Experiences from the flipped classroom – day 3 6

Today didn’t start off that well.  I started by asking how they were finding the methodology and the project they were working on (they are designing assessment tools, guides and activities a la the “Design and Develop OB assessment tools unit standard).  They reported being frustrated with their knowledge level in comparison to the tasks at hand.


We debated whether they would be in a better position if I had taught the theory (from experience of having done just that I know that many learners still only ‘get it’ once they start developing practically – so I felt that they were still at an advantage as they had time in class to practice and question).  One perception from the group was, however, that they didn’t have the conceptual picture (they had read the notes and understood them but had not engaged with the theory sufficiently to create their own picture). 


So I spent about half an hour sketching the conceptual map of the assessment process (from design, through development, review and then the actual assessment process).  This helped most of the more visual learners (I am assuming this was their dominant type – I did not assess learning styles formally).


One learner (highly analytical) had created his own conceptual map but in doing so had moved beyond the task at hand and had started designing the actual preparation checklists for the preparation of the assessment learners.  This was stressing him as he felt there was not enough time to complete the (what he perceived to be) task.  This was making him feel inadequately prepared, which he was attributing to the ‘flipped classroom’ methodology.  He was really relieved when he realised that he had gone ahead and was actually on track.


Good lessons for me though – I still like the flipped classroom methodology, but I realise I have to provide an overview of the concepts.  Not as theory, but as a map or logic model.  Just because they have read the theory and been assessed on it does not necessarily mean they are ready to apply it.  I will also tighten up on the formative assessments next time – so that they don’t only assess theory (they must also cover some application)


I’ll give you an update again tomorrow.




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6 thoughts on “Experiences from the flipped classroom – day 3

  • Charles Dey

    Thank you for this Karen, it is very motivational. 

    What I have found helps in training learners how to apply theory is to give them a case study (takes quite a long time to prepare but in the end its worth it) in which, depending on the application being taught, everything which could go wrong goes wrong. Then, as a group assignment, learners are asked a number of specific questions aimed at eliciting answers which demonstrate how correct application of the systems, processes and procedures being taught could have produced a much more desirable result than the disaster in the case study.

    Finally, something which may give you some inspiration:

    “According to research done by Stanford University, the amount of knowledge generated in the last 30 years is equivalent to the amount of knowledge generated in the rest of human history.

    “Textbooks are becoming out-dated by the time they are printed. Curricula are no longer reliable records of what we know. Predictable career paths and stable worldviews are things of the past.

    “In this constantly shifting knowledge landscape, learning how to think is becoming far more important than learning what  to think. This is a shift away from subject content towards a focus on thinking skills.”

    Source: André Croucamp- Totem Media.


  • Susan Williams

    Thank you, for sharing Karen. I was looking forward to your blog today! I think having a conceptual map is a good start to any workshop, especially for those who want to see the big picture before diving into the work (the visual learners, as you mentioned). I wonder if it would work to let them create the conceptual map in small groups as a start to the session. This could also serve as an assessment as well as an opportunity for discussion.

  • Zerelde Uys

    I think you are incredibly brave and commend you for the attempt (and volunteering for the ‘Reality TV’ thing at the same time). Bottom line is that we cannot keep on doing the same thing and expect different results….which is just happening too much all over our education and training landscape. And the results are devastating in many aspects. Thanks for sharing Karen. I wouldn’t worry too much about the challenges, your experience will help you to ‘correct’ and find new balance as you go. I guess that’s the actual ‘adrenalin rush’ that good facilitators thrive on.

  • Ian Webster

    Thanks, Karen, for launching out with this and trusting us with your journey.

    The concept has to be right, but it takes a willing pioneer to work out how to implement it. I can see that it is not straightforward. And a huge risk to do the experimentation in the public domain like this. Congrats and thank you.