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What is the flipped classroom and how to best optimize this approach in online settings

Nhi Nguyen
Rebecca LeBoeuf
Rebecca LeBoeuf
March 28, 2022
Table of Contents

Student engagement inevitably fluctuates throughout any course. Learners often become significantly less engaged after the first few weeks, sometimes picking up again towards the final assessment or exam periods. The challenge remains: How do we keep students engaged and activated throughout the whole course?

Flipping the classroom is then considered one of the most effective approaches to tackle the challenge of disengagement. However, implementing this model comes with certain disadvantages. This article will share how instructors can successfully and effectively facilitate the Flipped classroom, by integrating pedagogical technology at every stage of the model.

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What is Flipping the Classroom?

The Flipped classroom is an instructional approach in which students study the course materials beforehand, then engage in discussions, application projects, or problem-solving activities to apply the learned knowledge during class time. In the flipped classroom, instructors take on the role of facilitators instead of knowledge transmitter, while students actively monitor their learning process [3].

Studies have highlighted the positive impact of the flipped classroom in promoting a student-centered learning environment, with active engagement, continuous feedback and collaboration opportunities.

In flipped classrooms, students transform from passive listeners to active learners when they’re required to study and consume the materials prior to class. Pre-class preparation also allows instructors to organize activities that activate higher-order thinking skills like discussion, debates, or peer assessment, instead of traditional lectures.

Furthermore, the flipped classroom opens up plenty of opportunities for peer and collaborative learning in both asynchronous and synchronous activities. During out-of-class sessions, students can learn from their peers by collaborating on group projects, or exchanging thoughts on the study materials. And at the same time, they are exposed to different perspectives by participating in discussions with peers and instructors.

“...in flipped classrooms students can use their class time to work together and engage in collaborative learning.” [1]

The challenges of Flipping the classroom

While the benefits of the Flipped Classroom are compelling, implementing this approach also comes with challenges for both teachers and students.

For the learners’ perspective, the biggest challenge concerns lack of engagement and discipline during the pre-class activities. There are several factors that contribute to this low level of motivation, including students’ unfamiliarity with the instructional model, inability to receive immediate feedback and support while studying at home, and the huge workload required in the flipped classroom. Furthermore, access to technology is another critical element that influences students’ motivation to engage in the flipped classroom activities.

As for the instructors, implementing the flipped classroom can be troublesome due to the time and effort needed to design and facilitate the learning activities that are engaging and interactive.

“The actual time needed to prepare flipped course materials can be nearly 6 times more than traditional course preparation.” [5]

Technical and technological requirements in creating study materials and using different teaching tools can also lead to teachers’ hesitance in adopting the approach.

So how can instructors harness the full potential of the Flipped classroom, while minimizing the challenges of implementing the model? Utilizing pedagogical technology is one of the solutions to tackle the challenges and enhance the benefits of the Flipped classroom. Teaching technology can help instructors save time and effort in generating course materials, at the same increasing student engagement and motivation by accommodating different learning activities.

FeedbackFruits Tool Suite has been among the technologies trusted by many institutions in implementing their desired pedagogical approaches, especially the Flipped Classroom. The Tool Suite offers several solutions that can address different stages of the model, such as guiding active student consumption of the materials during pre-class preparations with Interactive Study Material, or enabling transparent collaboration with Group Member Evaluation. To even further grow active knowledge uptake, application, collaboration, and reflection, all FeedbackFruits tools can be used together in harmony.

That’s why the FeedbackFruits team created the “Flipped Classroom journey” to show how you can maximize the benefits of our tool suite in the Flipped Classroom model. This graphic details in 11 steps how the journey from the start to finish of a course can be supported by FeedbackFruits pedagogical tool suite.

Figure 1. The Flipped Classroom Learning Journey

Incorporating different FeedbackFruits’ tools to elevate the Flipped Classroom model

Step 1: Activating asynchronous engagement during before class preparation

“Preparation is half the job”. When students come to class having studied the materials, instructors have ample time to elaborate on specifics of the content without having to go over everything from scratch. However, it is challenging to encourage students’ active engagement with the materials, especially in online classes. FeedbackFruits Interactive Study Material helps stimulate student – content interaction by allowing instructors to add in-line questions or discussions and turn the study materials into “a space for meaningful dialogues”. Students can respond to the questions and discussion threads, and at the same time make their own queries. This process is critical to gauge student preparedness and enable deeper discussions during synchronous sessions.

Step 2 and 3: Building up students’ understanding of the study materials

After the preparation comes the in-class session, in which teachers address the major themes and questions that come up during the asynchronous activities. Student analytics give insight into individual and class performance and understanding of material which allow for tailored use of lesson time. Furthermore, the questions and comments posted in the Interactive Study Material highlight the most common issues or problems encountered by students, thus enabling teachers to adapt the synchronous sessions to address learners’ needs.

To further enhance students’ knowledge, FeedbackFruits Quiz tool can be used to give students a chance to consolidate their level of understanding. Based on the analytics shown in the tool platform, teachers can identify the emergent knowledge gaps from a low-stakes quiz and address these during synchronous sessions.

Step 4: Giving opportunities to apply the learned knowledge

To facilitate skills at higher Bloom levels, instructors often assign an individual or group assignment in which students apply their learned knowledge to solve a problem or complete a project. Over the course of the assignment, feedback plays a key role to help students adjust their work and produce a quality final product. FeedbackFruits feedback tools let instructors create either individual or group assignments, while facilitating multi-layer feedback: teacher-student, student-student, and self-reflection.

Step 5: Facilitating teacher – student feedback

When it comes to writing assignments, providing students with personal and actionable feedback is always challenging, especially when the student cohort is sizable and there is limited faculty available. Automated Feedback helps teachers generate instant, actionable feedback suggestions on students’ written work based on teacher-determined criteria. This allows teachers to address higher-level writing aspects (reasoning, argumentation, and critical thinking), and grants students the autonomy, guidance, and support needed for their own learning.

Step 6: Encouraging quality peer feedback

After iterating on work themselves based on the automated feedback, students could then take part in Peer Review activity. Peer feedback has been shown to be an extremely effective method in activating lifelong skills like critical thinking, collaboration, and self-regulation.  Giving feedback encourages students to critically examine their peers’ work to identify potential problems, thus contemplating and suggesting solutions. This entire process subsequently contributes to the development of reflective knowledge. At the same time, receiving feedback allows students to identify their mistakes, evaluate the comments, and take action to resolve the problems for a better product.

FeedbackFruits Peer Review allows teachers to create assignments for students to provide feedback on their peers’ submitted work based on customisable rubrics or criteria, while at the same time reflecting on the received feedback to improve their own drafts.

Step 7: Saving spot for self-reflection

Furthermore, instructors can set up a self-assessment step during the peer review process in which students critically review their own contribution before assessing others’, based on the same criteria.

Step 8: Sharing feedback during in-class discussions

Based on the generated feedback and analytics provided by the tools, teachers identify common problems or improvements, then organize synchronous sessions where students can discuss solutions to address these issues. 

Step 9: Using the feedback to improve the assignments

Now that students have received both feedback and suggestions, they work on improving their final assignments, either individually or collaboratively.

Step 10: Organizing a final round of teacher – student feedback

Once students have finalized the assignments based on all the received feedback and comments, they can hand in their submissions with Assignment Review. Here teachers give feedback on whichever criteria are necessary.

Step 11: Encouraging collaboration through group assessment

This learning journey is concluded with a Group Member Evaluation activity, in which students reflect on their own performance and their peers’ contribution. All the while, through each of these activities, teachers can maintain visibility on the progress and performance of each student and each group, save time on setup with reusable and shareable courses and templates, and give all students the activating, engaging, meaningful learning experiences they deserve.


[1] Akçayır, G., & Akçayır, M. (2018). The flipped classroom: A review of its advantages and challenges. Computers & Education, 126, 334-345. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2018.07.021

[2] Flipped Learning Network. (n.d.). Definition of Flipped Learning.

[3] Lai, C., L., & Hwang, G., J. (2016). A self-regulated flipped classroom approach to improving students’ learning performance in a mathematics course. Computers & Education, 100, 126-140.

[4] Tucker, B. (2012). The flipped classroom. Education Next, 12(1), 82-83.

[5] Wanner, T., & Palmer, E. (2015). Personalizing learning: Exploring student and teacher perceptions about flexible learning and assessment in a flipped university course. Computers & Education, 88, 354-369.

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