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BW Businessworld

‘Flipped Learning Is The Future, And It Is Here’

Flipped learning is the new rage on Indian campuses, including in IITs. Flipped learning pioneer Jon Bergmann opens up with BW Businessworld on its origin and evolution

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Joe Bergmann

Flipped learning is the new rage on Indian campuses, including in IITs. Flipped learning pioneer Jon Bergmann opens up with BW Businessworld’s Suman K. Jha on its origin and evolution.

What is a “flipped classroom”?
Flipped learning is a very simple idea. Students interact with the introductory material at home before coming to class. This usually takes the form of an instructional video created by the teacher. This replaces the direct instruction, which is often referred to as a lecture, in the class. Then class time is repurposed for a variety of tasks such as projects, inquiry, debate, or simply working on class assignments that in the old paradigm would have been sent home. This simple time-shift is transforming classrooms across the globe.

How would you describe its origin and your role in its growth?
Aaron Sams and I came up with this idea on our own in 2007 but have subsequently found that there were some educators with similar ideas before us. Thus, we like to call ourselves pioneers instead of inventors of the model. Since that time both Aaron and I have traveled the world helping schools and organisations flip their classes and schools.

What is the difference between the traditional classroom and the flipped classroom?

The key difference is that the direct instruction (lecture) does not happen in the class. Instead, direct instruction happens outside of class. This transforms the class into an active place of learning, engagement, exploration, and help. The teacher’s role changes from disseminator of knowledge to a facilitator of learning. Students in well run flipped classes take ownership for their learning, learn more effectively, and are happier.

Are you aware of the growing popularity of this mode of learning in India?
Yes. I have been in contact with many Indian educators for many years. I am impressed with the rapid adoption of the model. Though I have not yet visited India, I hope to in the near future and share and learn during my visit.

Is flipped classroom the future of education?
Flipped learning is here and it is the future. In our connected world, we need to teach in new ways that utilise technology to its fullest and bridges the gaps between people and not separate it. Besides, Flipped learning is not about the videos nor is it about the technology. Flipped learning can be boiled down to one question: What is the best use of face-to-face class time? Flipped learning is about the active and engaging things you can do IN the class.

What about the results before and after the flip?
For our students, the test scores went up one standard deviation. But more than the test scores, we saw students understanding science. These results have been replicated thousands of times across the world. I am seeing flipped learning work in virtually every subject (Math, Science, English, Literature, Languages, History, Physical Education, Art, and the list goes on) and at every level (elementary, middle, high school, university, and even corporate training).

Does the growing popularity of Flipped Learning also open up newer business opportunities?
There is a growing need for better technology to come around flipped learning. This is also part of the Flipped Learning Global Initative. My new organisation will be helping to identify the best tools — many of which are and will be startups.

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