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What’s Different?

A flipped class inverts the typical cycle of content acquisition and application so that students gain necessary knowledge before class and instructors guide students to actively and interactively clarify and apply that knowledge during class. As the best classes have always done, this approach supports instructors playing their most important role of guiding their students to deeper thinking and higher levels of application. A flipped class keeps student learning at the center of teaching.

The infographic below illustrates a typical sequence of learning opportunities in a flipped class. In this sequence, students prepare before class to participate in class activities, practice during class by applying key concepts with feedback, and after class check their understanding and extend their learning.

Model of the flipped classroom

In what other ways do teaching and learning differ in a flipped classroom? Here are some possibilities.

Before Class

Before the Flip: Students are assigned something to read. Instructor prepares a lecture.

After the Flip: Students are guided through a learning module (possibly online) that asks and collects questions. Instructor prepares learning opportunities.

Beginning of Class

Before the Flip: Students have limited knowledge of what to expect. Instructor makes general assumptions about what will be helpful.

After the Flip: Students have specific questions in mind to guide their learning. Instructor can anticipate where students most need assistance.

During Class

Before the Flip: Students try to follow along. Instructor tries to cover all of the material.

After the Flip: Students practice performing the skills they are expected to learn. Instructor guides the process with feedback and mini-lectures.

After Class

Before the Flip: Students attempt the homework, usually with delayed feedback. Instructor grades previous work.

After the Flip: Students continue applying their knowledge and skills, after receiving clarification and feedback. Instructor provides additional explanations and resources, as necessary.

During Office Hours

Before the Flip: Students seek confirmation about what they should study. Instructor often repeats what was covered in the lecture.

After the Flip: Students are better equipped to seek help in areas where they most need help. Instructor continues guiding students toward deeper understanding.

“What Is Different about a Flipped Classroom?” by the Faculty Innovation Center at the University of Texas Austin is licensed under Creative Commons A-NC-ND 4.0.