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Introduction to the Four Pillars of Flipped Learning

Introduction to the Four Pillars of Flipped Learning

Author: Trisha Fyfe

This lesson will introduce participants to the four pillars that characterize flipped learning.

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Video Transcription

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Welcome to tutorial on the Introduction to the Four Pillars of Flipped Learning. In today's tutorial we will discuss what are the four pillars that characterize flipped learning? Flipped learning essentially uses an acronym for the word flip, F-L-I-P, whereas each of those letters stands for one of the pillars of flipped learning. So the F stands for a Flexible learning environment, L for Learning culture shift, I for Intentional content, and P for Professional educators.

The pillar number one, the F, flexible learning environment, entails the teacher creating flexibility in the classroom in many different ways. First off, a flexible classroom is really important. The classroom setup needs to be flexible to accommodate different learning activities and different student learning styles. Different groupings need to be used in the classroom. One on one attention is so important and available in this model, as well as small group and large group instruction. We want to make sure that all of our students' needs are being met, and in order to do that, we need to offer many different flexible groupings in all of our activities.

Flexible expectations for our students is also really important for teachers. We don't necessarily have to be so rigid in the timelines for our students. When things are due, when we need to present a lecture. If students need to, they can watch the tutorials or the homework over and over again, maybe even during class time using a class computer if they need to review those, or we can review those with the whole group if needed. We can add in extra activities and really spend the class time making sure that we're developing those student-led learning opportunities, not those teacher-directed learning opportunities for our students.

Moving on to pillar number two, this is the L, or the learning culture shift. Here teachers need to realize that there's going to be a shift to that student-centered learning. We're not going back to that traditional model for every single lesson now. In our flipped learning lessons, the class time will be student-centered. The students will be able to take ownership of their learning in those really engaging and active projects and activities that we're creating for them.

Because students have been exposed to the content before this class time, they're able to sometimes bring in that outside learning and make those connections with other learnings during this class time. The foundation has already been set for their learning, and now they're building upon that. Students are actively involved in their knowledge and that development of knowledge, it's a very constructivist type of classroom. And this is really important to know as a teacher. It's often characterized by activity and noise, and sometimes what might seem as a chaotic environment. But it's a learning environment for our students, and it's one that we know that all of our students' needs are being met.

Moving on to pillar three or the I, this is the intentional content pillar, and this is categorized by class time that is maximized by really careful, intentional planning of tutorials to watch outside of class. So here the teacher needs to make sure that they are creating or finding tutorials and videos that match their student's developmental needs, that are age appropriate, and that match the content that they want their students to know. Sometimes this means designing your own tutorials or videos for your students to use.

The class time is used for meaningful learning opportunities, not that teacher-directed instruction where the teacher is directing what the students are learning. But the students are learning using the material that they have just went over independently for homework, and they are applying that material in different ways. A teacher's goal in the flipped learning classroom for class time should be active learning where students are able to master learning in many different ways, and also problem solve and use problem-based learning.

The last pillar of flipped learning, pillar number four, is the P, professional educators. And our job here is to, as teachers, be the facilitator of learning. Our job is not going to be to be the director of learning where we are standing in front of the classroom and directing what our students are learning and then guiding them by giving them activities to practice, but instead we are going to facilitate the learning, give them a job to do to pre-learn some material, and then facilitate that learning as they bring it back into the classroom in engaging, active learning activities.

Our job is also to be reflective, and this is something that's important to do throughout our teaching. But in the flipped learning model it's really important to make sure that we are effectively using this model of teaching. And so being reflective throughout the entire process is extremely important. Not only is this reflecting on our own practices and how it is working in this classroom, but also making sure that we are using formative assessment methods throughout the classroom activities. Our job is to be a successful collaborator, to use other professionals as a tool and a means to make sure that you are doing the best job you can in using the flipped learning model in your classroom.

Our job is also to be observant and intentional in our teaching and assessment strategies. This goes back to those formative assessment strategies where we're making sure that we're assessing our students throughout the entire process, both in giving them a little extra motivation for doing the homework by maybe attaching some kind of an assignment to that that they will turn in, and also throughout our engaging learning activities that we're doing during class time.

So let's review what we learned today. Today we talked about the four pillars that characterize flipped learning, the F, L, I, and P. And remember those are a flexible learning environment, a learning culture shift, intentional content, and the professional educator, all really important aspects to the flipped learning model. I enjoyed talking about these characteristics with you today, and I hope you're really able to apply this flipped learning model to your classroom.

So how can we apply these ideas? Let's reflect with these questions. Which of the four pillars of flipped learning can you relate to the most? Which of the four pillars will be the most challenging for you to apply to your teaching? Now it's your turn to apply what you've learned in this video. The additional resources section will be super helpful. This section is designed to help you discover useful ways to apply what you've learned here. Each link includes a brief description so you can easily target the resources that you want.

Notes on "Introduction to the Four Pillars of Flipped Learning"


(00:00- 00:11) Introduction/objectives

(00:12 - 00:35) What are the four pillars of Flipped Learning?  

(00:36- 01:56) Pillar #1: Flexible Environment

(01:57- 03:06) Pillar #2: Learning Culture

(03:07- 04:13) Pillar #3: Intentional Content

(04:14- 05:56) Pillar #4: Professional Educator

(05:57- 07:02) Review/Reflection

Additional Resources

A Review of Flipped Learning and the Four Pillars of Flipped Classroom

This report by David Nagel supports teachers and administrators with flipped classroom. In addition, the report includes definitions and examples of flipped learning in instruction.

The Four Pillars of Flipped Learning

This blog post by Timothy Huneycutt examines the four pillars from the perspective of a math class. In addition, this post offers math teachers practical advice on flipped learning.