A comparison of student progression, engagement and perception between two cohorts when a ‘flipped learning’ approach is implemented in an AS psychology class.
It is apparent that there are individual differences as to what motivates and does not motivate a learner (Jones, Valdez, Nowakowski, & Rasmussen, 1994). There are increasing indications that learners’ expectations of technology, and, as a result, of learning, are not being met (BECTA, 2008). Flipped learning is a form of blended learning that encompasses any use of technology to leverage the learning in a classroom. Several papers have reported on the impact of ‘flipped learning’ on undergraduate psychology courses and suggested that there is a positive impact of this on students’ attitudes toward the class and instructors as well as on students’ performance in the class (Wilson, 2013).
The current research considered an implementation of a ‘flipped’ classroom where students were primed with knowledge prior to the session over the course of a 12-week module. It was hypothesised that a flipped classroom could have a significant impact on student outcomes; that student engagement with flipped learning is associated with prior achievement; and that students will prefer the flipped classroom approach to learning. Three classes (n=62) of AS Psychology students were taught for 12 weeks using the flipped method. A significant difference between the flipped cohort and a matched cohort from the previous academic year was found when measuring terminal outcomes from the module. Further to this a positive correlation was found between a students’ prior achievement and their engagement with the flipped classroom. Student perceptions were positive about the flipped classroom, although individual differences in preference were evident across the sample.
A discussion on student engagement and the effective use, and sometime abuse, of technology and e-learning concludes that teachers have a responsibility to use the most appropriate tools and not be led to believe that technology can substitute for outstanding planning, preparation and pedagogical awareness.
In the writing of this dissertation I have had invaluable support and guidance from staff and other students at Glyndwr University. Thanks especially to Fiona Lintern and Professor Chris Lewis for their on-going support and encouragement over the course of the MSc. For helping me by discussing ideas, and for supporting me with coffee, cake and encouragement throughout the course I thank Helen, and for the distraction and time to consider the thesis on our walks, Charlie. Finally, I recognise the support of Wyke Sixth Form College, especially my students in the 2013-14 psychology cohorts for their support, input and feedback on interventions and classroom changes. You really are flipping brilliant!