Have you heard about the flipped classroom model? The opportunity to create a class that is highly interactive and engaged while in a physical setting is one of my “ah-ha” moments, why would we not change our design? This would also change the role of the learning leader “from presenter of content to learning coach” with a greater emphasis on working with the learners. I see where we, as designers of the learning experience, need to create support mechanisms to focus the leaders to concentrate on asking questions (to lead to answers), working with small groups as collaborator, and guiding the learning of each student individually. One area we can influence is in small group interactions; here we can coach conversations, critical thinking processes, and foster teamwork. “We know that collaboration is a critical skill set which can’t be developed easily either on-line or at home alone– let’s have students learn it with us in our classrooms. Let every classroom be a collaborative problem solving laboratory or studio.” Collaboration leads to success in the workplace and here is a chance to create a microcosm to practice and build small success that will lead to larger ones later.
I am in favor of practices we can use to increase the interactivity and engagement of our learners and I must admit how excited I am that this technique applies the use of technology effectively. Rather than the tool creating separation between learners, this use focuses on maximizing the time together. This model brings the chances to ask questions early allowing time together to focus on solving questions and then following up with posts that summarize key points creating the time to reflect and synthesize the learning event completely. Using the tools of today means the learner can watch the video, the PowerPoint with audio, the macro-enabled spreadsheet on their smart phone, tablet, or laptop no matter where they are in this learning model. Equally important is the chance to create and foster communities of learning by encouraging the connection with colleagues to discuss the content and gain an understanding of the issues before engaging in the practice and the critical thinking and solving class activities.
Creating a learning experience that allows time in class to collaborate, practice concepts previously shared, and problem solve using teams and critical thinking skills, is a great strategy. We will need to support the leader to enhance their coaching skills moving from the sage on the stage to the guide on the side!
If you would like more information about the Flipped Classroom here is a wonderful collection of resources (papers, video, and links).