Do you use Flipped Learning

Some love using Flipped Learning

I have only recently heard the term Flipped Learning, having no idea what it is, I fund some information and was pleasantly surprised to find it is something we have been doing for years. Maybe this is down to my subject area Business or maybe it’s to do with the institutions I worked in and their flexible approach to curriculum delivery.

So what is Flipped learning?

well according to the Flipped Learning Network:

Flipped Learning is a pedagogical approach in which direct instruction moves from the group learning space to the individual learning space, and the resulting group space is transformed into a dynamic, interactive learning environment where the educator guides students as they apply concepts and engage creatively in the subject matter.

Many of the examples of this type of learning seem to involve internet based technology, making YouTube videos and that sort of thing. But I think it’s also important to remember that this type of approach can be used without the internet. I remember asking learners to read the business section of the news paper, find topics they wanted to share, research the area, then bring their findings into class and present to us. I would also set similar tasks with groups, sometimes putting them into groups and other times allowing them to form their own groups, some times they would be given the same topic, for example PESTLE (Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal, Environmental) analysis, other times the they would be given parts of the topic for example each group would be given the task of preparing learning content on one of the PESTLE headings.

How did I learn this approach to teaching?

It’s a mixture of the way I was taught at college, what I read in further education teaching books and what I loved about learning at university, the focus on independent learning and self guided discovery.

Is this an example of flipped learning? I have no idea but it is an approach I will continue to use because it supports differentiation and it’s less boring than some of the alternatives, I think business is a great subject but some think it’s rather boring so anything that makes it fun or less boring is great.





Suffering from poor interface design

Suffering from poor interface design

It’s recently become more of a challenge for me to learn new systems.  I sometimes wonder why some computer systems are harder to use than others, at first I thought it was just me and my slow uptake of new information but on reflection and observation of my learners, I now feel it has a lot to do with the system or rather the interface.

I’ve observed some other strange behaviour, some people find it easy to use Gmail, Yahoo etc on their phone but more complicated to use the same tools on a PC. I’m not talking about technophobes that would rather write a letter with a quill and an ink well than send an email or social media post. I’m talking about people that are addicted to consuming the internet on their phone and are fully immersed in mobile technology, taking away their phone is almost like taking away a physical part of their body.

So why do these people find it easy to use apps on their phone and harder to use the same applications on their computer? The answer is the same reason that I find it hard to learn some systems at work, it’s all to do with user interface design and the overall user experience.

If a developer is asked to build a system that produces management information, they make focus on the main objective of producing management information. They may think of what types of reports and charts can be produced from the raw data, the possible uses that end users may have for this information. They may end up working so long on the back end that they leave little time for the user interface, some developers may even think that a user interface is of little importance, it’s the information that matters most.

I don’t blame them for this view, I think that user experience is now so important and specialised that it should not be left to developers that are not skilled in this area it should not be an afterthought but an integral part of developing a new system. To be clear I am not just talking about developing computer systems and applications, I also talking about developing eLearning, I have had the same challenges with eLearning or LMS interfaces that are very hard to use because someone hasn’t given much thought to how users (teachers, trainers, students) will interact with the system.  I have found this both with Moodle at university and commercial LMS setups. That said, I have also experienced good Moodle setups, how do I know it was good? Simple, I didn’t have to spend the best years of my adult life looking for stuff that should have just been a couple of clicks away.

I think people find it easy to use mobile apps because often more attention is given to their layout and the overall user experience, screen space is at a premium on a mobile phone so you have to be careful with your layout.

I also think touch screens aid memory retention, do I have any evidence for this? No. it’s all down to reflection on personal experience, you may or may not agree with me.

Let me know what you think


David M

Are you designing with Flow in mind

In my opinion the concept of flow is very powerful and can reap great rewards for both learning practitioner and learner.

So what is flow ? According to Csikszentmihalyi, 1990 flow is:

An activity that may lead to an optimal experience must be done for the satisfaction of the activity itself; the person must be motivated intrinsically to do the activity, or autotelic, literally meaning self-goal (Csikszentmihalyi 1990). In addition to being autotelic, the activity must challenge and require skill, merge action and awareness, provide feedback, and require full concentration on the task at hand. The person experiencing flow will have clear goals, exercise control, lose their self consciousness, and experience a distortion of time (Csikszentmihalyi 1990, Cited in Finneran & Zhang, 2002).

I first found this concept while reading for an MA in marketing management, at the time my focus was on digital marketing I am now looking at the application of this idea in learning, particularly in computer mediated environments.

There are often times I’ve experienced this flow, as a learner and a teacher but the question is how do I recreate it and generate it for others at will in a consistent way.

From now on my goal is to create this flow in my learning but there are many challenges, time, resources, organisational culture are some of the issues.

Are you designing with flow in mind, what results are you experiencing?

Snowflake Effect and Learning

In this short article Duval outlines the Snowflake Effect and proposes how it may be used in learning, here is an excerpt.

This effect will be realized through a hybrid approach with push and pull techniques, in which information is actively requested or searched by the user, but also more and more subtly integrated in his work and learning environment. In this way, a learning environment can be created that is geared to the individual needs of the teacher or student.  (Duval, 2008)

However he points out some of the downsides of this approach.

There are obvious questions about privacy and unauthorized use of personal data. But it is highly preferable to actually have that discussion and make possible the use of such data, rather than to continue the current situation where google is probably better informed of what a student does, knows and can than the educational institution that grants the student a diploma! (Duval, 2008) 


Snowflaked learning and it’s application


This is an amazing little article from Duval, it’s got me thinking about practical applications, on further reflection it seems I have been using aspects of this approach for some years in my face to face teaching practice but not online.

In the same way that all snowflakes in a snowstorm are unique, each user has her specific characteristics, restrictions and interests. That is why we speak of a “snowflake effect”, to indicate that, more and more, the aforementioned facilities will be relied upon to realize far-reaching forms of personalization and “mass customization”. This effect will be realized through a hybrid approach with push and pull techniques, in which information is actively requested or searched by the user, but also more and more subtly integrated in his work and learning environment. In this way, a learning environment can be created that is geared to the individual needs of the teacher or student. (Duval, 2008)

The question is how can I apply this online? not just apply it but in a way that reaps real rewards for my learners.  What will it cost in terms of resources, time, money, emotional and physical expenditure?

No idea, I will have to think about it some more, test out some ideas and see if it works or not.


Easy Podcast Text Content Sharing

This website is a great clean example of how to share audio and text information, the site looks clean so it’s easy for users to navigate. Just think how simple this is to use if you are a clinical person that spends very little time on computers, there is an easy podcast player and the menus are simple to navigate.

MD Tea is a free open access series of podcasts for all healthcare professionals working with older adults. We will present the evidence base, recent advances and established best practice / wisdom in healthcare for older adults. Each episode will review an aspect of caring for older adults from the perspective of our MDT faculty.


Example of sharing audio txt content