gymnastics-90898_640Flipped learning is one of the most recent buzzwords being bandied about the learning and development community. But, what the heck is it? And, how do you create it?

Flipped learning is simply the practice of creating learning materials that explain theoretical content normally covered during a class. Learners then spend their time in class participating in activities that allow them to practice applying what they learned.

For example, we recently designed a class on good documentation practices for one of our bio-pharmaceutical clients. During the class, we covered information on good documentation standards and best practices. Learners also practiced identifying and correcting documentation mistakes.

If we had used flipped learning to design the class, we would have put together materials for learners to review that described good documentation standards and explained the best practices. We would have then designed the class to include a Q&A session followed by a series of practice activities.

E-learning modules, videos, podcasts, e-books, and short reference guides are good options to deliver theoretical information before an actual class. The purpose of the class then becomes to provide learners with a chance to practice and receive feedback from the instructor and their peers.

Flipped learning can be a great way to get the most value out of limited classroom time.

There is one potential drawback, though. Any learning that happens before class is self-paced. Self-paced learning has a notoriously high failure rate because people have difficulty making time to complete it or they rush through it so quickly they aren’t prepared to practice during class.

Flipped learning is also not a good choice if the content is highly complex and learners will be stumped until they can get their questions answered.

Only you can decide if flipped learning is a good alternative for your workplace environment and the content you need to teach.