Academic journal article Journal of Education for Library and Information Science

Flipping the Classroom to Meet the Diverse Learning Needs of Library and Information Studies (LIS) Students

Academic journal article Journal of Education for Library and Information Science

Flipping the Classroom to Meet the Diverse Learning Needs of Library and Information Studies (LIS) Students

Article excerpt

Introduction

The flipped classroom project emanated from a teaching and learning grant. The project aim was to explore the effectiveness of using video lectures and the flipped classroom when teaching diverse groups of students in an international LIS classroom at University College London Qatar.

The research question for this teaching and learning project was: Is the flipped classroom an effective teaching model for LIS students with diverse learning needs?

The project also aimed to evaluate which elements of the flipped classroom suited the learning preferences of the students. The project was trialed in the collection management class, which is a core course in the program and involved all thirteen of the Masters of Library and Information Studies (LIS) enrolled in the program. Students in the course came from a diverse range of social and cultural backgrounds, including nationality, gender, first language, education, age and current employment. A large number of the students (eleven of the thirteen) speak English as second language (ESL). This was the first time this teaching method had been employed in the collection management class and in the degree program, which was in its second year of enrolments. The aim of the project was to pilot this style of teach- ing in the collection management class, and if it proved successful, to utilize the method of teaching in other courses.

Previous research on flipped classrooms and their use in the field of LIS have explored the overall effectiveness of this model in teaching content and student's satisfaction with this model of teaching. There is, however, limited research investigating which specific elements of the flipped classroom meets the needs of students with diverse learning needs and styles. As well as investigating if the flipped classroom was an effective model for learning content in the LIS classroom, this study was also interested in whether the flipped classroom would suit diverse learning needs, including English as a Second Language (ESL) students and students who are dependent, collaborative or independent learners. According to the Grasha-Reichmann learning styles questionnaire (GRLSQ), dependent learners require a large amount of direction from the teacher, whereas collaborative learners work best when learning as part of a team. Independent learners learn best when left to his or her own devices (Grasha, 1996). Lage, Platt, & Treglia (2000) argue that the "inverted classroom explicitly allows for students of all learning styles to use a method or methods that are best for them". In order to test this, the lecturer developed and evaluated a number of different in and out of the classroom elements of the flipped classroom.

Flipping the classroom involves, "[i] nteractive group learning activities inside the classroom and direct computer-based individual instruction outside of the classroom" (Bishop & Verleger, 2013). Video lectures should ideally give hints on how ideas and examples will be explored further in the classroom (Tucker, 2012), while the pre-class study should be framed in class with the appropriate activities like hands-on and problem-solving exercises, open discussions, creative projects or guest speakers (Educause, 2012; Kim, Kim, Khera, & Getman, 2014; Lage, Platt, Treglia, 2000). A combination of video lectures, reading materials, PowerPoint with sound and PowerPoint handouts allow students to choose the best method for their learning process (Lage, Platt, Treglia, 2000). Teachers can also urge their students to come to class with questions on the material studied at home (Lage, Platt, Treglia, 2000; Tucker, 2012), or can start the in-class activities with short quizzes or polls to check the students recall. The flipped classroom meets a diverse range of students learning needs by allowing students to engage with lecture material in innovative and interactive ways, both in and out of the classroom, as well as exposing them to a range of teaching methods and digital tools. …

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