Several researchers have attempted to provide an extensive assessment of flipped learning. Most studies agree that the motivation for online and technological based learning approaches, such as flipped learning in classroom stems from the problems that can exist within traditional in-class instruction (like what sort of problems?) (Almalki & Williams, 2012; Alshabatat, 2014; Cho, 2012). As demonstrated by Cho (2012), in the Flipped Learning Framework, the direct learning is shifted out of the large group space and moved into the individual space, mainly with the help of several technologies. Educators narrate or record screencasts of class works on their computers as well as create footage of themselves teaching, or curate video lessons from relevant educational sites, such as Khan Academy and TED-Ed. The educators; therefore, “flip their classrooms” using these readily available learning materials, as learners can readily access the videos and screencasts at their convenient time, including at home, on the bus, or any other place. As such, learning becomes effective because the students come to classroom better prepared for the course materials. To this extent, most scholars agree that flipped learning helps make learning more interactive and effective for classrooms (Amanda & Michael, 2014). This section will review some of the literature documenting the relevance of flipped learning, the definition of flipped learning, concepts behind flipped learning, and technologies/software that help improve flipped learning as well as the knowledge of educators regarding technology and pedagogy concerning flipped learning.
Background of Flipped Learning in Classroom
“It is an ordinary class session. The lecturer stands in front of the classroom and delivers a fascinating lecture on ‘Emancipation’ while writing a couple of important points on a white board. Composed students are hunched over their desks arranged in rows are calmly taking notes, which perhaps will be useful in the defining moment of the semester- exam time. The most enthralling topic of the country’s history, which marked the end of slavery, has been reduced to a somewhat sermon-like situation, to say the least. Surprisingly, the lecturer is perfectly aware that majority of the students do not understand the main points or rather anything from the lesson, but technically, he would not get time to offer individualized attention to each student with the forty-minute or so lesson. In fact, even the following day the teacher would not have enough time to answer questions since the class cannot risk falling behind the schedule.”
The kind of scenario described above is common in almost any educational setup across the globe and has been haunting educators for decades (Graziano, 2016). Attempts have been strongly made to split such kind of teacher-centered instructional model by turning the attention to students’ learning needs rather than the traditional curriculum pacing guide. One such kind of a model is “Flipped Learning”, which employs digital technologies to sway direct instruction away from a group-learning environment to an individual-centered learning, preferably using videos (Little, 2015). By offloading direct instruction, the lecturer gets the chance to consider offering one-on-one attention to each student. Additionally, the students get ample time to share materials with fellow learners, engage on content extensively, practice skills, and get timely feedback on the advancements (Graziano, 2016). In this respect, instructors can dedicate their extra time to guiding students, assisting them to tackle challenging tasks while equally enabling them to have greater control over their learning process.
Flipped learning has certainly enhanced student interaction and helped many catch up to missed classes. Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams, frustrated by the frequent misses of the end-of-day classes whenever their students were out for games, competitions, or other events, decided to offer an alternative solution to the problem (Clark, 2014). The two chemistry teachers from rural Colorado saw the need for such students to use live video recordings and whenever they are out to record lessons, slide presentations, and other demonstrations containing annotations. Thereafter, the recordings would be posted in YouTube for students to download and use them at their convenience. According to Bergman and Sams (2012), it was important to flip the classrooms to enhance interaction among the students. Besides, the slow learners ultimately received the vital point chance to catch up with other students since they were given customized attention. The trick was that once the lectures were presented as homework in a rather different setup via online, the class would be reserved for a direct engagement with only class materials. As a result, students who perhaps might have not understood the concept will get the opportunity to revisit it once again.
According to Bergmann and Sams (2012), setting up a not-for-profit organization called “Flipped Learning Network” proved to be important in the inculcation of flipped learning into the education system. The organization was crucial in providing other educators with the skills, knowledge, and resources to implement the flipped learning model effectively. The fundamental objective of the organization was to offer professional learning experiences about flipped learning. Harvey (2014) wrote that such organizations are better placed to disseminate the pertinent research about flipped learning, as well as act as a clearinghouse for disseminating better practices for present and future flipped instructors. In essence, the organization became a foundation for taking the discussion on flipped learning to another level. In fact, Trogden (2015) acknowledged the role of flipped learning as far as provided access to guided engagement is concerned. Today, many educators have adopted the new model, and most of them consider it the best opportunity to revive interactive learning in classes and avoid a monolog sort of education.
Since its inception in 2013, the flipped classroom model has shown tremendous growth amid interests from multiple stakeholders within the education sector. The first literature review on the topic was done in 2013, but since then, many educators have sought information about the learning model, preferably over the Flipped Learning Network (Kenwright, Dai, Osborne, & Grainger, 2016). According to Subramaniam, (2016), a significant number of educators have attended training sessions, webinars, and other avenues of retrieving the vital data regarding the flipped learning model. A study titled “Growth in Flipped Learning: Transitioning the Focus from Teachers to Students for Educational Success” by Pettis (2014) revealed positive developments regarding the recognition and absorption of the model. Statistically, the study showed that 96 percent of teachers were aware of the model, which was a twelve percent increase from the previous study done two years before. The study also found out that there was an increase in the number of teachers who had flipped a lesson during the years from 48 percent in 2012 to 78 percent 2014 (Pettis, 2014). Of good to note is that a record 96 percent of those teachers who had done a flip said that they would recommend a colleague to do the same. It is clear from the study that flipped learning has become famous and widely recognized, and most teachers would recommend it to their colleagues who are yet to try it out.
Flipped learning has also had a tremendous impact on student learning and enrollment. One lecturer from Colorado State University-Pueblo, Judy E. Gaughan, acknowledges the vital impact the new learning model has had among the educators. In her article, “The Flipped Classroom in World History,” Gaughan explains that as soon as she started applying the flipped learning model back in 2013, she noted a tremendous growth in the enrolment (Gaughan, 2014). Using the model, she managed to enhance class learning by providing links to online videos and extra primary sources not available to students or those that she intended the students to explore extensively. This is just an example of positive stories that have filled published literature since the inception of the Flipped Learning Model a few years ago. Clearly, the model has benefitted both students and teachers even though it still faces a few challenges.
In conclusion, the flipped classroom certainly presents one of the best things to have happened in the education sector in recent years going by the many positive attributes captured in the reviewed articles. Starting with the pioneers of the model (Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams) to the other scholars who have backed the initiative, the model shows great potential to succeed in the end. Just around five years since its inception, flipped classrooms have started rolling down. This is not to say that flipped classrooms have no downsides since it could be an easy model to get wrong if the flip is not carefully crafted. Nonetheless, the model places additional responsibility for learning on the students’ shoulders while equally handing them the necessary momentum to experiment.
Defining Flipped Learning
Flipped Learning refers to the pedagogical approach whereby direct instruction shifts from the group learning space to the individual learning space, such that the resulting group space is transformed into a highly dynamic, interactive learning environment where instructors guide learners as they apply concepts and engage resourcefully in the subject matter (Brunsell & Horejsi, 2013). Flipped Learning approach is different from the long-standing traditional learning approach in that the traditional approach utilizes a teacher-centered approach whereby the instructor use class time to introduce to learners new concepts by delivering information in the form of presentations, demonstrations, and lectures (Clayton, 2012). Flipped learning, on the other hand, departs from the teacher-centered approach and is more learner-centered, as the learners are allowed to watch instructional videos at their home and do the typical homework (problem sets, worksheets, and back-of- the chapter exercises) in the classroom. The basic premise of flipped learning is that direct instruction is not conducted in large groups; instead, the direct instruction is delivered individually. Examples of flipped learning concept include assigning students or teams relevant topic to research in preparation for in-class debate on healthcare, patient safety or other topics. Examples of researchers that have attempted to examine the definition of flipped learning include Brunsell & Horejsi (2013), Clayton (2012), Jeremy & Sarah (2016), Lynette & Jennifer (2015), and Yuping et al, (2015). Taken together, these researchers agree that flipped learning is not a new concept and is one of the most effective approaches to learning, as teachers can personalize their version of flipped learning for their students.
In their study of the meaning of flipped learning, Brunsell & Horejsi (2013) examined some of the approaches utilized in the classroom in order to enhance flipped learning. They found out that flipped learning is a modern approach that departs largely from the teacher-centered model in favor of a more collaborative, active learner-centered approach. This finding is similar to the finding obtained by Clayton (2012), who argued that one cannot define flipped learning approach without highlighting that it is more collaborative, active learner-centered approach. According to Clayton (2012), the concept of flipped learning represents an innovative approach to teaching with the capability to create active, engaged, and learning centered classrooms. Clayton (2012) further stated that in Flipped Learning, instructors shift direct instruction or learning out of the large group learning space and move it into a personal or individual learning space, with the help of various technologies.
Conversely, Lynette & Jennifer (2015), in their study on definition of flipped learning as a practical method for engaging students, conducted an in depth comparison of flipped learning with the traditional cycle of teaching. In light of their finding, they defined flipped learning as the innovative approach to learning or teaching largely based on the idea of reversing the traditional cycle of teaching or learning that occurs in and between classes. This finding is similar to finding obtained by Yuping et al, (2015) who demonstrated that in flipped learning, the instructor first introduces concepts and information outside the classroom in the form of assigned readings, videos, podcasts, and other resources the instructor make available to the learners. Yuping et al, (2015), in their explanation of the meaning of flipped learning further demonstrated that, as a learning approach, flipped learning tend to place more of the responsibility for learning on the shoulders of learners/students while giving them greater impetus to experiments. Therefore, as part the flipped learning model, teachers are understood more as a guide on the side, interactive facilitator, coach, and mentor. A similar finding was obtained by Jeremy & Sarah (2016) who went further to demonstrate that flipped learning is a collaborative teaching approach in which teachers co-create, with the learners, parts of curriculum like assignments and rubrics. To this extent, Jeremy & Sarah (2016) demonstrated that one of the most important goals of flipped learning is to turn passive students into self-directed, active learning, further highlighting that flipped learning must be viewed as an approach that shift from teacher-centered model to student-centered approach. The subsequent section discuses the concepts behind Flipped Learning in classrooms
Concepts behind Flipped Learning Model
The concepts behind flipped learning emerged due to the increasing need for student to take responsibility for their own learning in a classroom learning environment that involves the application of rote information and engagement of each and every student from the classroom (). The concept behind flipped classrooms are different from the theoretical foundations of flipped learning in that while the latter refers to various model developed to explain the applicability of Flipped Learning, concept behind Flipped Classroom are the approaches that explains the factors that led to the emergence of flipped learning. The various examples of concepts behind flipped learning include social constructivism learning, educational technology, and learning through activity. Researchers who have investigated concepts behind flipped learning include Alderweird (2015), Eguchi (2015), and Hutchings & Quinney (2013), among other researchers. Together, these researchers agree that successful flipped learning classrooms tend to incorporate these concepts.
Social Constructivism Learning
Social constructivism learning is a model of learning that emphasizes the role of culture and context in developing personal and shared understanding and interpretation of reality (Hutchings & Quinney, 2013). In their study of the influence of social constructivism concepts on flipped learning, Hutchings & Quinney (2013) examined how flipped learning emerges from constructivist learning approach and demonstrated that constructivist approach does not decline the active role of teacher in classroom; instead, it changes the role of the teachers to assist learners in producing knowledge themselves. In line with constructivist learning concept, as demonstrated by Hutchings & Quinney (2013), the main purpose of the instructor/teacher is to provide relevant tools for the learners in order to enable learners develop their own knowledge and makeup conclusions. This finding is similar to finding obtained by Gillani and O’Guinn (2014) who demonstrated that constructivist approach often turns learners into active members of the learning process capable of building their knowledge, instead of receiving it passively from their instructors. To this extent, Gillani and O’Guinn (2014) concluded that flipped classroom largely utilize the concept constructivist learning approach, which include perceiving learning as an active approach that requires active participation of learners.
In his study of the relationship between social constructivism in the classroom, Eguchi (2015) examined how the teachers could rely on social context to facilitate learning in the classroom. Eguchi (2015) found out that social constructivism in classroom implies shifting the role of a teacher to instructor capable of guiding the students to achieve their goals. Eguchi (2015) also demonstrated that teachers who rely on social context often provide an environment where students work in groups in order to solve problems as well as master skills. In a different study, Hwang et al. (2015) examined the relationship between flipped learning and social constructivism learning. According to Hwang et al. (2015), the flipped learning model incorporates the social constructivist learning approach, as the homework provided by the teachers involves the collaborative activities, especially while reviewing the work during classroom hours. Researcher further states that learners are often able to construct their own knowledge as they work in teams and share multiple perspectives with each other in a learner-centered, interactive environment.
On the other hand, in his study of the effectiveness of social constructivism learning application in flipped classroom, Alderweird (2015) examined the various social strategies teachers across different secondary schools in the United States have used to increase success in the classroom. Alderweird (2015) found out that instructors that allow their students to work together in small, cohesive groups in flipped classrooms are often demonstrate critical thinking skills as well as problem solving skills. According to Alderweird (2015), a learner in small, cohesive groups has something different or unique to contribute and share with the group members, which, in turn, leads to the manifestation of multiple and innovative ways of thinking and problem solving among group members. This finding is similar to findings obtained by Kynigos (2015) who demonstrated further that flipped learning has a strong foundation in social constructivism because teachers who allow students to participate in small, cohesive groups in flipped classrooms are often able to achieve great success. Nonetheless, Kynigos (2015) recommended that in addition to acting in a facilitator role by occasionally providing learners with more individualized materials through videos or online, teachers must be able to provide one-on-one attention in order to enable student comprehend material they do not understand.
Educational technology is a field involved in the application of elaborate, comprehensive process in analysis and problem solving in human learning (Spector, 2013). Educational technology is different from social constructivism learning in that while in constructivist learning, the teacher promotes active learning by allowing children to learn in groups while supervising them, in educational technology approach, the teacher facilitate learning and improve performance through the creation, usage, and management of appropriate technological resources. Examples of educational technology that have facilitated the emergence of flipped learning include Wikispaces, Screencast, Dropbox, Celly, and Poll Everywhere. Various researchers that have examined educational technology as a concept behind flipped learning include Daniel (2013), Inoue & Bell (2016), Spector (2013), and Zhonggen & Wang (2016). As demonstrated in the previous section, these scholars agree that educational technology is among the concepts that have facilitated the emergence of flipped learning.
Daniel (2013) in his study of the various ways in which educational technology has facilitated the emergence of flipped learning examined the various technological platforms currently being utilized in flipped classrooms. Daniel (2013) developed the model below to explain educational technology as a concept behind the emergence of flipped learning.
Flipped Learning Concept Model (Daniel, 2013)
The diagram shows that teachers in flipped classroom use educational technology to influence the learning environment. The finding obtained by researcher Daniel (2013), as demonstrated in the diagram above, is similar to finding obtained by researcher Inoue & Bell (2016) who demonstrated that educational technology has become an important tool that teachers use in flipped in their teaching process in order to engage both learners and teachers in activities beneficial for the learning process. The finding is also similar to the findings obtained by researcher Zhonggen & Wang (2016) who demonstrated that the concept of flipped classroom emerged because of teachers trying to take advantage of the various educational technologies. To this extent, Zhonggen & Wang (2016) demonstrated that educational technology such as Wikispaces and Dropbox not only played critical role in improving Flipped Learning but also played a critical role in facilitating the emergence of the concept of flipped learning. As such, these researchers agree that by incorporating educational technology flipped learning model manages to free up class time by removing much of the direct instruction so that instructors are able to supervise collaborative experiences and foster metacognitive abilities by providing diverse learners with opportunity for communication.
Active Learning refers to the process by which the learners engage in activities such as writing, discussion, reading, or problem solving that promote synthesis, analysis, and evaluation of class content. Active learning is similar to social constructivist learning in that they both enhances the collaboration of learners through group activities in order to facilitate learning process. Examples of active learning technique include group projects, case studies, role-playing, and debates. Researchers that have examined active learning as a concept behind flipped education include researcher Oboko et al. (2016), Lento (2016), Alderweird (2015), and Hwang et al. (2015). All the researchers, as demonstrated in the previous section, agree that Active learning is one of the fundamental concepts that facilitate flipped learning.
In their study of the relationship between active learning and flipped learning, researcher Oboko et al. (2016) examined the application of flipped learning in flipped classrooms. They found out that active learning or activity based learning is an important concept that plays a significant role in understanding flipped classrooms. Oboko et al. (2016) further stated that active learning is a vital aspect of flipped learning and can be applied to any learning environment from standard to online lectures or as a blend of online and standard lectures. This finding obtained by researcher Oboko et al. (2016) is similar to finding obtained by Alderweird (2015) who argued that active learning concept provided a strong foundation for flipped learning. According to Alderweird (2015), active learning provides opportunities for students to think critically about various contents by engaging in a range of activities that help them prepare for the challenges of professional situations that involve evaluative or clinical reasoning. In essence, Alderweird (2015) agrees with Oboko et al. (2016) that flipped learning incorporates the concept of active learning such as peer learning. This is observable when teachers introduce instructional video to a small group of students, who, in turn, examines the content privately at home, then discuss the content in the classroom with their peers belonging to the same group.
Conversely, researchers Hwang et al. (2015) in their study of active learning as an approach for promoting flipped education examined the approaches teachers in flipped classrooms uses to promote active learning. They found out that teachers in flipped classrooms perceive active learning as a learner-centered approach that help transfer the responsibility of learning from the teacher to the student. In a different study, researcher demonstrated how instructors have been able to improve the effectiveness of flipped classroom by incorporating active learning. According to Hwang et al. (2015), when students arrive to class after completing the flipped ‘homework’, the active learning (that is, peer instruction process) can begin. Researcher proposed the model below to show the relevance of active learning in the flipped classroom model.
Activity Based Flipped Learning (Hwang et al., 2015)
As demonstrated in the model Hwang et al. (2015), flipped learning model is derived from the concept of active learning, particularly the peer instruction concept. Hwang et al. (2015) demonstrated that the teacher introduces the flipped ‘assignment’ in from of question. The flipped assignment could be introduced through various platforms including instructional videos or through online platforms such as dropbox and YouTube. The teacher then allows learners to work independently at home whereby the learners think, commit to an answer, and eventually share the answer with the teacher. From then on, learners are allowed to share thoughts through debates, case studies, argument sessions, and group projects. During this time, students are allowed to change their answers or expound on their answers depending on their new discoveries. Learners then commit to an answer, which, they then share with the teacher. In the end, the teacher gives closure to the discussion/debate with a quick overview of the answer by providing reasons of in-depth explanation of the answer and reasons, particularly if there are considerable numbers of students with incorrect answers or if the students have questions after the per discussion.
Lento (2016), on the other hand, in his study of the foundation of flipped learning examined the Piaget’s theory of active learning. In light of his observation, Lento (2016) demonstrated that flipped classroom model is highly derived from the Piaget’s theory of active learning. Piaget’s theory of active learning is a theory that postulates that learning should be an active process characterized by direct experience, and making of errors, as these activities enable the learners to develop creativity as well as problem-solving skills. The finding of Lento (2016), therefore, is similar to finding obtained by Hwang et al. (2015) who argued further that flipped learning has been able to incorporate the concepts of active learning, which, in turn, has contributed to the transformation of learning approach from the traditional classrooms, which tend to adhere to fixed curriculum. According to Hwang et al. (2015), students in fixed classrooms are often viewed as “blank slates” on to which information is etched by the teacher, and the students primarily work alone. To this extent, most researchers have come to agree that in flipped classrooms, active learning enables learners to work in groups in order to achieve educational goals. The subsequent sections review various literatures that covered the relevant theoretical foundations of flipped learning.
Theoretical Foundations of Flipped Learning
Several kinds of literature have demonstrated that, for teachers to understand the concept of flipped learning, they must understand its theoretical foundations; as this would enable them ensure effective implementation of the approach in the classroom. Cheryl & Stephen (2013) in their study of the relevant theoretical foundations that teachers should form the basis for implementing flipped learning documented two frameworks including Blended Learning Theory (BLT) and Project-based Learning Theory (PBLT).
Blended Learning Theory (BLT)
Blended Learning Theory is a pedagogical approach to classroom instruction that combines face-to-face activities with computer-mediated activities and online learning (Alajmi, 2011). Advocates of BLT argue that it minimizes the weaknesses of full online instruction by allowing face time with the teacher, learners, peers, and provides an opportunity for clarity of difficult assignments or concepts. Similarly, most researchers including Donohue, Fox, and Torrence (2009) found that teachers should have adequate knowledge concerning BLT because it is an integral component of the flipped classroom. Especially, these researchers investigated the effect of a modified flipped learning on students learning in a basic chemistry course using podcasts and other multimedia methods to teach both online and face-to-face, as suggested in the BLT model. Their study also incorporated a control group consisting of students who were only taught using face-to-face interaction. While comparing the findings obtained from the two groups, Donohue, Fox, and Torrence (2009) found that learners in the modified flipped classroom outperformed learners in a traditional class format (face to face) on some academic measures. To this extent, researcher recommended that teachers aiming to achieve the full benefit of Flipped learning in the classroom should have adequate knowledge of the Blended learning theory, as it is an integral part of the flipped learning model.
Project Based Learning Theory
Project-based Learning Theory is student-centered pedagogy that focuses highly on problem or project undertaken by the learners as means of instruction. PBLT involve initiative by the learners or group of learners and necessitate a variety of educational activities. Cheryl and Stephen (2013) in their study found that in PBLT, the learners’ objective in respect to learning are directed at directed at helping them to develop intrinsic motivation, flexible and effective problem-solving skills collaborative skills, and self-directed learning. In their study, del Valle and Duffy (2009) observed that to have adequate knowledge in flipped learning, teachers must learn to view the flipped learning through the lens of PBLT. Likewise, they found that learners in high-enrollment flipped classroom were likely to be more satisfied and engaged when their teachers implemented flipped learning with PBLT design. Another noteworthy example of PBLT in the flipped learning research is occurred in a study that by Corey and Bower (2015), which used the flipped classroom pedagogy to teach pharmacotherapy in an 8-week course. They found that students both outperformed and positively viewed the classroom when compared to traditional lecture-based class. To this end, it is apparent that acquiring knowledge on these two theories, as they from the foundation for the implementation of flipped learning. The following section examines the software programs that have been used to improve flipped learning.
Software for improving Flipped Learning
Software in board terms refers to the part of computer system or network that consists of encoded computer instructions or information intended for a particular use. A software differ from hardware in that a hardware is any physical device used in or with a computer system while a software is a collection of data or code often installed onto the hard drive of the computer. Examples of software and web tools that could be used to improve Flipped learning include Wikispaces, Screencast, Dropbox, Celly, and Poll Everywhere. Researchers who have investigated the various tools used in flipped learning include Alpaslan et al. (2015), Barowy & Laserna (2013), Caldwell (2013), Hammerman (2016), and Yu –Lung et al. (2011), among other renowned researchers. Taken together, these researchers demonstrated that the progress in technology has made flipped learning easier, as teachers and students could interact easily using a number of highly efficient web tools and software.
In their study of the available software and web tools for enhancing learning in Flipped Classrooms, Alpaslan et al. (2015) compiled different software and compared their capabilities in improving Flipped earning. They found out that Wikispaces is among the most common software programs used classrooms in the United States. Alpaslan et al. (2015) demonstrated that wikispaces is efficient for most classrooms because it is a free and very useful tool designed to give learners the ability to reflect on their work, share their thoughts, and edit a pool of work collaboratively. A similar study by Hammerman (2016) demonstrated that Wikispaces has become powerful web software used across the world to facilitate flipped learning. In a different study, Caldwell (2013) explored the applicability of Wikispaces in the flipped classroom. Caldwell (2013) observed that instructors tend to use wikispaces to power the blog of their classroom. To this extent, the instructors task the learners with the responsibility of monitoring what their projects are doing. Yu –Lung et al. (2011) also demonstrated that in some flipped classrooms, Wikispaces are often used as means of posing questions or tasks, and the learners have to determine the answers in the online collaboration space.
Barowy & Laserna (2013), in their study on the capabilities of Dropbox as software for enhancing flipped learning, examined its usefulness in the flipped classrooms. They found out that Dropbox is useful in enhancing flipped learning because it allows instructors and learners to work on the same set of information concurrently. Barowy & Laserna (2013) defined dropbox as web tool program that allow instructors and learners to create a special folder on their computers or Smart phones, which is then synchronized so that the folder to be the same regardless of the device the use to view it (Barowy & Laserna, 2013). Files placed in this folder are accessible to all the users in the classrooms via Dropbox software installed on the desktop or Dropbox web. The study by Barowy & Laserna (2013) is similar to the study by Zhonggen & Wang (2016), which highlighted that Dropbox enable instructors to create a folder that every learner in a flipped classroom can place or pull data for learning purposes. In a different study, Yu –Lung et al. (2011) examined the various ways in which Dropbox could be implemented in the classroom and found out that Dropbox is useful for homework and exit slips. In particular, the teacher can easily hand out assignments to the students while using this software and students can turn in their assignment in the same manner (Yu –Lung et al., 2011). As such, the interaction between the teachers and students is reduced significantly during the learning process. This finding is similar to finding by White (2012) who demonstrated that the teachers could safely deliver exit slips to parents by using special folders that parents are allowed to access. To this extent, White (2012) demonstrated that dropbox has become an important collaborative tool for learning in the flipped classroom because it can include all stakeholders including instructors, students, and parents.
Conversely, in their study of the correlation between Flipped Learning and technology, Shannon & Greg (2013) examined the various technological platforms utilized by teachers in Australia and Southeast Asia. They found out that many teachers in some parts of Australia and Southeast Asia use Celly to enhance the learning process. Celly is a software platform that organizes conversations or data for groups, places, and topics into chartrooms commonly referred to as “cells” (Shannon & Greg, 2013). In addition, in their study, Shannon & Greg (2013) demonstrated that celly has become a particularly useful platform for enhancing flipped learning because it requires limited network availability and reliability. This finding is similar from the finding obtained by Spector (2013) who found out that Celly enables users to connect with one another anywhere, at anytime. Spector (2013) also demonstrated a similar finding arguing that Celly enables teachers to use text-based social network to hand out task to learners or even create relevant assignments based on the progress of their students.
Biehler (2012), in his study on the role of technology in improving learning experience in the classroom, examined the applicability of Screencast in the Flipped Classrooms. Biehler (2012) found out that instructional screencast is an effective software for Flipped learning because it enables instructors to create their own instructional video. This finding is similar to finding obtained by Hammerman (2016) who demonstrated that screencasting enables instructors to teach virtually their contents while capturing their voices as well as movements across the computer screen. In a different study, while comparing traditional videotaping and screencasting, Cheryl & Stephen (2013) demonstrated that screen casting, unlike traditional videotaping that require teachers show their faces in the video, does not require any recording device beyond the computer being used by the instructor. The findings by Cheryl & Stephen (2013), therefore, is more or less similar to finding by Hammerman (2016) because they both seemed to demonstrate that screencasting is effective for improving flipped learning because it enables teachers to save time and space while creating instructional content they would use would disseminate to the students in a flipped classroom.
In their study of the application of screencasting on flipped learning, Herreid and Schiller (2013) examined some of the various types of screencasting software that have become popular in the classroom setting. They found out that various screencasting software relevant for creating instructional content for flipped classrooms include Microsoft Community Clips and Microsoft Expression Encoder. Herreid & Schiller (2013) further observed that Microsoft Community Clips is an effective screencasting tool because it enables instructors to record screen while explaining the instructional content they want to provide to their students. This finding is similar to finding obtained by Cheryl & Stephen (2013) who demonstrated further that while Microsoft Community has limited application because it only records screen, teachers can obtain it for free in order to enhance their teaching experience. In addition, Cheryl & Stephen (2013) demonstrated that Microsoft Expression Encoder is superior to Microsoft Community Clips because it not only enables instructors to record their screens, but also enables them to record their webcam as well as provide them with basic editing options after they have finished recording their instructional contents. The finding by Herreid & Schiller (2013) is also similar to the finding by Cope & Ward (2012) who further demonstrated that Microsoft Expression Encoder is effective software for improving Flipped Learning because it is free and easy to use. In particular, teachers can download it free from Microsoft website.
Conversely, Lucas (2014), on his study of the emerging technologies for improving Flipped learning examined the impact of implementing Flipped Learning with Poll Everywhere, a software platform that enables the teachers to engage their students in real time. Lucas (2014) found out that Poll Everywhere is effective tool for improving flipped learning because it enables teachers to actively interact with their students, especially in a large group setting. Unlike other software programs such as screencasting that facilitate learning for an individual or small groups, Poll Everywhere enable teachers to interact with a large group of students in real time. The finding is similar to finding obtained by researcher White (2015) who demonstrated that Poll Everywhere is an effective tool for improving Flipped Learning because it is one of the most convenient and economical approach of transferring knowledge from the content expert (instructor) to the learners. In a different finding, Herreid & Schiller (2013) demonstrated that blended methods of active learning that incorporates flipped learning using Poll Everywhere platform has been accepted widely by students in large group teaching. Equally, Herreid & Schiller (2013) demonstrated that Poll Everywhere enable the instructors to get immediate feedback from the students, which, in turn, enables the teacher to focus more on the key areas that would enable learners gain more during the learning process. Herreid & Schiller (2013)
also echoed similar finding demonstrating that real time feedback from the students enables the teacher to amend his strategies in order to focus on the relevant areas that needs to be addressed to enhance students’ learning experience.
Pillars of Flipped Learning
The pillars of flipped learning are the features of flipped classrooms that facilitate the implementation of flipped classrooms (Robert, 2012; Wood, Stover, Pilonieta & Taylor, 2012; Meng-Jung, 2009). As most scholars including Wood, Stover, Pilonieta & Taylor, (2012) and Donohue and Torrence (2009), observed and found that an educator aiming to implement Flipped Learning must have adequate knowledge on the four important pillars of flipped learning, which include flexible environment, learning culture, and international content, as well as professional educator. This section reviews each of these pillars.
A flexible environment is a learning environment physically rearranged to accommodate different types of learning, demonstrating high degree in flexibilities in timelines for learning and assessment. In his study of the various ways that teachers could enhance effective learning using technology in the classroom, Robert (2012), examine the ways in which teachers could ensure the provision of a flexible environment for flipped learning. He found that teachers could create a flexible environment by providing the learners with the opportunity to choose when and where they want to learn. Mupinga, Nora, and Yaw (2016), found that teachers should be able to adopt teaching modes as well as have expectations that are highly flexible, reported similar finding. Likewise, as demonstrated by Meng-Jung (2009), the pace of learning and assessment in flipped classrooms should be flexible to cater for learning abilities of all learners.
Several researchers agree that for flipped learning to be effective, learning culture must shift away from teacher-centered classroom to a student-centered approach (Wang, Hsu & Green, 2013; Misook & Anthony, 2015). Wang, Hsu & Green (2013) noted that teachers should allow the learners to explore course materials before class and use class time to explore the topics in greater context. To this extent, Misook and Anthony (2015) found that teachers need to reframe their approaches to designing instruction to provide opportunities for learners to participate actively in the learning process and evaluate their learning in a manner that is personally meaningful. Similarly, Misook and Anthony (2015) reported that teachers must design curriculum in a manner that personalizes learning by creating a series of vodcasts and preparing other learning materials that scaffold learning for the weaker students and challenge the more able students. In light of this observation, it is apparent that teachers must acquire considerable knowledge in new teaching methods that utilizes current technologies to be able to apply flipped learning in the classroom.
In flipped learning, the content of learning must be designed intentionally to promote critical and higher order thinking in student-centered activities in and outside the classroom. Therefore, as demonstrated by Lai, Zhao, and Wang (2011) and by Joyes and Tong (2009), teachers knowledgeable in flipped learning must be able to evaluate the content they need to teach directly to their students and the contents that the students need to explore on their own when outside the group learning space or classroom. Abbad and Morris (2009) in their study of the relevant knowledge for implementation of flipped learning, found that teachers must be able to use design learning content that facilitates the maximization of classroom time, as well as incorporate instruction methods, such as peer instruction, active learning strategies, and problem-based learning. Therefore, teachers must ensure that they move away from teachers–centered approach by providing content that favors student-centered approach.
In flipped learning, professional educators refer to the active observers capable of offering timely and relevant assessment and feedback, as well as reflection and connectedness, during live instruction. According to Misook and Anthony (2015), to develop strong knowledge in flipped learning, teachers are required to decide on the types of learning activities and the appropriate strategies to implement those learning activities. This finding is supported by findings by Meng-Jung (2009) who noted that teachers must be able to design activities that maximize face-to-face interactions between students/educators and between students/students.
Teachers Perception of the Flipped Classroom
As demonstrated in the previous section, the integration of flipped learning in the classroom largely depends on the knowledge of teachers in flipped learning as a technological as well s their perception of flipped classroom. Several researchers including Abuhamour (2013), Jacobi (2012), Ford and Forman (2009), and Bingimlas (2009) have attempted to examine teacher’s perception if flipped learning.
Model for Change
In their study of the benefits and limitations of flipped learning, researchers conducted a survey across different schools to determine the perception of teachers in respect for flipped learning. For example, Abuhamour (2013) found that most teachers’ views flipped learning classrooms as classrooms model that pushes for change in the learning environment. In addition, he noted that most teachers acknowledged, which students today learns differently from students in the past because they spend much time on the internet playing video games, visiting social media platforms, and researching on the internet. Therefore, as demonstrated by this researcher, there is the need for educators to introduce a new learning method that integrates Internet technologies. A similar finding was reported by Joanne and Tim (2014) who showed that most teachers agree that flipped learning pushes for change from traditional teacher-centered classrooms to a student-centered approach whereby the students explore the technologies they use in their daily lives to learn new concepts.
Jacobi (2012), on the other hand, found that students who using computer-based instruction tend to have significantly higher assessment scores than learners taught by methods that are more traditional. In line with this observation, most teachers have come to accept flipped learning as a model for change because it enables learners to use computer-based platforms to enhance their learning activities. Likewise, in line with the pillars of flipped learning, Jacobi (2012) demonstrated that teachers have accepted flipped learning as a model for change because it provides a flexible environment for interactive learning, as students can interact with their teachers and learn at their convenient time.
Herreid and Schiller (2013) in their study of the flipped classroom examined their use of flipped classroom to deliver educational material in healthcare education college in the United States, and recognizing the ever-growing time constraints on classroom education. They found that the flipped classroom is as a way to remove teaching instruction from time-consuming teacher-instruction to a more convenient student-centered approach. Concisely, while using flipped classroom to deliver educational material, Bingimlas (2009) found that flipped learning facilitated increased class attendance, supplemented intra-operative teaching, and reduced lecture time in the classroom. This finding is similar to finding obtained by Brunsell and Horejsi (2013) who found that teachers prefer flipped learning because it emphasizes interactive activities. As demonstrated by Brunsell and Horejsi (2013), flipped learning is a student-centered learning model that allows students to have more opportunities to present their opinions. In particular, Ford and Forman (2009) found that due to the emphasis on students becoming the agents of their won learning rather than the object of instruction, the flipped learning model enables teachers to make the shift from teacher driven instruction to student-centered learning. To this extent, it is apparent that most teachers agree the flipped learning has become an effective way of enhancing the classroom experience.