Performance and perception in the flipped classroom
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- Blair, E., Maharaj, C. & Primus, S. Educ Inf Technol (2016) 21: 1465. doi:10.1007/s10639-015-9393-5
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Changes in the conceptualisation of higher education have led to instructional methods that embrace technology as a teaching medium. These changes have led to the flipped classroom phenomenon - where content is delivered outside class, through media such as video and podcast, and engagement with the content, through problem-solving and/or group work, occurs in class. Studies investigating the impact of the flipped classroom have mainly looked at the student experience with little focus on whether exam outcomes are enhanced by flipping. An undergraduate Material Technology course at The University of the West Indies was taught in two formats over two successive years. The course was taught during the 2012/13 academic year in a ‘traditional’ format but, after reflecting on student feedback and personal pedagogy, the lecturer restructured the class and taught it in a flipped format during the 2013/14 academic year. This research examines whether the flipped format improved the learning experience in relation to exam performance and student perception. Data was gathered through analysis of course grades and student evaluation questionnaires. The lecturer’s reflective comments were also reviewed before and after the study. Analysis of the qualitative data shows that the flipped format led to a slight improvement in how students perceived the course and the lecturer’s reflection shows that they are keen to continue with the flipped format as it allowed more time for them to work with students at an individual level. While no significant change in relation to average cohort exam performance was found, fewer students in the flipped classroom achieved marks at the highest level. It is therefore recommended that practitioners who intend to flip their classroom pay as much attention to student performance as they do to student perception.