Academic journal article Issues in Informing Science & Information Technology

The Flipped Classroom: Two Learning Modes That Foster Two Learning Outcomes

Academic journal article Issues in Informing Science & Information Technology

The Flipped Classroom: Two Learning Modes That Foster Two Learning Outcomes

Article excerpt

Introduction

The traditional teacher-centered education system stems from the Industrial Age which emphasizes content instruction and regurgitation. This type of learning approach is inappropriate for today's learners: "digital natives" who have grown up with information technology (IT) (Prensky, 2005). It is also inadequate in preparing them for solving complex and ill-structured problems in a knowledge-based society (Macdonald & Hursh, 2006). Indeed, the Curriculum Development Council in Hong Kong Special Administrative Region has proposed to reform the school curriculum so that school children do not just learn the subject contents, which are categorized into eight key learning areas, but they also develop nine generic skills such as collaboration, critical thinking, IT, numeracy, problem solving, self-management and self-study so that they can tackle the challenges of the 21st century (Curriculum Development Institute, 2001). Similarly, all students are expected to be competent with seven generic intended learning outcomes when they graduate from the Hong Kong Institute of Education (HKIEd) where the author worked (Hong Kong Institute of Education, 2014). It has been found that students were able to develop some of their generic skills by engaging in online discussion (Ng, 2009).

The flipped classroom is a new pedagogical method consisting of online video lectures that learners watch in their own time and space so that they are responsible for their own learning prior to attending classes (O'Flaherty & Phillips, 2015). In the classroom they participate in group activities, while the teacher provides support--particularly to those students with additional educational needs (Baepler, Wlaker, & Driesson, 2014). This learning strategy is completely opposite to the traditional teaching approach, in which learners are expected to listen to teachers during class hours and complete activities outside of class. There are different names for the flipped classroom including "reverse instruction," "inverted classroom," and "24/7 classroom" (Bergmann & Sams, 2012) but it is a subset of "blended learning" (Staker & Horn, 2012). The flipped classroom employs a student-centered learning approach based on constructivism and zone of proximal development (ZPD) advocated by Vygotsky (1978). Constructivism emphasizes the need to understand learners' prior knowledge when educators are delivering new knowledge. However, the development of learners' full potential within the ZPD relies on social interaction such as peer interaction, scaffolding, and modelling (Vygotsky, 1978). The flipped classroom provides multiple avenues for fostering interactions between learners and digital materials and among learners in classes so that each learner's potential can be developed in full.

Baepler, Wlaker, and Driesson (2014) found that one class of university students participating in the flipped classroom approach performed better when compared with another class using the traditional learning approach, while another class performed similarly to the results of the traditional learning approach. On the other hand, Kong (2015) found that junior secondary school children developed greater critical thinking skills when using the flipped classroom strategy. Surveys of 17 studies related to flipped classroom practices found that there were mixed feelings about watching online videos instead of attending lectures and yet the participants were very positive about their in-class group activities (Bishop & Verleger, 2013). Moreover, learners were much better prepared in class when they were given optional video lectures than when they were given a textbook to read). Given the inconsistent findings regarding the advantages of flipped classroom pedagogy and the importance of developing generic skills for students, this study aims to investigate whether the flipped classroom can foster students' generic skills, relating in particular to information technology, self-management, and self-study, in addition to acquiring the content knowledge. …

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