It was great to be back amongst a group of enthusiastic learners for this week all about educational alignment and the flipped classroom.
It was good to have the opportunity to sit and chat with a greater diversity of participants in the program. The first discussions I had were with a lecturer who has recently moved to UNSW from India and is working on materials engineering and a graphite like material which is sourced from waste products which can be used to create new computer components – fascinating stuff! My main experience with a similar type of material relates to orthoses! It is always so interesting to expand your horizons of worldly experience.
My other neighbour is from ADFA in Canberra, who lectures on Australian politics and who has it seems very successfully integrated a “Flipped learning” model into her lecturing program.
BLOOMS’ TAXONOMY IN ACTION
I enjoyed using Blooms’ Taxonomy of educational objectives, particularly via the Pyramid pictorial which give s fabulous model for understanding how true learning comes about, learning for life!
Going through the educational alignment activity using the taxonomy for my specific example (basic rehabilitation principles for second year medical students) was in fact a perfect example of how the process works from remembering through to understanding to applying it to my example, and eventually through to analysing how it went, evaluating the outcomes for the students and finally to creating real change in the curriculum and in the learning program as it pertains to rehabilitation medicine.
FLIPPED CLASSROOM PANEL DISCUSSION
What an excellent rigorous and lively discussion with three lecturers who currently use flipped teaching in practicality – in medicine, history and accounting. What wonderful diverity of experience! And indeed ranging from the theoretical to the analytical and the practical, together demonstrating what a versatile option it is.
Key points from the discussion for me:
FLIPPED TEACHING PREPARATION
- What to flip: Not all topic areas are amenable to a flipped learning approach.
- Time involved: One hour of flipped teaching = TWENTY hours of preparation – WOW, that’s just a little bit scary!!
- Length of video: 12 to 24 minutes. Sometimes it is better to do a whole bunch of shorter videos, eg four minutes. This also makes it easier to produce content, especially where the subject matter may be evolving – in which case, you can update just a small proportion of the videos rather the whole shebang.
- Practicalities of video preparation: powerpoint with voice over, other presentation options eg “Presso”
- There needs to be very simple and clear instructions. This is a new concept and some students struggle. Tell them more than you usually would. Communicate very clearly WHY you are doing. Be structural and procedural.Students need to understand WHY they are doing the pre-learning activities – this will increase compliance!
- Options for ensuring “compliance” with the pre-activity: incorporate clever things into the video eg answer questions as they go along, the lecturer can then have the functionality in the program to see what proportion of people have actually gone through, and which components they may have struggled with.
- Effectiveness of the pre-activity: If you know what aspects they struggled with in the “pre-activity”, it means that you can tailor a specific “mini-lecture” at the start of the class session for further clarify the areas with this the students struggled.
IN CLASS CONSIDERATIONS
- Physical layout in lecture room may make collaborative activities difficult
- Noise / crowd control for collaborative activities in the lecture room – a noisy environment makes it hard for those prone to sensory overload and for those with ESL background. Need to have enough facilitators
- Anxiety induced by forced participation in group activities and the requirement to present. This may adversely affect learning capacity for some students. Brings fear into the learning environment.
- If relying on wifi to access materials, need to have a back up plan B in case the wifi gets overloaded!!
THE CONCLUSION OF THE SCAFFOLD
It is important to bring it all together at the end, to have the finalisation of the learning “scaffolding” to conclude the process or otherwise, it can be rather dissatisfying and unfulfilling.
- Reflection / Journaling what they went through – learning outcomes / activities etc – this is the most important bit, and often is the after through especially if you focus on the video preparation!
- This could be done at the end of the session or in their own time. Important to structure it – give them the specific questions to answer, eg three specific questions. Interesting that journaling is now a compulsory component of the medical program.
- Important for the lecturer to model their behaviour and reflect too. Incorporate reflective comments from both students and the lecturer for the next block of teaching,
- Another interesting discussion was the option for GROUP journaling – this can help the dots to be connected! The option of the De Bono thinking hats can be used as a framework for reflection. My dear husband has spoken of these with me many many moons ago. The only one I could really remember though was the black and perhaps the yellow one! Typical!
- Management BLUE – what is the subject? What are we thinking about? What is the goal?
- Information WHITE – information / facts
- Emotions RED – intuitive instinctive responses
- Discernment BLACK – cautious / conservative
- Optimistic response YELLOW – benefits / harmony
- Creativity GREEN
- Does the flipped classroom potentially do away with “tutorials” – where does the dividing line between one and the other come. Perhaps the tutorial is the time where presentations are given?
- Flipped classroom pretty much brings the timetable of the learning process forward a notch by putting the onus on the student to do some pre-learning. I guess it brings the actual application and translation of knowledge to the real world a stage earlier.
- If the videos you have put your heart and soul into designing go into the public domain – is this a good or a bad thing? What of the copyright of the videos. As my neighbour noted “the best lectures go viral”. As my other neighbour said, “what the university sells is the accreditation nowadays, rather than the content”
- Some students feel less bonded with the lecturer who would otherwise have spent time an hour each week with them.
ADIOS – until next week!!!