Flipped Primer – Part 2

Last week I took a look at the basics of flipped learning. This week I am going to present two models for flipped learning.  The first is a simple model, the second offers more in depth guidance.

Turning Tradition Upside Down

The eLearning Guild had a great webinar last year with Bob Lee and Jim Recker that is a good introduction to the flipped classroom in the workplace. Basically, they say the traditional model for classroom learning is upside down. This leads to low learner retention and application rates even when instructors are trying hard to engage students in the classroom.

Instead of focusing the bulk of instructor resources on the presentation of material and leaving students with little support for practice, the flipped model simply refocuses course time and resources. Students watch a video lecture on their own time then collaborate with each other both outside and within the classroom where they have support as they discover, practice and apply.

simple flipped model
This model is a good starting point for those new to flipped learning. I think it oversimplifies flipped learning a bit, for example, by using lecture as the basis for all new learning. However, it’s a great place to start as it encourages application and discovery, rather than more routine assignments, as the best use of classroom time.

If you’re interested in learning more, check out the webinar and send them an email requesting access to their Podio site on flipped learning.  It is a wonderful resource.

Gerstein’s Flipped Classroom Model

Jackie Gerstein presented the Flipped Classroom Model in 2011 in order to give some staying power to the trend of flipping. She sees it more as a learning cycle model as it is based on the Experiential Learning Cycle and 4MAT Cycle of Instruction. It also corresponds well to Bloom’s Taxonomy. There are four components to this model, shown below.

Flipped classroom model
Gerstein suggests that the process starts with some experiential engagement to get learners interested in the subject. Depending on the subject, this might actually occur during the normal work day as someone finds a frustrating problem they want to fix. In other circumstances, the process might necessarily start with concept exploration as Sarah Gilbert suggests.

Let’s take a look at each step in this model.

Concept exploration

Concept exploration is an educator led part of the process that introduces learners to what they are learning. In many classrooms, this is the lecture or presentation part of a course. In a flipped learning environment learners are allowed more control over this part of the learning cycle than they might traditionally have.

HP_2133_Mini-Note_PC_(side)Educators assign a short video or audio lecture, websites, or other materials to explore. Learners then get to take control of their learning by reading, watching, exploring, and listening to these elements at their own pace and level. Educators may give students even more control by allowing them to find and share their resources on a topic. Some learners may choose to dive deeper than they would be able to in a traditional classroom setting.

Note that this phase does not need to be technology heavy; videos, podcasts and other media rich technologies are not essential for flipped learning. Students can also use text books, newspapers, journal and magazine articles, a user manual, or any other low-tech material to explore a topic.

Looking back at Bloom’s Taxonomy, these activities support remembering.


After exploring a new concept, but before coming to the classroom, students make meaning out of the information they have watched, listened to or read. Instructors might use a number of methods for this phase.

Those who most want to encourage peer-to-peer learning might have a social networking group or discussion board in which students participate. Those who are most concerned with ensuring students come to class prepared might have a quiz or other comprehension check. In addition, instructors may ask students to reflect on what they learned through a blog, short video, podcast or other presentation.

Regardless of the type of activities used in this stage, students are working towards understanding level objectives.

Experiential Engagement

Whether this stage occurs before concept exploration or after meaning-making, it will usually be the first time the learner and instructor are interacting together on this content.


When used before concept exploration, educators might have learners conduct an experiment or play a game that piques their interest in a topic. When used after meaning-making, students are able to apply what they have learned. They might complete a simulation, practice a skill, or work on a project.

Application is occurring at this stage in a way that allows the instructor to gauge student understanding, support correct application, assist students that are having difficulties and provide additional challenges to students that find the initial application easy.

Demonstration and Application

In the last stage of the Flipped Classroom Model, students analyze, evaluate and create. Instructors also have a chance to evaluate for mastery and offer additional support to students that need more practice.

800px-Open_University_China_Learning_Design_at_ILI_LeicesterCreation of a personalized project or presentation may occur within or outside of the classroom, but should always be shared with the instructor and peers. “This goes beyond reflection and personal understanding in that learners have to create something that is individualized and extends beyond the lesson with applicability to the learners’ everyday lives” (Gerstein, 2011).

Flipped Learning and Neuroscience

I just got back from attending the ASTD (now ATD!) 2014 conference and attended a great session on Neuroscience and learning while there.  I plan to write an entire post about this subject, but want to touch on the point that both of these flipped models allow for some key elements that neuroscience says are necessary for strong learning retention.  It spaces out exposure to a subject, allows for student generation of information, and, in certain stages, offers emotional stimulation and an ideal environment for learner attention.


Next up: Benefits and challenges of flipped learning

In the meantime, let me know if you have any questions about flipped learning you’d like me to address in this series! And here are some resources for a little extra reading.

Gerstein, J. (2011, June 13). The flipped classroom: A full picture. User generated education. [Web log]. Retrieved from

Gilbert, S. (2013, January 26). Flipped classrooms webinar. [Video file]. Retrieved from

Lee, B. & Recker, J. (2013, May 23). How to apply the flipped classroom model for buisiness learning. [Video file]. Retrieved from