The Hidden, Quiet, Unexpected Ways Flipped Learning Changed While You Weren’t Looking

Editors Features April / April 2, 2018

– by Errol St.Clair Smith – 


For the last two years, it’s been my role here at FLGI to follow, study, and analyze Flipped Learning trends. Not through the lens of “pedagogy” but as an educational movement. Not from the classroom level or school level but from the 30,000-foot level.

At 30,000 feet, there is a clear, easily definable, broadly confirmable, and easily recognizable distinction between how Flipped Learning was defined and practiced 10 years ago (1.0) and how it is defined and practiced today by those on the very leading edge (3.0).

The initial iteration (1.0) was all about the videos and continues to be the dominant characterization of Flipped Learning in the “mass” media. Scholarly studies were much more granular, nuanced, and progressive but still largely at the 1.0 level.

By contrast, Flipped Learning 3.0 is characterized by the five-points framework.

#1 Flipped Learning Is Not Static

#2 Flipped Learning is Evolving Because of Three Factors (research, classroom innovation, new technology)

#3  Flipped Learning Has Emerged As a Global Movement

#4  There Is a Rapidly Expanding Set of New Possibilities

#5 The New Awareness that Flipped Learning is a Meta-Strategy that Supports All Teaching Strategies

So those are the two bookends.

Where 1.0 and 3.0 are easy to define, observe, and confirm, what went on between these two eras is much murkier.  Indeed, Flipped Learning 2.0 is largely defined by lack of clarity.

The middle era was like the wild, wild west, with no agreement on such fundamental things as:

Does Flipped Learning Work?

What’s the best way to use Flipped Learning?

Is Flipped Learning teaching or the abdication of teaching?

These are just a few of the issues that flipped practitioners were wrestling with in the middle years.  If you do a deep dive into the literature you’ll find a cacophony of contradictory data, opinions, and positions about Flipped Learning. Frankly, it was just a mess!

One fact that emerges once you step back and look at the “movement” versus the “pedagogy” is that Flipped Learning in the middle ages was characterized by isolation. Most Flipped Learning practitioners were/are practicing in silos. It’s reasonable to call these years the “dark ages,” because even though there was a lot of experimenting going on with Flipped Learning, the evidence suggests that much of it remained bottled up in silos of classrooms, schools, and countries.

So, I think it’s accurate to say that the defining qualities of flipped 2.0 were:

The absence of clarity

The search for validation


Compare that to the level of global collaboration that is occurring right now with the international faculty and around the Global Standards Project. Most importantly, compare the quality and tone of the collaboration. This is clearly a different era in the career of most flipped practitioners.

These are a few examples of what makes Flipped Learning 3.0 practitioners easy to define, confirm, and recognize — Like markers of the stone age, the bronze age, and the iron age define the evolution of man, Terra Graves’ infographic below clearly defines the evolution from Flipped Learning 1.0 to 3.0.


The Three Ages
by Terra Graves

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Editorial Leam
Editorial Team
This article was written by a collaboration of editors and columnists on the FLR editorial team or guest contributors.

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1 Comment

on April 17, 2018

Terra, thanks for the info graphic. This clearly explains the evolution of Flipped Learning.

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