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Understanding Flipped Learning


Defining Flipped Learning 

A flipped classroom sometimes referred to as an inverted classroom, is one in which learners are exposed to the material prior to a live class session so that they can apply the concepts from the material with greater depth within a live class session (Brame, 2013).  

Elements of a Flipped Approach 

The following elements are outlined by Brame (2013): 

  • Expose learners to content prior to a live class session – This may be through readings, videos, podcasts, graphics, infographics, screencasts, etc. Though many think of flipped learning as just a presentation of lecture videos prior to class, that's only one of many ways to approach the method. 
  • Provide an incentive for learners to engage with that content – This may be a written assignment, an outlining or mapping activity, a simple quiz, or a note that there will be a classroom response system activity using this knowledge at the start of the live session, etc. Typically, there are points associated with such activities to further incentivize preparation. 
  • Assess learner understanding of that content – The tools, tasks, or activities you use to incentivize preparation should also provide you as the educator with real-time data on learner understanding so that you can address areas of need and misconception in your live session, building to more rigorous processing/application of concepts. 
  • Focus on deeper processing/application of that content during a live class session – For instance, you might transition into case studies, lab activities, data analysis, debates, collaborative dialogue, etc. once learners have mastered the foundational knowledge. 

Benefits of Flipped Learning 

Many of us are familiar with Bloom's revised taxonomy, which aids us in differentiating between lower levels of cognitive work (remembering and understanding) as compared to higher levels of cognitive work (applying, analyzing, evaluating, etc.) (Anderson, 2013). In the flipped model, the lower cognitive work happens outside of class, allowing time for higher cognitive work in class under the guidance of a knowledgeable educator. Research suggests that flipped models, when leveraged effectively, can produce significant learning gains (DesLauriers, Schelew, & Wieman, 2011). 

Challenges of Flipped Learning 

That said, we also know that it's sometimes difficult to get learners to engage with course content, which is the reason for the focus on connected activities and incentives in the elements indicated above. If learners feel they can still get by without preparing, many will be tempted to do so, and the learners who did prepare will be irritated by any course time spent remediating non-compliance, lessening their motivation to prepare. Bottom line: It's critical to build a culture of clear expectations and follow through when attempting flipped learning. 


Watch this video on the flipped classroom from the University of Texas at Austin and review the related guide to flipping your class: 

View lists of different flipped classroom models. Though some of these are aimed at K-12 educators, there is still merit in considering mixed approaches: 

Connect with a teaching and learning consultant.  The teaching and learning consultants are excited to help. The consultants support educators interested in developing new teaching-learning methods, implement research-based teaching and learning strategies, and build meaningful connections with students. To request a consultation, email

Connect with the media production team. The Learning Media Production Team will work with instructors to find the most effective production method for their content. We will help instructors visualize course content from concept to final delivery. By developing a production plan with the guidance of a course media producer, our team can ensure the production elements of every course meet quality and instructional design goals.

Record in our CIS Maker Spaces, which allow you to record videos through Panopto Recorder to record voice, video, and a PowerPoint presentation, along with screen annotations.


  • To see what events we may be offering related to flipped learning, check out our CIS Events Page.
  • Schedule a time with CIS staff to discuss flipped learning and your class. 


Anderson, L. (2013). A Taxonomy for Learning, Teaching, and Assessing: A Revision of Bloom's Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, Abridged Edition. Essex, UK: Pearson.

Brame, C., (2013). Flipping the classroom. Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching. Retrieved from  

DesLauriers L, Schelew E, and Wieman C (2011). Improved learning in a large-enrollment physics class. Science 332: 862-864. 

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