Closing the Gap Between Higher Ed and K12

Out of the Box June 19 / June 20, 2019

 – Beth Lamb –

The ideals of higher education face the inherent problem that they rest on the end product of the previous two assembly lines, namely, that of the primary and secondary education system. Ye reap what ye sow.

In this example, an assembly line as defined by Henry Ford, although not the original inventor, is a manufacturing process in which parts are added in sequence as the semi-finished assembly moves from workstation to workstation until the final assembly is produced.

But for education, this is no longer a satisfactory system. We radically need a methodology whereby the parts are formed together through their own drive and determination for them to thrive in higher education. Higher education demands that the parts are fully working and require little or no input from an outside source for them to function well. Rather than the set pattern of slowly piecing together a standard car, we would want learners to design a car to suit their needs adding parts from lots of sources and at the time best suited to their next step in learning. This is where the Flipped Learning model of Self-Assemblage thrives.  

In the individual space of a flipped system, the learner can and does – in the first two factories of primary and secondary education – master the tools for content learning. Skills of time management, note taking and rote learning of basic principles can be developed slowly and methodically. The individual space is also the education system that the parents can recognize as the sort of education they received. Parents understand the notion of content uploading – even if the content uploaded is a little space aged. The individual space activities call for little support to be supplied and give a sense of achievement that the learner can learn well and effectively by themselves. Of course, this all depends upon the way the materials are assessed and the methodology for interacting with these and the learning outcomes. The individual space also gives rise to the self-driven student and self-perceived success from this calls for little actual academic ability since the exposure to content is passive and the student need only sit there and absorb.

The group space activities give rise to and lay a foundation for what most of higher education is about: solving those creative, no end in sight problems. Group space activities should take all of the content and basic principles knowledge that was learned in the individual space and put it on a conveyor belt. Preferably on a belt of a nonlinear problem that requires that the higher end of Bloom’s taxonomy be put to work. When the individual can effectively learn content without much support, put to work to solve complex activities or real-world problems, and done well, you will have created a learner that is ready for the structure of higher education.

When we prepare our students for the levels of tertiary education, they need many parts to have been fully formed by the factories of primary and secondary education. The drive to learn content and basic principles without extrinsic motivation should be a starting goal. The second most important aspect required for a successful jaunt through the annals of higher education is the ability to apply self-taught content and basic principles to a problem or question that does not require us to simply regurgitate facts and figures. It’s those round table debates about the themes in a literature paper; it’s those arguments about why Ho Chi Minh could have beaten Friedrich Engels in a paper airplane making competition; it’s budding engineers designing giant woolen nets to clean up the plastic in the oceans that is the real purpose of higher education. Especially in today’s world – if you can Google an answer, why bother teaching it at all?  

Flipped Learning, if done well, will and can make higher education a more familiar experience for our Modern Non-Assembly Lined Learner. Before the deeper learning facilitated by a Flipped Learning classroom, students could consume spoon-fed knowledge, with little appetite or desire to move up the levels of Bloom’s required for higher ed. A flipped classroom will gift the educator the time to have deeper learning discussions and investigations with students, better preparing them for future challenges.

To better learn about how to prepare students for the future of education consider enrolling in FLGI’s Flipped Learning Level One online training, based on the best practices of Flipped Learning as identified by over 100 leading practitioners educating across dozens of countries, globally.


Beth Lamb
Beth Lamb
I have completed Flipped Learning Level 1 and 2 certificates as well as the Flipped Trainer program. I am a Google certified educator level 1 & 2, Google authorised Trainer, Google innovator and mentor. I have a Post Graduate Diploma in Education (Elearning), Post Graduate Certificate of Educational Management, a Bachelor of Education and a Diploma of Teaching. I have completed the facilitator program for Investment in Excellence and have completed the New Zealand National Aspiring Principals Program. I have presented at GAFE summits, Educamps, Ulearn, Learning@schools, NZLA Conferences, and organised cluster mini conferences and tours. I currently lead a digital immersion cluster in Whangarei and spend my time as a tech coach and mentor for teachers, principals and school wide staff. Prior to this I have been a facilitator for an ICT pd cluster and taught as a primary teacher for almost 20 yrs.

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