Flipped Learning Part 2: Quantitative Rationale

Photo of a grid of dominoes

Photo by Mick Haupt on Unsplash

By Kristen Mosley

Last week we discussed what flipped learning is, but why should you buy in to this teaching style? A recent meta-analysis sought to understand to what extent flipped learning in higher education was associated with 

  1. academic outcomes (skills-based outcomes, foundational learning, higher-order thinking);
  2. intra/interpersonal skills (meta-cognition, confidence/interpersonal skills, and engagement/identification with the discipline); and  
  3. satisfaction-related outcomes (instructor evaluations and course satisfaction)1.

Their findings illustrate statistically significant and overall hopeful yet heterogeneous results for each of their three outcomes:

  1. Regarding academic outcomes associated with flipped learning, 282 studies were reviewed. Results demonstrated that students in flipped learning classrooms academically outperformed their peers in traditional learning classrooms by 0.39 standard deviations – a small but educationally meaningful advantage. However, the impact of flipped learning varied by academic outcomes: the highest advantage of using flipped learning was seen for skills-based outcomes, whereas less compelling findings were seen for developing foundational knowledge and higher-order thinking.
  2. Regarding intra/interpersonal skills associated with flipped learning, 96 studies were explored, suggesting that students in flipped-learning classrooms experienced greater gains than their lecture-based peers by 0.43 standard deviations – another educationally meaningful advantage. Again, the range of influence of flipped learning on these gains varied, with the greatest gains seen for students’ confidence/interpersonal skills and the lowest gains seen in metacognition.
  3. Regarding student satisfaction in relation to flipped learning, 66 studies were reviewed. The smallest, yet still significant, advantage was seen in flipped learning’s impact on student satisfaction, resulting in an average increased satisfaction effect of 0.22. Interestingly, though, the effect of flipped learning on course satisfaction showed a statistically significant advantage over lecture-based course satisfaction, but no statistical difference was found between instructor evaluations for flipped learning versus traditional learning.

In sum, there is quantitative evidence to suggest benefits of flipped learning over traditional lecturing when fostering development of post-secondary students’ academic, inter/intrapersonal skills, and satisfaction outcomes. With the global pandemic having necessitated some aspects of the flipped learning model, it is helpful to know to what extent flipped learning may, on average, interact with student outcomes. However, the nature of the flipped learning model (i.e., to what extent students receive out-of-classroom vs. in-classroom instructional minutes) and the context of the model (i.e., whether the course focuses on skill-based versus higher-order thinking), appear to shape the relation of flipped learning and student outcomes. As with all educational research, we’re still learning and growing and hoping our students are doing the same along the way. Come back next week for a review of qualitative considerations.

1. Bredow, C. A., Roehling, P. V., Knorp, A. J., & Sweet, A. M. (2021). To flip or not to flip? A meta-analysis of the efficacy of flipped learning in higher education. Review of Educational Research, 00346543211019122