I know a retired dentist who volunteers lots of his time to helping students in primary and middle schools. He does many things for the students, but I will focus just on his regularly spending time in math classes, individually tutoring students having difficulty for various reasons. One day we had this conversation.
Bob said, “I have been tutoring a middle school student. A few times a week I re-explain the lesson, demonstrate doing the problems, answer questions, and encourage as I walk him through doing the assigned problems. But he is making no progress and I do not know what to do to help him. What do you think?”
“Do you mind if I ask you a question about… Continue reading
To conclude these posts, I will tell you about what I consider the most conclusive and inspiring case history of the large-scale power and potential of flipped learning.
Before starting the story, here is some context. We all know there is lots of room to improve educational outcomes. So, I won’t re-hash depressing statistics. We also know about many well-financed and well-meaning initiatives that either didn’t work or couldn’t be replicated. I think there are the two main problems, both of which I know can be overcome with flipped learning ideas and methods.
The Two Main Barriers
The first problem is that almost everyone in the U.S. emphasizes the importance of teaching over studying. We—parents, politicians, faculty, and students—continually talk… Continue reading
In 1970, I started using flipped learning for a Criminal Law course in community colleges. Then, in 1973, I won a million-dollar contract from the U.S. Army to develop multimedia lessons for their 1125 self-paced, mastery learning centers. Today I would call that flipped learning because the soldiers watched short lessons and then practiced to mastery in the classroom. These projects were wonderfully effective, as described in Parts 1 and 2 of this 5-part series of posts. In 1972, I had the opportunity to buy a small private 4th-12th grade school run by some people who already had ten or more years of experience with flipped learning. The entire school used flipped learning. Our success in helping students catch up… Continue reading
Sometimes flipping produces extraordinary results. Sometimes the results are about the same or worse than conventional instruction. In this post, I will use the example of the West Point Military Academy to illustrate what I think are the key success factors for flipped learning.
Effective Flipping at West Point
The Army’s West Point Military Academy launched in 1804 to train Army civil engineers. Under Colonel Sylvanus Thayer, Superintendent from 1817-33, West Point developed an instructional model which they describe with these guidelines:
- At the start of a course, students get detailed learning objectives and a readable text.
- Each lesson has specific performance objectives.
- Periodic reviews and quizzes verify progress.
- Sufficient faculty provides individual attention.
- Classes are formed of students grouped… Continue reading
In this post, I will share my experience with flipping 1125 Army learning centers from 1973 to 1980. Here’s what happened.
Training Needs of the All-Volunteer Army
In 1972, with public sentiment running anti-war, the U.S. ended the military draft and switched to an “All-Volunteer” force. Partly because of the Viet Nam War and partly because of low pay and the danger of getting killed, joining the Army was not popular. The Army could not recruit college graduates. They were getting high school graduates and high school dropouts—about half and half. The Army needed these soldiers with weak academic records to learn to maintain and use computerized and electronic weapons on the battlefield. The Army knew their conventional classes weren’t… Continue reading
By Peter Lenn
In the 1960’s, I was a Ph.D. rocket scientist working on controlled nuclear fusion. On the side, I taught Advanced Calculus for Engineers at U.C. Berkeley. The usual 25% in that Master’s degree course did fine. The problem was that, despite my terrific lectures and good intentions, 75% didn’t. They passed the course but didn’t gain any useful or lasting competence or confidence.
In school, it had seemed natural that some of us got A’s and a lot of others didn’t. But now I was the teacher. I was collecting a salary but I wasn’t delivering the goods. A 25% success rate is embarrassing. It indicated I simply didn’t know what I was doing as a teacher.… Continue reading