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


Hover Craft

Last week I shared my top 10 Storyline Hacks (or creative workarounds as David Anderson & the Articulate staff prefer them to be called).  This week, I’d like to share how I created some of the fun hover animations on both that project and on the Mission Possible project.

Hover Basics

If you are new to or unfamiliar with Storyline, one feature you should get to know is the ability to add states to objects.  There are several built in states, one of which is “Hover”.  Basically, if you add this state to an object it will appear whenever the mouse is hovered over the object.  You can make the Hover state do almost anything including changing the look, adding sound and creating animation.  All these actions can come in handy for communicating directions to users, giving feedback or providing other support.

newstate    hover


Visual Changes

Here are some of my favorite visual changes from the Top 10 Hacks project. Note that all of them had some kind of visual change, plus the addition of a word describing the change and corresponding hack.


Randomize is just a simple text change.  The Normal state has the text “{}  []  ||”  and the Hover state has the text “RANDOM  []  ||  {}  IZE”.  Yep.  That’s it.

random_1      randomize



This effect was a simple change in the fill of the object from solid black to a striped pattern.  You can access these additional fill options by going to format shape.  You are able to fill your shape with a pattern, gradient, built in texture, or picture that you import.  Basically, you can fill it with anything.



scratch_1      scratch


Slide & Scroll

These two are the same… and not the same.  In both, a left to right scroll is imitated, but they were achieved in different ways.  In Scroll, the scroll bar is an image that is flipped in the Hover state.  In Slide, the white circle is simply moved from one end of the slide to the other in the Hover state.

slide_1     slide


scroll_1     scroll



There are two ways to hide an object in the Hover state.  If it is an object created in Storyline, you can recolor it to match the background or make it transparent. If it is more complicated, like an imported picture, you can always delete the object from the Hover state.  Interestingly, you can also delete the object from the Normal state so that it appears when you hover.

hide_1      hide



Adding animation to a Hover state is quick and easy, but there is one trick to it: You can’t animate the objects copied from Normal state to Hover state.  Let me explain.

When you create a new Hover state for an object it automatically copies the object over.  You can then edit this object, delete it, add captions and other objects into the Hover state.  Anything that is added can be animated.  For example, in the Zoom animation, the large star burst shape is added to the rectangle’s Hover state so that shape can be animated to grow as it enters.



If you want to animate the original object, you will need to delete or hide the original and then recreate, or paste in a copy of, that object.  This is what I did in the Loop example for the arc.  In addition, the word “LOOP” fades in.



Audio Changes

The Mission Possible project had a lot of sound effects attached to the Hover states.  The computer turns on, things are written in a notebook, a calendar page flips, a door squeaks open; it was a lot of fun to make.

Just like with animation, this is an easy way to add some interesting audio to a project. All you have to do is insert your sound file while editing the Hover state.  Really – it’s that easy!

Note that the sound will play only while the mouse is hovering over that object.  It will then stop and start over the next time the mouse passes over. If you want to change the way the audio reacts to hovering you can instead add a trigger, and the audio, to the slide.  Your options for this are:

  • Audio plays on hover and does not stop (add a trigger to play the audio when the state of the object is equal to hover, do not add a trigger to pause or stop the audio)
  • Audio plays on hover, pauses when not hovering, and resumes from where it left off on the next hover (add a trigger to play when state is hover, add a second trigger to pause audio when the state of the object is not equal to hover)
  • Audio plays on hover, stops when not hovering, and starts from beginning on next hover – this is the same as it would act if you add audio to the hover state (add a trigger to play when state is hover, add a second trigger to stop audio when the state of the object is not equal to hover)


This is really just scratching the surface of what you can do with the Hover state in Storyline. What fun things would you like to create?  How have you used the built in states in an interesting way?  Share in the comments!



Hand Over the Spoon

When I finally publicly posted my blog for the first time last week, I had a great response (thanks guys!). One friend in particular, who I haven’t seen in a while, was unaware that I did eLearning for a living.  She is starting to learn and use Adobe Captivate to make some stuff for her organization and asked if I had any tips or resources to share.

Well, I’ve got lots of tips.  Most of them are cynical (save often when working with Captivate or Storyline!) but here are a few not so cynical ones, in no particular order other than that in which I thought of them.  These really focus on some of the basics of good instructional and eLearning design since once you form bad habits in these areas, they can be REALLY hard to break!

PowerPoint Presentation


  1. Map out your plan before you open the software.  When new to this stuff you fall into one of 2 camps: “can’t wait to play around!” or “ack, I’m terrified!” Either way, you will minimize distraction and/or terror if you first have a storyboard.
  2. Related, if you are serving as the instructional designer make sure you are using some kind of process that includes an analysis of needs and learners and deliberate design. Learn more about ADDIE (a long time industry standard) and SAM (a newer, iterative model).
  3. Learn to write good learning objectives. If done well, and you follow tip 4, your course will essentially design itself.
  4. Create your evaluation/quiz questions before your content.  If your content doesn’t directly support a learner being able to complete the task/answer the question, throw it out.
  5. Chunk things into small bits.  Our brains can only handle so much at once. Each slide should contain no more than one or two pictures with a handful of words.
  6. Hand over the spoon. That is, give learners control whenever possible. Let them explore.  One strategy I particularly love for this is to give them all the information you want to present as a set of resources.  Then make them solve a problem using those resources.  This can have the added benefit of reinforcing how/where to find this information when they need it in the future.
  7. Play around with your software and stretch your limits. Learn how to create click and reveal interactions.  Once you get that down you can start to play with drag and drops, hot spots, scenarios and branching.
  8. But don’t make interactions just for the hell of it.  There is nothing more annoying than mindless clicking or having to click 100 times on one slide to reveal all the necessary information.
  9. Join some communities, listen in on webinars, read all you can. There are so many really awesome resources available so take advantage of them!
PowerPoint Presentation

Speaking of Resources…  Here are some of my favorites.

  1. No matter your tool, the Articulate community blogs are an awesome place to get ideas. In particular, check out David’s weekly challenges.  They are full of inspiration.
  2. The Articulate Building Better Courses forum is also awesome.
  3. ASTD – consider becoming a member.  Also, their Learning Circuits blog.
  4. eLearning Guild
  5. There are tons of great eLearning and instructional design blogs out there.  You should read some and find which ones you love.  Here are some compilations from Articulate, from eLearning Industry, and from Cammy Bean at Kineo.
  6. Michael Haney’s blog, eLearning Curve, has some great resources. Check out his “Discovering Instructional Design” series (summer of 2009). I really like the tips in this post on goal analysis when working in the affective domain.

So, what are your tips and resources for those just getting started? Do any of these in particular resonate with you? Coincidentally, the Articulate Community Weekly Challenge this week was about designing a poster around your favorite education or instructional design quote – there are some great submissions! My contributions are the images above.

Show some love

Happy Valentine’s Day! In the valentines spirit, this morning I attended a webinar hosted by Kineo on “8 ways to make your learners fall in love”.

I don’t really know how I ended up on the email list for Kineo but I’m glad I did.  They have a lot of great resources for eLearning professionals… like this webinar!  I thought I would summarize a few points here that I really liked.

Go slow and woo with styleposter of smokey the bear that says "only you"

That is, create a learning campaign.  Learning shouldn’t happen in a bubble.  It needs support on the front end (hype) and reinforcement on the back end to make it stick. Think about awareness campaigns (Smokey the bear, This is your brain on drugs) and get creative in how you hype and reinforce your learning experiences.  Repeated small exposures will stay with your learner much better than a one time, 3 hour course.

Gifts are nice

We can talk all we want about intrinsic motivation, but not everyone will be intrinsically motivated to take mandatory courses.  So what are some ways we can give them a little extra push?

Star student blue ribbon stickerSome companies can offer monetary incentives; one example shared was a company that offered a helicopter trip to the person that earns the most points, complete with a leaderboard in the LMS.

But what can you do that won’t cost much? A free way to incentivize is with badges.  They are all the rage these days.  And Mozilla makes it easy for anyone to offer badges that can be posted on social networks.

Another way is through games. Just make sure that the game is actually contributing to learning and is not just a fun and pretty distraction.

Don’t take the love for granted

One of my favorite ideas was getting learners to create something or complete a worksheet that they then discussed with a manager or mentor. This allows some reinforcement of the learning in addition to serving as a knowledge check.


  • Speak directly to your media icons
  • Use personalized stories and examples that your learners will relate to.
  • Allow learners to connect with each other through social media or your LMS.


If you liked these tips and want some more, you can watch a replay of the full webinar on the Kineo website.

Also, earlier this week I got an email from Kineo that gave me $100 off registration for ASTD ICE!  Another great reason to follow this company and others like it.