It’s an undisputable fact that online learning has been a disruptive force in the face of traditional, corporate training methods. Despite this, it is most effective not when it’s used as a replacement for face-to-face learning, but supplemented with it. In fact, access to online learning tools has spurred outcome-improving innovations meant to enhance face-to-face training.
The flipped classroom is a great example of how online learning and face-to-face learning can compliment each other. Flipped classroom learning uses web-based instruction to make the most of in-classroom learning time — to make trainers and learners more available for one-on-one guidance, teamwork activities, and learn-by-doing exercises.
Instead of the traditional in-class instruction or lectures followed by at-home homework or reading, a flipped classroom reverses the format. Trainees watch an online video of the lecture, on their own time, before the training session. ‘Homework’, or activity work that applies concepts learned in the lecture, is done in-session—with support from the trainer and fellow learners.
How does this enhance the face-to-face time? The flipped classroom learning setup lets learners absorb the lecture content at their own pace—rewinding, pausing, and re-watching as many times as they need to. If the lecture is posted using a learning management tool such as Totara LMS or Moodle LMS, additional interactive features can be embedded into the content to engage different types of learners, and encourage critical thinking—so everyone can come to the training session actively interested and prepared to apply what they’ve learned.
This is especially critical in a business environment: busy, full-time employees can be skeptical of the value compliance and certification requirements bring to their actual work performance. A flipped classroom approach brings greater flexibility, respects the learners’ limited time and other responsibilities, and offers more ways for a learner to efficiently engage with course content.
With instruction out of the way beforehand, use of in-classroom time can be maximized. The trainer can answer questions, fill in gaps, and guide learners through concept engagement activities. Learners needing more one-on-one attention can receive it, and learners who have mastered the lesson concept can offer support to their peers.
The benefits are not limited to learning outcomes—the flipped classroom approach, for example, allows trainers to save time by not having to re-create the same instruction modules time after time. Record it once, save yourself some time, and benefit your learners.
And the cost of paying learners for their training time goes down, too: they can tackle the online content during their downtime at work, or even at home.
Really, flipped classrooms—and all online learning tools, for that matter—are about having and using the right tools for specific tasks. They are not just replacements for classroom learning. Strategically used, they can enhance the benefits of face-to-face training, decrease the learners’ loss of work-time, and lower the cost of requiring employee certification or compliance.
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