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Flip your learning and achieve greater impact

In this blog post we’re going to give you a brief overview of flipped learning, showing you how it might be an effective approach to use as enablers of change!

Flipped learning, or the flipped classroom as it’s known in education circles, has only been around for a few years, but is getting a lot of traction. In fact the University of Adelaide has announced it is phasing out traditional lectures and using this approach instead.  

The traditional way of learning is that a teacher, or content matter specialist, verbally delivers a lot of information to a group of learners who don’t know much about the topic. The learners then go home and apply their new knowledge to a range of problems, often as part of their homework. However, this is often when the learner realises they didn’t quite understand something, so they just scratch their head or maybe make a guess about the correct answer. When they return to class the next day, often the teacher has moved on to the next item in the syllabus, and so the student gets left behind. That’s the downside to the traditional approach, plus the teacher gets to repeat the same information to the next class, so it’s a bit like Groundhog day for them.

With the flipped learning approach, the learning occurs at home first. The students read the theory and perhaps watch some short educational videos or listen to a podcast about the topic. They can go over the material as many times as they need to, until they’re comfortable with it. In class the following day, they apply the theory to a range of practical problems. The teacher is there and able to quickly respond to any queries.

What’s the difference between the flipped classroom and flipped learning?

Well, the concept was originally developed for school students, so it was natural to call it the flipped classroom. When John started talking about this approach a few years ago and suggested it be used with farmer workshops, he preferred to call it flipped learning to get away from the school setting. And now this seems to be a common way of describing it, for if you Google “flipped learning” you’ll get about 40 million hits, whereas “flipped classroom” only gets about 25 million hits. 

We are suggesting that this approach could be used by enablers of change. Here’s a few thoughts on how you could use it. 

For example, often two or three day workshops are run for landholders where a lot of difficult to understand information is introduced (this might be about nutrition, genetics or perhaps biosecurity). Often the folk taking part in these workshops are more comfortable working outside in a wide open landscape or perhaps driving a tractor. Putting them into a claustrophobic training room, sitting behind desks, often just brings back bad memories about their school days. 

So flipped learning gives us a chance to introduce them to the workshop content when they’re in their comfortable surroundings back on their farm. We might create some short videos covering bite-sized chunks of information. Those videos don’t have to be cinematic productions either, you could just use your smartphone to record them. Of course you could write some short articles about the content too and perhaps some case studies. Or you could just record yourself taking and do it a bit like a podcast. Whichever way you do it, it’s just to help the farmer come up to speed with the new information. 

The beauty of this approach is that you just have to create it once, and they can rewatch it, or read it again, multiple times. To us that’s working smart for us, and beneficial for the farmer too. 

So you’ve heard our thoughts, now we’d like to hear yours! Add a comment below this post and tell us your thoughts about flipped learning, including any tips and further ideas about it. We don’t want this to be just a one-way conversation – join in by sharing your thoughts and ideas with us! 

Thanks for reading this Enablers of change blog post!



What is flipped learning?

University of Adelaide phasing out lectures

University of Adelaide resources

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Jane Wightman
Jane Wightman
4 years ago

Well done John and Denise for starting Enablers of Change – a great initiative. How much success have you had in getting farmers to review information prior to the workshop. Perhaps you can run us through an example of where flipped learning has worked well for you in ag/hort in a future Enablers of Change video clip.

Graham HArris
Graham HArris
4 years ago

I wonder if the flip learning approach might increase attendance at future events? There might also be a risk of reducing attendance as well. Also, this approach might have the benefit of reaching those individuals not comfortable in group settings or events. Certainly food for thought.
And I agree, best to start (and try and end meetings on time) – no point in rewarding the tardy.

Jeanette Gellard
4 years ago

Great initiative Denise and John! I’m looking forward to dipping into your resources and topping up my knowledge.
I really support the concept of ‘flipped learning’, it aligns really well with the ‘topping up not tipping in’ approach to facilitated learning that I use. ‘Topping up’ complements what the audience already knows (or has learned/discovered through the flipped learning approach).

David Bicknell
David Bicknell
1 year ago

Another brain tickler – it was a good way to start this morning.
If this gets adopted by the new (age or role) behaviour change people, it will be great! I guess that some of us older ‘extension’ people see this as ‘a new name, same old game’. We used to base a lot of our learning environments on adult learning principles: recognition of experience and knowledge, problem or opportunity based, and different speeds and ways of learning. So self-directed learning with us as support people makes sense.

David Bicknell
David Bicknell
1 year ago
Reply to  John James

I am thinking of making the Ecclesiastes line a motto at work ‘What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.’

David Jago
1 year ago

Thanks for this folks! Great idea to revisit the topic and see what has changed in the meantime. For myself, my colleagues and I have just recently managed to introduce the idea to our work in China. This has been in conjunction with a hybrid (meaning zoom) mode. I fully support your comment to Jane about the temptation to bring those who haven’t done the pre-work up to speed. We partially got around this by some ‘sneaky’ small group work. Under the guise of collecting “curiosities”, we had those who had done the reading update those who had not. We… Read more »

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