– by Jon Bergmann –
This past week I had the privilege of sharing about Flipped Learning 3.0 with Ibero University in Mexico City. I was impressed with their enthusiastic acceptance of the premise that educational institutions need to move from passive to active learning, and how quickly they embraced Flipped Learning as the easy path to active learning.
I contrast that with some of the tepid responses I often hear in North America. What is the cause of this disconnect? Why are so many teachers, school leaders, and schools around the world jumping into Flipped Learning, while it seems that Flipped Learning is flat in North America?
My anecdotal observations are supported by some interesting facts. If you look at the number of Google searches for Flipped Learning (aula invertida in Spanish), the graph shows exponential growth.
Why the disconnect? I don’t have hard evidence, but I have some ideas. When Flipped Learning first came to the attention of most educators in North America around 2012, most of them associated it with videos as homework. There is some truth to this, and perhaps many U.S.-based educators believe they know all they need to know about Flipped Learning. However, Flipped Learning has evolved significantly since the early days and there is likely an unrecognized need for most educators in North America to upgrade their understanding of Flipped Learning.
We’ve seen educators in North America dismiss Flipped Learning because they think that students won’t watch flipped content, or access issues will be an obstacle, or they don’t have the skills to create the pre-work, or their administrators won’t support them, or they question the research on the method. The best Flipped Learning practitioners have discovered that all of these early issues have been hashed out, discussed, and solved. Research is now showing that Flipped Learning is a meta-strategy that supports and leads to active learning in classrooms across all disciplines and levels on six continents.
Contrast this with what is happening in Latin America, parts of Asia, and beyond, and you will find more enthusiastic adoption. I believe this is because they are being introduced to a much more mature model: Flipped Learning 3.0. One participant elaborated, “I just thought Flipped Learning was the thing with the videos, but now that I have a clear picture, I am sold and I will be flipping henceforth.”
Perhaps another reason that we are seeing greater adoption of Flipped Learning in places such as Latin America is that many of these countries lag behind on tests such as the NAEP. They realize that in order to catch up they need systemic change and must leapfrog in order to compete. Rebecca Winthrop and Adam Barton from the Brookings Institute wrote an incisive paper where they show that, given normal trajectories, it will take 100 years for developing countries to catch up educationally with the developed world. They propose that educational systems in the developing world will need to embrace innovative methods if they are going to create opportunities for all students.
The mobile phone is a great example of how the developing world is leapfrogging the developed world. Many developing countries that never had significant landline telephones (20th-century technology) are jumping to a robust wireless infrastructure to handle the needs of people with mobile phones (21st-century technology).
So what about you? Do you feel you need to upgrade your idea of what Flipped Learning is? Do you know what you don’t know about Flipped Learning?