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My 40 Years in Flipped Learning, Part 5 of 5: No More Academic Drownings

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

My 40 Years in Flipped Learning, Part 4 of 5: Flipping Courses or Students

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

My 40 Years in Flipped Learning, Part 3 of 5: Avoiding the Flipped Learning Flop at West Point

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

Fresh Learning VS Familiar Learning

Several years ago, I was talking about learning with my friend Larry. We were, I thought, talking about helping teens do better in high school and college. But something was wrong. We two imminently reasonable people were not understanding each other. It turned out he was talking about his time at Harvard Law School and I was talking about junior college students struggling with math. Ever since, I have found that my discussions with teachers, students and adults are frequently more productive and satisfying if we take the time to clarify what aspects of teaching and learning we are talking about. In particular, I have found it helpful to distinguish between familiar learning and fresh learning.

    Familiar Learning

Learn more… Continue reading

Jump the Pitfalls in Flipping Your College Success Course

If you are an instructor at the college level, you may have heard of, thought about and even tried Flipped Learning. The flipped courses my colleagues and I have delivered have helped 85% about 1 million young adults and teens succeed in learning subjects they found difficult. This has included math, English composition and public speaking, in addition to computer programming, electronics and criminal law. We have repeatedly faced some issues that you may be facing. Perhaps our experience will be of value to you.

First, a definition of Flipped Learning: In a flipped classroom, the primary activity of the learners is studying using videos and books, and then practicing—writing, reciting, solving–until the lesson has been mastered. Only then does… Continue reading

The Germ Theory of Teaching is Killing Learners

The germ theory of teaching goes like this. The teacher knows something and wants to transfer that knowing to learners. So the teacher tells and shows that knowing to the learner. This may be done live or by means of a book or video. Often, some mix of all three.

Teaching PlanTeaching a subject moves at some pace, as shown in this graph. The teacher assumes the learner has some pre-requisite knowledge and builds from there. The hope is that the teaching can be done so well that most of the learners catch the new knowledge. That’s why I call this the germ theory of teaching.

Now the reality of most teaching is this. Instead of most learners catching all or… Continue reading

Using What is Known About Learning in Your Course

You are probably like almost every college instructor I have ever met. You want your students to succeed. You and your students face difficult barriers, ranging from students of varying degrees of college readiness to financial needs and outside jobs. The blog is dedicated to helping you, an individual college faculty member, deliver the student outcomes you and your students want.

This first post sets forth some general principles that I and others have found extremely useful toward that end. Subsequent posts will describe things my colleagues and I have done, things we have seen others do, and posts from others on their approaches and results.

What is the Goal?

A college education consists of a body of knowledge–information, skills… Continue reading