Flipped instruction is essentially inside out teaching, reversed instruction. Homework takes place inside class time, and lectures go outside.

Guiding principals: cognitive learning science.

One of the advantages of this model is that problem-solving during class time provides instant feedback. Whether they are working on a team or not, allowing students to interact, to ask questions, as they problem solve provides multiple support systems. Instead of just the instructor, peers become valuable resources. In my flipped classrooms, even when students are working individually, they always have the option to ask questions with their peers. I am not the only valuable source of information in the class.

However, I do offer my guidance directly during this time by circling the room.

Listening or looking over students’ shoulders, and commenting directly on their work, provides individualized instruction during class time. This direction occurs during production and therefore asks students to apply targeted learning in context and thus may lead to a higher likelihood of success.

This connection—between students and teacher and student— in the act of solving a problem—is an irreplaceable and valuable resource, perhaps the greatest resource in face-to-face education. Master-apprentice models data back to the ancients, for good reason. They work. This model can also be enacted in fully online courses, but with much more effort and intention in the instructional design of the course. Making it quite likely that, in some disciplines, mastering the technical aspects of this modality may exceed justifiable limits in investments of money, time, and/or expertise.

I use Bloom’s Taxonomy as a Guide to decide what goes outside and inside the classroom,

images The top half of the pyramid goes inside and the bottom half goes outside.

Step One

Assign Homework

Watch Lecture; Take Notes. (Remember, Understand) or Watch Lecture and complete activity, such as a diagram, quiz or reflection assignment (Remember, Understand, Apply)

Read Textbook; Complete online “Adaptive” quiz series—Remember, Understand, Apply.

Step Two

Facilitate Problem-Solving Classroom

Design lessons wherein students Analyze, Evaluate and/or Create with the material covered in the homework.

Step Three


Step Four

Create Check Points  (Graded but Low Stakes)

Have students complete a Low-Stakes Assessment. This can be done either outside or inside of class, but must be a chance to practice and receive feedback prior to formal assessment. Homework assignments work great for this, but these formative assessments can also be part of the active learning taking place in the class.

Step Five

Administer Formal Assessment

This assessment should have a rubric that clearly aligns with learning outcomes associated with the assignment. Unlike the formative assessment, where feedback is crucial, the formal assessment should be light on manual instructor feedback because the rubric/score should send a clear message to students as to where they excelled and where they need to improve. Frequent communication with Instructors should be encouraged. If there are questions from students about these scores, instructors should look at student models either during class time and via one-on-one video conferences, or in-person office hour setting. This feedback loop is one of the most valuable aspects of instruction and cannot be duplicated by machines—so affording time for this discussion should be a top faculty priority and flipped environments afford faculty this time.