Learning & Development

The Flipped Classroom: A New Training Strategy

By Donna Lord
What exactly are flipped classrooms, and how can a flipped classroom training strategy increase training effectiveness within your organization? As Donna Lord, vice president of marketing and product development for ePath Learning Inc., explains in today’s Advisor, the concept of the flipped classroom originated in the education sector.

Nine years ago, two educators, Jon Bergmann and Aaron Sams, decided to take an innovative approach to learning that was more individualized to their students. It was their belief that lectures and instruction were ineffective for teaching groups of students but were very effective for teaching individual students.
Therefore, Bergmann and Sams decided to record their lectures and host them online for their students to watch and subsequently spent their classroom time helping students with the concepts they had difficulty with and with hands-on activities. What Bergmann and Sams observed was that their students demonstrated a deeper understanding of their course materials than ever before!

The Corporate Training Environment

The concept of flipped classrooms has also been catching on in corporate training environments. In corporate training, the flipped classroom model is a form of blended learning that combines interactive, instructor-led training with online learning activities.
Typically, with a flipped classroom strategy, your learners watch training videos or participate in other forms of online learning before participating in a classroom-type setting. The beauty of the flipped classroom as a training strategy is that it allows for instructors to actively engage with learners so that they can learn more effectively. The flipped classroom does not rely on live lectures but instead on discussions, group work, collaboration, simulations, or any other type of true interactive training scenario.

The Benefits of a Flipped Classroom Strategy

The following examples provide some insight as to how an organization may benefit from incorporating a flipped classroom strategy.
Improving learner outcomes. Imagine that you’ve posted an instructional video or online course that includes a quiz or test questions for your learners to complete before attending your classroom session. In advance of your classroom session, you’re able to review your group’s test scores to identify where your learners had challenges with the course materials. Knowing this information in advance, you can then target your classroom discussions on the identified skills gap.
Your learners receive targeted and personalized attention and are far more engaged while you effectively address any knowledge deficits. Furthermore, over time, you may have the opportunity to identify trends whereby your online instructional materials could be revised or updated to better meet the needs of your learners.
Increased experiential learning opportunities. When lecture-type presentations are removed from live training sessions, there’s far more opportunity to create experiential learning activities whereby your learners can engage in hands-on training, such as role-playing, demonstrations, and simulations.
Experiential learning is powerful when you’re looking to reinforce training content through a more contextual approach. For example, perhaps your organization is onboarding several new sales representatives. Your new hires can take their online instruction to learn about your products and how to sell them in advance of their training class. During their live training session, your new hires can practice one-on-one role-playing with your sales manager.
This approach offers your new hires an engaging and effective hands-on experience while being coached by a subject matter expert. This personalized guidance greatly increases your new hires’ chances of selling success.

Evolving with Technology

As businesses and learning technologies continue to evolve, we must look to advance the ways in which we train our corporate learners. With increasing numbers of Millennials and Generation Z in the workforce, corporate trainers need to deliver training materials and instruct in ways that these modern day learners are receptive to. A flipped classroom strategy is just one of many great approaches to corporate training that your organization can consider.