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Blended Learning 2.0: The Flipped Classroom Model

Posted by Silke Simons on Fri, Oct 7, 2016

Blended Learning – i.e. a training method that combines in-person classroom learning and the use of technology outside of the classroom – is popular and successful for a reason, because as much as digital training formats have been disrupting the traditional L&D world, few people would argue that some skills and competencies still require face-to-face training.

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Take soft skills such as ‘giving feedback’ or ‘negotiating’. These skills revolve around attitude, speaking styles and body language, all of which are practiced most effectively with someone who can observe the learner in real-time and give immediate feedback.

So the question is not “How can we replace trainer-led training?” but “How can we enhance it?”.

The Status Quo of Blended Learning

Blended Learning in its original form already achieves quite a bit in making classroom learning more efficient. It allows learners to study at their own pace through digital learning materials (often elearning modules) while providing real-time support from a trainer during presence training sessions.

The problem with ‘traditional’ blended learning programs, however, is that much of the in-class presence learning time is still dedicated to introducing and explaining new concepts and subject matter. Instead of focusing on discussions, role-playing and other hands-on activities, learners are essentially listening to a lecture – with the result that they skip the online pre-learning part. In the mind of the learner (and you can’t really blame them for it) it doesn’t make a difference if they come prepared or not, since they’ll go through plenty of theory in class anyway. 

The Benefits of the Flipped Classroom Model

The Flipped Classroom model tries to break this routine. While still a blended learning concept, presence training time is exclusively used as a workshop for asking questions, discussing concepts and practicing skills. Learners are required to study all theory and all new subject matter in advance using various digital resources – that way they are able to attend in-person sessions with specific, informed questions and practice the application of their knowledge. Trainers can take on the role of a coach, interacting with learners at both group and individual levels, and get a much better impression of what the learner’s strengths and weaknesses are. Based on this insight, trainers can recommend follow-up training resources and assign learner-specific tasks, giving learners guidance in retaining and reinforcing their knowledge.

The Role of Technology

The success of a Flipped Classroom training program depends a great deal on the quality of its online learning resources. The days where learners have to click through one long elearning module after another are hopefully over; instead, a variety of instructional methods and delivery options should be integrated into the program:

 

Expositive methods Application methods Collaborative methods

Instructional purpose:

  • used for acquiring information
  • require learners to listen and read or observe
  • trainer delivers knowledge on a given topic
  • include presentations, case studies and demonstrations

Instructional purpose:

  • apply and practice theoretical knowledge
  • involve learners in practical activities from simple exercises to more complex simulations or project activities
  • trainer provides guidance and facilitate reflection

Instructional purpose:

  • enable dialogue and discussion among learners and trainers
  • add a social dimension to the learning experience
  • include online guided discussions, collaborative work and peer tutoring

Delivery formats:

  • Simple content, e.g. pdfs, PPTs
  • Animated eLearning modules
  • Video- / Audio Broadcasts
  • Webinar / Virtual Classroom

Delivery formats:

  • Demonstration-practise
  • Interactive eLearning
  • Virtual classroom
  • Job Aids / Mobile reinforcement
  • Scenario-based eLearning / Simulations
  • Role play
  • Serious games
  • Project work
 Delivery formats:
  • Online guided discussion forums
  • Collaborative discussion forums, email,
    chats, audio / video conferences
  • Wikis, blogs, shared documents
  • Peer tutoring

Critical to the success of any training initiative is a regular analysis of the company's learning ecosystem (target audience, tools, technology, methodologies, training materials, timelines etc.) and the ability to select the right mix of learning approaches and platforms for that particular program. The more closely the mix aligns with the needs of the program, addresses pre-learning, presence training and post-learning requirements, the more the overall experience for both the trainers and the learners will be optimized.  In turn this can lead to a great reduction in training costs and presence training time, while maximizing  educational impact.

Learn more about our Flipped Classroom approach

Topics: blended learning

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