Designing the Flipped Classroom: Part 1 Analysis

We have to articulate that process publicly, so that the people following new processes are not mistaken for cowboys or illiterates.
Mike Caulfield

There has been lots of talk recently about Competence by Design and about new technologies not contributing what people expected to learning. I am going to try to answer one issue of the latter with the former. Flipped classrooms are either the next wonder of technology or a total disaster depending on who you listen too. As always I answer “It isn’t the tool, it’s the pedagogy.” I am going to use the ADDIE approach to Instructional Design to inform my writing. So what can the pedagogy of design, bring to flipping.

What does it mean to Analyze?

There are two components I am going to explore

  1. The learners
  2. The objective

Medical Education Learners

No, I’m not going to talk about “kids these days”. There are several questions to consider here:

  1. What level of education can you assume this group of student has achieved?
  2. What does that tell you about their memorization, higher order thinking, clinical reasoning skills?
  3. What milestones can you assume the student has achieved as a result?
  4. What prerequisite knowledge and skills is it problematic to assume the student has (problem solving, study skills)?
  5. What cognitive load are the learners presently carrying (other classes, exam schedules)?
  6. Are there holidays or other events that would restrict how much time they can prepare for class?

For example: some medical students who have a traditional science background are very good at multiple choice learning but may have had little exposure to critical thinking, while some arts students have more experience with critical thinking but not memorization. Understanding this diversity can help with planning small group experiences or study groups when planning activities.

The Objective
Start by examining the verb used in the objective. Verbs such as:

  1. describe, list, define, name, explain, compare, identify and label all require lower order thinking (memorization)
  2. analyze, appraise, investigate, solve, determine, diagnose, synthesize require higher order thinking.
  3. apply, calculate, demonstrate, model, perform require application skills.

Memorization skills lend themselves well to flipped classroom learning because students can view lessons multiple times and practice retrieving knowledge.

Higher Order Thinking is best done at least initially in the classroom or small group where the diversity of student experiences improves problem solving skills. However there are frequently prerequisite or foundational skills that can be reviewed before class.

Application skills are best learned through practice and feedback from peers and experts, but they also have prerequisite information such as basic science facts or steps in a procedure that need to be held in working memory: either previously learned (and remembered) or reviewed before practice.

The Verb and Assessment
The verb also tells you how students should be tested, so finally you need to analyze the match between how and what students will be tested on with what you are teaching.

Stay tuned for Part 2 Design Phase

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