Medical Science Educator

, Volume 25, Issue 1, pp 35–43 | Cite as

The Flipped Classroom Improved Medical Student Performance and Satisfaction in a Pre-clinical Physiology Course

  • Sarah E. StreetEmail author
  • Kurt O. Gilliland
  • Cheryl McNeil
  • Kenneth Royal
Original Research


Recently, several articles have suggested that the flipped classroom could be an ideal model for pre-clinical medical education. The flipped classroom approach enables instructor-led time to be dedicated to integration and critical thinking exercises, while students learn foundational material outside of class via online videos or reading assignments. However, few studies have been published on the efficacy of this model for pre-clinical medial students. In this paper, we describe the implementation of a fully flipped classroom in a systems physiology course at The University of North Carolina School of Medicine. The organization of this flipped classroom aimed to keep contact hours and home-study hours equal to the hours previously used in the lecture-based course. With the implementation of the flipped classroom, both student performance on examination and student satisfaction with the course improved slightly compared to those of previous years where the curriculum was primarily delivered by lectures. This paper describes an example of a fully flipped course that demonstrated gains in performance and student course evaluations of a medical school pre-clinical course, and suggests that the flipped classroom could be a useful and successful educational approach in medical curricula.


Medical education Flipped classroom Blended learning Basic science 



The authors would like to thank the UNC School of Medicine class of 2017 for their willingness to participate in surveys about the flipped classroom and their open-minded approach to this new method. We would also like to thank the faculty members from the Department of Cell Biology and Physiology who were part of the flipped classroom portion of the course (Christopher Dekanney, Carol Otey, Scott Randell, and Robert Sealock). We would also like to thank Dale Krams for help designing the flipped classroom survey.


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Copyright information

© International Association of Medical Science Educators 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sarah E. Street
    • 1
    Email author
  • Kurt O. Gilliland
    • 1
  • Cheryl McNeil
    • 2
  • Kenneth Royal
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Cell Biology and PhysiologyUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA
  2. 2.Department of NeurologyUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA
  3. 3.Department of Clinical SciencesNorth Carolina State UniversityChapel HillUSA

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