BOOK REVIEW: Flipped Learning 3.0 Project Based Learning: An Insanely Simple Guide

The Community April / March 28, 2018

– Susan White –


According to Daniel Jones, “When students’ interests are integrated into the curriculum, they become more engaged and have a more profound desire to learn.”  Implementing a Project Based Learning (PBL) classroom results in student ownership through choice; this is only one of the many insightful messages that he shares in his book from FL Global Publishing, Flipped Learning 3.0 Project Based Learning:  An Insanely Simple Guide (2018).  Dan takes something that would have been deemed complicated and offers practical ideas and tips to make it into something that, as the title states, becomes insanely simple.

Who is Daniel Jones?  

I have the privilege of working with Dan on the International Faculty, so I know his work well.  For example, I know that not only has he written many other pieces for publication, but has also been featured in them as well.  Dan appeared in Jon Bergmann and Aaron Sams’ book, Flipped Learning for Social Studies Instruction.  Bergmann and Sams are pioneers and innovators, leading the pedagogical shift in Flipped Learning, and have written numerous books on the topic. Dan also made a prominent appearance in a Flipped Learning 3.0 Certification II online course offered through Flipped Learning Global Initiative (FLGI), highlighting the PBL strategy he writes about in his book.  In addition, Dan is a leader in the Flipped Learning community and one of the founding members of the FLGI International Faculty.


Classroom innovator, Dan Jones’ PBL book is a simple guide for anyone who would like to take their Flipped Learning classroom to the next level.  It is a roadmap through which the author skillfully navigates the reader through every leg of the journey. Dan provides a simple definition of PBL, in a language that readers can understand.  Throughout the book, he emphasizes that it is not about the projects but the process of learning; this is an important distinction to make. His discussion of both Flipped Learning and PBL is synchronous, reinforcing the notion that with Flipped Learning, many strategies are made possible.  One of the chapters has the reader looking through the lens of an administrator, which is often a topic neglected when reading about classroom strategies and innovations. Rarely do I read about the perspective of the administrator — as if they are uninvolved in our classrooms. However, through this chapter, you can see the development of both Flipped Learning and PBL in collaboration with Dan’s superintendent, which was based on her research and supported by data. As an educator, I feel the endorsement for both Flipped Learning and PBL is not only important for the book but for educators who are currently implementing or looking to implement these strategies. Throughout the book, Dan brings in other experts in the field to compare and supplement his PBL structure, allowing the reader to see it from different points of view. Chapter 5 is when Dan digs in and uncovers the hidden treasure the reader is waiting for; he describes his project-based classroom step by step.  He provides a thorough flowchart of his FL PBL classroom, which at first glance appears complex; however, he skillfully goes through a detailed description of each component in a way that is simple to follow and makes FL PBL completely accessible. There is something noteworthy to point out from Dan’s process, which includes a Design Lab. The Design Lab is a concept inspired by Stanford University’s D-School and Design Thinking for Educators. Chapter 6, the Design Lab, breaks down the procedures using graphics and visual aids to supplement his explanation. Dan efficiently takes the reader through each step, right down to the minute. This gave me, the reader, the bigger picture of not only the structure but how much time it should take.

Dan culminates the book with practical in-class activity examples.  He gives the reader a ticket for a front row seat into his classroom, providing real samples of student work.  Frequently-asked questions and sample resources Dan uses in his class are in the appendix, providing even more information and inspiration to the reader.

Overall Impression

I believe this book is a quick and easy read, at only 93 pages, which is perfect for any busy educator.  If you wondered how to create an active environment where students take ownership and how to find the time to do it, this book will help you accomplish both.  Dan demonstrates throughout how Flipped PBL makes a shift from passive to active learning. He does this using a logical step-by-step format, providing visual elements that enhance the understanding of the text; this is especially true of the more complex concepts, such as the structure of his Design Lab.  The QR codes provided, leading the reader to videos of Dan’s classroom, were a gold mine; however, with the complexity of the PBL flowchart, Dan could have used the QR codes to link video clips of the process allowing the reader to see it in action. His chapter on creating an active learning environment is full of innovative ideas, but in this chapter Dan describes these activities as labs.  Though he does emphasize that the lab time is not the Design Lab, the similarity between “lab” and “Design lab” could confuse the reader, as it had initially puzzled me. If you were looking for ways in which students can interact with the content, then Dan has provided tools to add to your tool belt. I felt the Administrator chapter could have begun the PBL story, right after his heartwarming introduction to which many educators could relate. I will admit that the placement of the administrator chapter broke up the flow of the reading for me, but I quickly jumped right back into it.

Author Daniel Jones had a mission in writing this book, and that was to provide the reader with a simple guide to begin a Flipped Project Based Learning program in their classroom. Written with educators, and their administrators, in mind, I believe Jones accomplished what he set out to do. Through reading this book, I understand that PBL is an instructional model enhanced by Flipped Learning, using projects as learning tools to gain understanding and show mastery. Projects are the bridge to knowledge, not the final piece of the process. I recommend this book to anyone who is ready to go above and beyond in their Flipped Learning classrooms and let Dan be the bridge to get you there.

Flipped Learning 3.0 Project Based Learning: An Insanely Simple Guide
by Daniel Jones, with Jon Bergmann
FL Global Publishing, Irvine, CA.
93 pp, 2018. ISBN-13: 978-0-9991397-1-4


The Insanely Simple Books Series

Daniel Jones is an FLGI Level-II Flipped Learning Certified Trainer and founding member of the International Faculty. In this book, Dan shows us how Project Based Learning (PBL) is made possible when paired with Flipped Learning. The book offers a roadmap, along with practical tips, strategies, and useful forms, to help you quickly succeed with project-based learning.   Cara Johnson is a master of the Flipped-Mastery model. She is one of the earliest practitioners of Flipped Mastery and has contributed many innovations to this instructional model. If you are looking for a simple, fast, and easy guide to move from simply flipping your instruction to Flipped Mastery, this insanely simple guide is for you.   Jon Bergmann is one of the founders of Flipped Learning. Errol St.Clair Smith is the CEO of the Flipped Learning Global Initiative. They combined 50 years of experience to write the bible of Flipped Learning for talent development and all forms of adult instruction. Learn why Flipped Learning is the operating system that supports all instructional models, and leave with a roadmap for enabling the active learning with your staff, trainees, and students.
 Release Date: May 30, 2018

 Print Price: $15.99

 Ebook Price: $12.99

   Release Date: June 30, 2018

 Print Price: $12.99

 Ebook Price: $10.99


 Publication date:   Aug 1, 2017

 Print  Price $36.00

 Ebook Price $34.00


Susan White
Susan White
Susan is a FLGI Top 100 teacher, with over 20 years of teaching experience. She currently teaches 6th grade math at Creekside Middle School, and enjoys integrating technology into her 1:1 math class. She is currently leading the way for Flipped Learning at her building. Susan is Flipped Learning 3.0 Level -II Certified and a founding member of the FLGI International Faculty.

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