Cover Story: 11+ Years of Blind Flipped Learning Coming to an End

Cover Story September / Special / September 18, 2018

-Errol St.Clair Smith-

Despite over a decade of experience and research, in many ways, we’re all still studying, practicing, and teaching Flipped Learning in the dark. We’re like the metaphor of the blind men and the elephant. We’ve each been touching a piece of Flipped Learning and acting as if we’ve seen the whole. To many, Flipped Learning is still all about the videos. To others, it’s synonymous with blended learning. To some, it’s just one of many equally valuable instructional models. While to another group, it’s something separate from all current approaches to teaching.

What parts of Flipped Learning are in our blind spots? What, if anything, lies beyond what we’re sure we already know about Flipped Learning? How would our practices change if we had a clearer and more complete view of the whole? How has our limited view of Flipped Learning impacted research, practice, and collaboration? Has our myopia hindered the general adoption of Flipped Learning worldwide? What is the full scope of understanding and skills required to implement and scale Flipped Learning effectively? How can we know? Are there universal best practices that apply across any subject anywhere in the world? What are the exceptions? Is Flipped Learning as complex or as simple as some suggest? Have you been touching the tail of Flipped Learning or the trunk? How do you know?

If you have considered most of these questions, then you’re probably one of the Global Standards Project delegates. Over 140 practitioners in 49 countries have worked to map the global contours and key features of effective Flipped Learning. After nearly 12 months, the first global framework for effective Flipped Learning is ready for publication and review.

The Project Leadership Team

On May 15, 2018, the Global Standards Project was transferred to the Academy of Active Learning Arts and Sciences. The project was managed under the guidance of six international co-chairs: Dr. Eric Mazur, the Balkanski Professor of Physics at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education; Dr. Caroline Fell Kurban, Director of MEF University’s Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching in Turkey; Dr. Raul Santiago Campion, Professor of Didactics and Pedagogy at University of La Rioja, Spain; Dr. Gwo-Jen Hwang, Chair Professor, Graduate Institute of Digital Learning and Education, National Taiwan University of Science and Technology; Robyn Brinks Lockwood, instructor at the Stanford Language Center, Stanford University; and Jon Bergmann, Chief Academic Officer of the Flipped Learning Global Initiative.

The Process

The year-long process was both grueling and eyeopening. The project tapped into the collective research, expertise, and experience of widely diverse Flipped Learning practitioners. Input came from K12, higher ed, and corporate training. As far as we know, it’s the largest and most robust effort undertaken to aggregate, plot, and merge the fragmented global knowledge of what works in Flipped Learning into a universal framework.

The new framework can reasonably be called the most complete global map of Flipped Learning’s best practice. The map divides into five domains. General global best practices. Best practice for education leaders, k12, higher education, students and trainers.

A Common Language

The project also reviewed the definition of Flipped Learning. The aim was to craft a simpler, more easily translatable definition to support the growing levels of international collaborations between Flipped Learning practitioners. The result is the first globally ratified, jargon-free definition of Flipped Learning that is easily understood and translated by anyone.

“Flipped Learning is a framework that enables educators to reach every student. The Flipped approach inverts the traditional classroom model by introducing course concepts before class, allowing educators to use class time to guide each student through active, practical, innovative applications of the course principles.”


Publication and Comment

The global standards framework included thousands of submissions and recommendations from the worldwide Flipped Learning community. The final votes were cast by the 100 international delegates. You can get more details on the updated definition and the global framework at the link below. The framework will be published at the end of September for public review and commentary. After the public review, the framework will be adopted as the AALAS global standards for Flipped Learning.  To see Go to the AALAS website to learn more…

The Project Project Pilot Group

The International Delegates

Go to the AALAS website to learn more…

Errol St.Clair Smith
I am the Director of Global Development at the Flipped Learning Global Initiative. I joined the education community in 2005, working closely with national education organizations on community outreach and professional development. Over the last decade, I’ve led the development of community platforms for The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE); the Association of Curriculum Developers (ASCD); the American Association of School Administrators (AASA), the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP), the International Reading Association (IRA), the National Associations for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), the National Association of School Nurses (NASN), the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), the National Parent Teachers Association (NPTA), and the Association of School Business Officials (ASBO). I'm honored to have received four Emmy nominations and an Emmy Award for public affairs programming. In 2017 I co-authored Flipped Learning 3.0 with Jon Bergmann. The book was updated based on the AALAS Global Elements of Effective Flipped Learning in 2019.

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