Flipping learning is big in education. It will be big in corporate learning. Let’s not blow it.
Flipping makes a ton a sense. The learner can watch the mini-lectures when it’s convenient to do so. The learner controls the pace by pausing, replaying, or fast-forwarding. In all likelihood, the presentation by the enthusiastic Salmaan Khan or a popular Stanford prof is going to be more engaging than your local school teacher or grad student teaching assistant. The video can provide content in small, digestible pieces. Once it’s in the can, the video can be replayed again and again. And of course, video delivered online scales without an increase in cost.
More important for learning outcomes, the time spent in class can be put to more productive use. Learners convene to get answers to questions, discuss examples, put what they’ve learned in context, debate, explore, and extend their knowledge. Instead of passively listening to an instructor, they actively engage the material. Instructors, freed of the need to mouth the words of lessons, focus on helping learners understand things and coaching individuals. These activities can take place online, and people can learn from one another in virtual communities and support groups.
When times were tough, training departments slashed budgets by replacing face-to-face instruction with online reading. They failed to follow through with the discussions, practice, social processing, and reinforcement that makes lessons stick. It didn’t work. Most eLearning is ineffective drudgery.
That’s my nightmare about flipping learning in the corporation, that organizations will once again confuse exposure to content with learning. It’s great to replace lectures with video clips — IF you retain the opportunity for people to ask questions, interact with the material, practice what they’ve learned, collaborate with others, and periodically refresh their memories. This takes a sound learning ecosystem, a workscape.
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