into account the possibilities of the students as group and as individual learners. 
 

Flipped classroom and blended learning for engineering courses in Higher Education

The focus of the project is to apply the method to science and engineering courses in higher education programs, specifically in polymer technology programs.

The information on this website provides a theoretical basis knowledge about the flipped classroom method, together with a step-by-step plan, design models, tools and practical tools. The specific challenges of implementing the method in science and engineering courses at the HE level will be addressed and case studies presented and evaluated.

There hasn’t been much research on the use of the Flipped Classroom method in engineering faculties yet. After finishing the Polyflip project, we will share the research findings on this website. In the meanwhile, we can refer to an interesting case-study on “Modified Blended Learning in Engineering Higher Education during the COVID-19 Lockdown, from the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Automatics, Computer Science and Biomedical Engineering, AGH University of Science and Technology, al. Mickiewicza 30, 30-059 Kraków, Poland, published in Educ. Sci. 2020 (https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci10100292 and https://www.mdpi.com/2227-7102/10/10/292)

They used the scheme below to successfully redesign and teach their courses in a flipped classroom and blended way during the Covid-19 Lockdown.

A general framework of the modified blended learning approach for building automation courses with lectures, laboratory classes and other activities caried out in remote formula

Figure 5. A general framework of the modified blended learning approach for building automation courses with lectures, laboratory classes and other activities caried out in remote formula (https://www.mdpi.com/2227-7102/10/10/292)

Reflection Questions

  • Do I clearly know what Flipped Classroom and Blended Learning is?
  • What prior knowledge do I expect from my students before they start my course?
  • How do I expect my students to acquire and prove this prior knowledge?
  • What part of my course do I want to teach into the classroom?
  • Which objectives (Bloom 3D model) do I want my students to reach during the F2F sessions?
  • What part of my course could also be learned by my students in an individual and online way?
  • Which objectives (Bloom 3D model) do I want my students to reach during the F2F sessions?
  • How do I feel about the idea of turning a part of my course into a flipped classroom taught course?
  • What are my needs and concerns?