What Is Flipped Learning? A Clear Explanation For Tutors


  1. What is Flipped Learning?
  2. Where did Flipped Learning come from?
  3. The four pillars of Flipped Learning
  4. What are the benefits of Flipped Learning?
  5. What are the drawbacks of Flipped Learning?
  6. Flipped Learning and digital learning
  7. How can you help your students with Flipped Learning?

A relatively new and alternative approach to education and how to structure the school day, Flipped Learning – originating in America – has become increasingly popular in the UK in recent years. 

According to a 2014 Flipped Learning Network (FLN) survey, 78 percent of teachers said they had flipped a lesson, and 96 percent of those who tried it said they would recommend it to other educators.

But what is Flipped Learning? How is it implemented? And what impact could it have on your students’ experience in the classroom? Read on for the answers and a look at the pros and cons of flipped classrooms and Flipped Learning. 📚girl doing homework

What is Flipped Learning?


According to the Flipped Learning Network (FLN), “Flipped Learning is a pedagogical approach in which direct instruction moves from the group learning space to the individual learning space, and the resulting group space is transformed into a dynamic, interactive learning environment where the educator guides students as they apply concepts and engage creatively in the subject matter.” 💯

So, simply put, Flipped Learning ‘flips’ the traditional idea of learning on its head. In Flipped Learning, students learn subject material at home before applying what they’ve learned in the classroom through practical activities. 


Where did Flipped Learning come from?


So, what's the origin of Flipped Classrooms? Two American high school science teachers, Jon Bergmann and Aaron Sams, pioneered Flipped Learning. In the late 2000s, the pair began pre-recording their classroom lectures and giving them to students in advance so they would come to class prepared to apply the ideas. 🇺🇸

What started as a humble new approach to teaching quickly grew, eventually leading to the Flipped Learning Network, a community for educators to share resources and experiences related to Flipped Learning. 


The four pillars of Flipped Learning


According to Flipped Learning Network and other notable sources, a flipped classroom has four pillars. Let’s take a closer look at each of these four pillars of F-L-I-P.

Flexible Environment

Flipped Learning allows for various learning modes educators often physically rearrange their learning spaces to accommodate a lesson or unit, to support group work or independent study. They create flexible spaces in which students choose when and where they learn. 👌

Learning Culture

In the traditional teacher-centred model, the teacher is the primary source of information. By contrast, the Flipped Learning model deliberately shifts instruction to a learner-centred approach, where in-class time is dedicated to exploring topics in greater depth and creating rich learning opportunities. 🧠

Intentional Content

Flipped Learning Educators continually think about how they can use the Flipped Learning model to help students develop critical thinking skills, conceptual understanding, as well as procedural fluency. Educators use Intentional Content to maximise classroom time and adopt student-centred, active learning strategies. ✍️

Professional Educator

The role of a teacher is even more important and often more demanding in a Flipped Classroom. Professional educators must continually observe their students, providing them with relevant feedback and assessing their work. They are reflective in their practice, connect to improve their instruction, accept constructive criticism and tolerate controlled chaos in their classrooms. 🧑‍🎓

What are the benefits of Flipped Learning?


Personalised attention

Advocates for Flipped Learning stress that it allows students to have more personalised attention and teacher feedback in the classroom. Students do their ‘homework’ in the classroom, meaning their teachers are there to give real-time support and feedback. 🧑‍🏫

Have you ever watched your students become frustrated over a homework assignment because they don’t understand the material? With Flipped Learning, this problem is alleviated, making things less stressful for parents.

Active learning

The Flipped Learning model encourages students to be more inquisitive. Instead of passively listening to a lesson, being in a flipped class means students actively participate in their learning. Learning actively like this also makes it more likely that students will retain the information you are teaching them. 👂

Encourages collaboration

Flipped Learning allows students to learn from one another. By working on projects and assignments in the classroom with their peers, students can collaborate in a way not usually available when doing homework. 🤝

Supports independence

Conversely, Flipped Learning also positively encourages independent learning. Students are given materials to study at home, so they can adopt a learning method that works best for them, rather than having to follow whatever you do in the classroom. 🙋

Flexibility in the classroom

Whether your students retain information better by learning it visually, auditorily, or simply reading a textbook, Flipped Learning allows them to take control of their learning. Similarly, gifted students don’t have to sit idly in class while their peers catch up, and students who are struggling can dedicate the time they need to understand the material better. ✌️

Flexibility outside the classroom

The last great benefit to Flipped Learning is that students absent from school are less likely to fall behind as lessons are designed to be studied at home anyway. For students with learning disabilities or illnesses that may frequently take them out of the classroom, Flipped Learning helps them stay more on track with the rest of their classmates. 👍


What are the drawbacks of Flipped Learning?


Flipped Learning’s countless benefits have made it a popular choice among teachers seeking a new method of helping their students. However, it isn’t a flawless approach, and some drawbacks must be considered.

Personal accountability

Flipped Learning forces students to take great accountability for their learning. Learning responsibility is great, but as any teacher knows, getting a child to prioritise schoolwork can be challenging! Older students may feel they can ‘skip the reading’ and still be prepared for classwork, only to discover that their slacking off leads to lower marks in the classroom. 👎

Relying on classmates

Even if your students study as expected of them, if their classmates aren’t quite as dedicated, they’ll still lose out on the benefits of a robust class discussion. Additionally, for younger students who don’t have time management skills, Flipped Learning can put significant pressure on parents and caregivers to ensure their child works hard and understands the material. 🤷 

Potentially exclusionary

Flipped Learning online can also be detrimental for children from less-privileged homes, deepening the digital divide. Learning at home usually requires internet access and a computer, some things that many families lack. Even for homes with adequate WiFi, many families don’t have the financial resources to ensure each child has their own personal computer, tablet, or smartphone with which to engage in learning. 

Accessibility issues only worsen for neurodivergent children as many in-school accommodations aren’t always available at home, making learning harder for students facing these unique barriers to learning. For families with circumstances that require parents and guardians to work rather than stay at home and help children with school work, Flipped Learning can be a real struggle. 🤔


Flipped Learning and digital learning 


As any educator knows, the COVID-19 pandemic drastically changed students' learning. With the lines between schoolwork and homework blurred, many aspects of Flipped Learning became commonplace. 

When schools were mandating e-learning during the pandemic, you may have already turned lessons into presentations and videos for students to review at home, just as in Flipped Learning. This kind of digital learning was beneficial to some students – including those with parents at home to guide them through their studies and students who work well with limited supervision and flexible boundaries – however, many students struggled greatly. 

Digital learning, as seen during the COVID-19 pandemic, drastically increases the amount of screen time for students. With Flipped Learning’s online element, students will spend increased time in front of the computer again. This can be detrimental to their vision and sleep and cause problems with focus and mental energy levels. 😟

However, screen time is inevitable today, and as your students mature and enter the workforce, they will likely continue to spend many of their waking hours in front of a computer. Rather than trying to erase the progress of technology, there are ways you can mitigate the effects of screen time. 🧑‍💻

Suggest that they adjust the settings on their computer to lower the amount of blue light in the display, or invest in blue light glasses for your students. Ask their parents to be diligent with limiting non-school-related screen time and encouraging leisure activities away from the screen like creative play or sports. 

Digital learning is a great benefit of modern technologies and allows Flipped Learning to be such a worthwhile option. 💻 


How can you help your students with Flipped Learning?


If your students are accustomed to one way of learning, any change is bound to involve growing pains. Moving from a traditional classroom structure to Flipped Learning can be difficult, but there are ways to make it easier for your students.

As the Flipped Learning model requires students to take responsibility for learning material, you can help by teaching them about time management techniques. Create a routine where your students do their studying at the same time every day – preferably in a place designated for studying. This structure can help students feel more motivated and ensure that they dedicate adequate time to their learning. 📓

If your students get fidgety quickly, encourage them to play with a simple toy while watching a pre-recorded lesson, or use wireless earphones and walk around the house while they listen to your material. 

If your student is a visual learner, give them special paper or coloured pens for notetaking. Work with them to help them find a way of studying that is enjoyable and helps them learn most efficiently. ✏️

Additionally, don’t hesitate to contact your students' parents if you worry they are struggling with Flipped Learning. Their caregivers will undoubtedly recognise that this different kind of learning may pose challenges for their kids and are likely more than willing to help in any way they can. 🚸

More than anything, be patient with your students as they get accustomed to a new learning style. Flipped Learning has its benefits and drawbacks, but this unconventional learning method might suit your students’ learning styles.

Now that you’ve swotted up on Flipped Learning, have you considered becoming a GoStudent tutor? Some of the many benefits include working remotely, managing your schedule, and receiving personal support from our in-house tutoring team. Moreover, we connect you with the students, so you don’t need to advertise. Sound good?! Register with us today. 🧑‍🏫