Turning learning: A case study of flipped learning at an Australian university

Ronald Kordyban and Trishita Mathew
Bond University
Robina, Australia

As the digital education revolution accelerates, we must continue to look at ensuring our underlying principles, approaches and philosophies of how we teach. The alignment of these pedagogies with the ever-increasing new and exciting e-learning tools is of interest to academics, educational leaders, administrators and other diverse learning stakeholders.

Flipping the classroom is a growing educational phenomenon which is turning learning upside down and challenging traditional teaching models. The basic idea is to reallocate precious face-to-face time away from simple content delivery and towards more important activities which can make better use of the teacher-student connection.

When combined with a blended learning mode of delivery, the underlying pedagogical strengths of a flipped learning approach provide a number of advantages and improvements over traditional teaching, such as catering for learner diversity. However, there are also several challenges and obstacles which need to be addressed, such as ensuring that students do the pre-class work required in a flipped approach.

This paper outlines a case study of flipped learning and blended learning currently being held at Bond University, Australia. It utilized both the learners’ and teachers’ perspective toward changing the traditional model of the instructor as the content provider and the learners as the passive sponges soaking up the information.

The methodology follows a qualitative approach, where a thematic analysis of observations, comments (both from instructors and academics), focus group data and interviews were conducted using NVivo.

In general, the results indicated an overall positive experience, both from the instructors’ and students’ points of view. Addressing learning diversity and increasing one-on-one student-teacher interaction were found to be two of the main advantages of the flipped classroom. However, generalizability of the results is limited as this was a case study. Specific strategies and approaches for using this model are discussed both in terms of positives and negatives, such as: (i) how to begin flipping your class; (ii) the strengths and weaknesses of a flipped and blended approach; and (iii) advice from academics who have tried the model.