Flipped Professional Development

The flipped classroom has been a hot topic in education for the past five years. More recently, the idea of flipping professional development has been experimented with at schools and in corporate training. The idea is to rethink what we want to spend our time with in face to face (F2F) sessions and how we can change the training that occurs before and after those sessions to be more  self-directed.

Face-to-face training time, especially with technology integration, is used most efficiently when the lower level portions are done online and offline outside those encounters.

It was only this year that the Flipped Learning Network adopted and released a formal definition for flipped learning, and their Four Pillars of F-L-I-P™ and a checklist of eleven indicators that educators must incorporate into their practice. (see the definition, pillars and indicators) They also draw a distinction between flipped learning and a flipped classroom.

“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.”

Prior to this, there was no consensus definition for flipped learning, flipped classrooms, flipped anything. This definition still allows for a great deal of instructor-specific style, design and delivery.

I will be doing a presentation on flipped professional development at the at the NJEDge.Net Annual Conference on November 20, 2014. This approach to professional development is a way to maximize instructor and learner's time for professional learning.

It is certainly a result of our increased use of technology and the growth in education and business of online learning and the hybrid or blended learning model. That model combines personalized and on-demand digital resources with face-to-face teaching, coaching, practice and support. This is especially true for technology integration.

I would say that the growth of the Professional Learning Network or Environment (PLN or PLE - both terms are still being used) is also a factor in the flipped approach. I see more articles about flipped professional development for teachers, especially in K-12.

Some of the points that are stressed in this type of learning are:

Documentation - maintaining consistency and accountability through record keeping

Ongoing – creating time for teachers on a regular schedule

Coached – providing teachers access to an instructional technology coach

Personalized Content - providing relevant digital resources to support learning

Collaborative – personalizing learning by creating small collaborative groups

Yes, I still see examples of the recorded "lecture" that students watch based the slide or screen capture with voiceover. That is something we have been trying to decrease the use of in regular online classes with limited success.

I do see success with having any lecture much shorter than in-class sessions (10-25 minutes) and focusing on a single concept, or a small number of concepts.

In flipped settings, some of the content delivery occurs before the F2F session and some of the followup may occur on/offline too.

Many of the issues of online learning still exist in flipped learning. Besides issues like knowing the true identity of the online student and monitoring progress online, the biggest question people always have about this approach is "What if they don't do the work they are supposed to do before the F2F sessions?" 

That problem goes back a few hundred years in education. We have always called it "homework" and teachers and trainers still need to deal with monitoring and assessing prior learning and making judgments about the competency, readiness and mastery of a learner.

I'll be looking at some ways that corporations and schools are dealing with those issues in my presentation and I will follow up here with additional information.



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