FLIPPING THE CLASSROOM – A PILOT FOR A PRACTICE BASED COURSE
Fontys University for Applied Sciences (NETHERLANDS)
Blended or flipped learning, where ‘students gain first exposure to new material outside of class,’ (Brame, n.d.) is a rapidly upcoming phenomenon in higher education. The method where students prepare for class through a web lecture and then work with the theory in a face to face setting (F2F), works (Thai, De Wever, & Valcke, 2015). Guided by successful and less successful attempts (Univers, 2014), Fontys Academy for Creative Industries conducted a pilot with flipping the classroom in the fall of 2014. The subject was Communication Skills, for first year students. The course lasted 12 lessons or one semester. The subject was tested by 45 multiple choice questions. The contents were the same as in 2013; the teaching method differed.
Twelve lessons were ‘flipped’, using Bloom’s taxonomy and Kolb’s learning styles to design the classes. The theory was offered through weblectures, animations or by providing reading material. Preparatory assignments were mandatory in order to gain access to the classroom. Statistics show that the web lectures were watched more than once by a majority of the students.
Results were positive. Test results were slightly higher on average, going from a 6.7 to a 6.9 (out of 10; N=345 in 2013; 330 in 2014), and students evaluated the quality of the course also higher, going from 6.9 to a 7.4. Teachers were given an 8.0 on average in the evaluation, whereas in 2013 this was a 7.3. In 2013, 80.5% passed the test the first time; in 2014 this was 86.1%. Moreover, more students passed the retake of the test in 2014, meaning that while in 2013, 46 students failed the test twice, in 2014 this number was down to 11. This is a decrease of over 75%.
A majority of the students attended the lessons even though attendance was not mandatory. This is consistent with findings in other studies that students still prefer F2F contact (Barchilon Ben-Av & Ben-Av, 2015). Topics for discussion are the assignments that were considered ‘too broad’ by the students, leading to unsatisfactory results in class. This is consistent with findings that explain that students sometimes have difficulty forming their own learning objectives (Univers, 2014; Hansson, Jansson, & Wihlborg, 2015). Still, this first pilot has yielded promising results when it comes to utilizing new teaching methods.
 Barchilon Ben-Av, M., Ben-Av, R. (2015). Is the classical lecture structure dead? Proceedings of the International conference on education and new learning technologies, 7, Spain, 1614.
 Brame, C.J. (n.d.). Flipping the classroom. Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching. Retrieved July 16th, from http://cft.vanderbilt.edu/files/Flipping-the-classroom.pdf.
 Hansson, P.O., Jansson, P., & Wihlborg, E. (2015). Problem based teaching with other focuses than problem solving. Proceedings of the International conference on education and new learning technologies, 7, Spain, 7899-7907.
 Thai, T.N.T, Wever, B. de., Valcke, M. (2015). An innovative approach to study the impact of different blends of learning on learning performance in higher education. Proceedings of the International conference on education and new learning technologies, 7, Spain, 7323-7329.
 Univers. (2014, July 7). Van Driel over mislukt project onderwijsvernieuwing [Van Driel on failed project on innovative teaching]. Retrieved July 16th, from https://universonline.nl/2014/07/07/van-driel-over-mislukt-project-onderwijsvernieuwing.