No, I’m not asking whether you have finally lost it, but whether you are participating in perhaps the most revolutionary innovation in education over the last 50 years. “Flipping the Classroom” is a concept which arose from the incredible success of the Khan Academy. Essentially, the concept is based on the fact that teachers are no longer the fountain of knowledge ( in fact recent surveys have shown that learners are much more likely to Google for information than to ask their teachers or their families). If that is the case, then the traditional role of a teacher to impart knowledge, becomes outdated and inefficient. Again, traditionally, students have been expected to embed and apply their learning by doing “homework”. But what happens if they get stuck and need additional support? With another recent survey showing that 9 out of 10 parents were unable to successfully complete a short primary school maths test, that support is unlikely to come from the home.
So in “The Flipped Classroom” model, knowledge is delivered at home (via online eLearning, Khan Academy videos etc) and the classroom is used to provide additional support. The role of the teacher therefore changes from instructor to coach and mentor.
It all sounds great in theory, but does it work in practice? Well, in our experience the answer is an emphatic yes. Whilst The Flipped Classroom as a concept may only have hit the headlines in the last 12 months, at Creative Learning Partners, we have been pursuing an identical approach for the last 8 years, and doing so with great success. We specialise in delivering maths and English qualifications, previously as part of a Skills for Life Programme and more recently as Functional Skills. We use eLearning material to “teach” the underpinning knowledge and a nationwide network of Learning Support Partners who provide additional support and mentoring, either face-to-face or online. All the interactions are recorded on an e-Portfolio so that we can monitor and track individual learner progress.
The results have been spectacular – pass rates over 90% and completion times significantly above the average. Moreover, learners love the process. They can gain their knowledge in their own time and when they want to rather than having to attend a weekly class at the local college, and they know that support and advice is constantly available to them.
Improving the levels of literacy and numeracy in the UK has understandably become a very high priority for the government and we believe that our delivery solution is an important part of that process. Many of the learners with whom we work have had a negative experience of learning in their schools. But they find our approach, and particularly the use of interactive technology, more relevant and stimulating. We want to bring the fun back into learning and in doing so make it a fundamental part of people’s lives.
So we’ve flipped and we hope you will join us.
Roger Francis is a Director with Creative Learning Partners Ltd, a new vocational training company formed by the senior managers and staff of MindLeaders Learning Services following the acquisition of the company by Skillsoft in 2012.