Academic journal article Nursing Education Perspectives

Flipped versus Traditional Instruction and Achievement in a Baccalaureate Nursing Pharmacology Course

Academic journal article Nursing Education Perspectives

Flipped versus Traditional Instruction and Achievement in a Baccalaureate Nursing Pharmacology Course

Article excerpt


The researchers used a quantitative pretest-posttest nonequivalent control group quasi-experimental design to determine if there is a significant difference in content knowledge acquisition between traditional and flipped classroom methods. Analysis revealed that the flipped classroom approach was significantly different for three unit exams. The results did not show a significant difference in the means for the final exam. Knowledge gains on tests and students' positive responses support the use of the flipped classroom method.


Active Learning--Flipped Classroom--Quantitative Research Student-Centered --Nursing Education


Membership in the Flipped Learning Network[TM] social media site grew from 2,500 teachers in 2011 to 9,000 teachers in 2012 (Goodwin & Miller, 2013), an indication that the flipped classroom model is a growing practice. However, according to Goodwin and Miller, only "preliminary nonscientific data" exist regarding the purported benefits of the flipped classroom or the ways of implementing it. The purpose of this study, which reports how one nursing pharmacology instructor implemented the flipped classroom model, was to gather scientific data on the effects of the flipped classroom on knowledge acquisition.


The National Research Council publication How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience and School (Bransford, Brown, & Cocking, 2000) guided this initiative. How People Learn (HPL) is a comprehensive investigation into the best practices for supporting students as they develop flexible knowledge allowing the transfer of concepts across a variety of situations. HPL frames a method of teaching that is conceptual and challenge-based in approach compared to standard, content-delivery methods of teaching (Pandy, Petrosino, Austin, & Barr, 2004).

The flipped classroom model provides a learning experience that incorporates the four major tenets of HPL theory. Effective instructional environments are learner-centered, knowledge-centered, assessment-centered, and community-centered (Bransford et al., 2000). (See Table.) Students who experience the flipped classroom model learn course content independently by reading, listening to a lecture, or viewing a video outside the classroom (Herreid & Schiller, 2013). Teachers who implement the flipped classroom model depend heavily on student preparation outside class in order to use classroom time for student-centered learning activities requiring higher order thinking skills. The flipped classroom model is growing in popularity among educators because it utilizes technology in innovative ways and increases active learning experiences (Brunsell & Horejsi, 2013).


The researchers used a pretest-posttest nonequivalent control group quasi-experimental quantitative design to answer the question: Is there a significant difference in content knowledge gained when comparing methodology of traditional lecture to the flipped classroom? Two cohorts in a baccalaureate nursing program at a state university in Tennessee received instruction in a one-semester Pharmacology II course using two different pedagogical approaches. The researchers gained approval from the university institutional review board, and all participants signed consent forms.


Admission standards were equivalent for both groups. The control group, 40 students enrolled in a required Pharmacology II course in fall 2012, had an average upper division admitting grade point average (GPA) of 3.8, with a midcurricular Health Education Services, Inc. (HESI) exam score of 965. The treatment group, 46 students enrolled in the identical course in spring 2013, had an average upper division admitting GPA of 3.7, with a midcurricular HESI score of 911.

Data Collection

All students enrolled in both courses participated in the study. …

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