Flipped class­room strug­gles to catch on in Europe

THE (Times Higher Education) - - NEWS - el­lie.both­well@timeshigh­ere­d­u­ca­tion.com

Fewer than one in seven Euro­pean uni­ver­si­ties are strong ad­vo­cates of the flipped class­room as a model for en­hanc­ing stu­dent learn­ing, while only half of in­sti­tu­tions are de­vel­op­ing more forms of on­line learn­ing, ac­cord­ing to a re­cent re­port from the Euro­pean Uni­ver­sity As­so­ci­a­tion (EUA).

A sur­vey of 303 uni­ver­si­ties across 43 higher ed­u­ca­tion sys­tems in Europe found that teach­ing in small groups was the most pop­u­lar of five teach­ing ap­proaches sur­veyed, with 91 per cent of re­spon­dents stat­ing that they found it use­ful “fully” or “to some ex­tent”. Prob­lem-based learn­ing was found use­ful by 87 per cent of par­tic­i­pants.

But the flipped class­room model, which ad­vo­cates claim is a more ef­fec­tive teach­ing strat­egy than the tra­di­tional lec­ture, was the least pop­u­lar method in the sur­vey, which also asked about peer learn­ing and com­mu­nity projects. Just 15 per cent of re­spon­dents said that they found the model “fully use­ful”, while a fur­ther 39 per cent said it was use­ful to some ex­tent.

One fifth of uni­ver­si­ties said that they did not have any in­for­ma­tion on this ap­proach. How­ever, there are sig­nif­i­cant coun­try dif­fer­ences: the flipped class­room model has been im­ple­mented fully or to some ex­tent by all re­spond­ing uni­ver­si­ties in Switzer­land and the UK.

Thérèse Zhang, deputy di­rec­tor for higher ed­u­ca­tion pol­icy at the EUA and co-au­thor of the re­port, Trends 2018: Learn­ing and Teach- ing in the Euro­pean Higher Ed­u­ca­tion Area, said that the re­search shows that the flipped class­room model “is still per­ceived as rel­a­tively new in Euro­pean higher ed­u­ca­tion”.

“It’s taken up in some parts of in­sti­tu­tions rather than oth­ers and some dis­ci­plines are more favourable grounds for try­ing and test­ing and im­ple­ment­ing this kind of ap­proach,” she said.

An over­whelm­ing ma­jor­ity of uni­ver­si­ties said that there was a gen­eral ac­cep­tance that dig­i­tal learn­ing had im­proved and that it was be­com­ing part of their in­sti­tu­tional strat­egy.

How­ever, only around half of in­sti­tu­tions across the 43 higher ed­u­ca­tion sys­tems said that they were de­vel­op­ing more on­line learn­ing for de­gree pro­grammes (49 per cent) and non-de­gree pur­poses (52 per cent).

“Uni­ver­si­ties still re­main phys­i­cal places for learn­ing and teach­ing,” Ms Zhang said.

James Con­roy, vice-prin­ci­pal for in­ter­na­tion­al­i­sa­tion at the Uni­ver­sity of Glas­gow, said that the re­search shows that “the en­hanced ef­fi­cacy of ‘new’, tech­nol­ogy-driven learn­ing is rather dif­fi­cult to prove”. He added that var­ied forms of ped­a­gogy “con­tinue to be used and use­ful for a good rea­son – they all per­form dif­fer­ently if [they are used as] com­ple­men­tary func­tions in the com­plex ecol­ogy of higher ed­u­ca­tion”.

“There is much talk of e-learn­ing, and no doubt it has its place, but on the ev­i­dence to date it is hardly a sub­sti­tute for the in­tel­lec­tual en­counter that more tra­di­tional forms of ed­u­ca­tional prac­tice en­tail,” he said.

“As the re­port points out, the of­ten high ex­pec­ta­tions that ac­com­pany the in­tro­duc­tion of new or en­hanced tech­nolo­gies are rarely de­liv­ered – largely be­cause we con- tinue to make the mis­take that change is, in and of it­self, progress to a pos­i­tive des­ti­na­tion. While it is al­ways the case that ped­a­go­gies can be re­shaped and im­proved, the two things are not al­ways the same and change does not al­ways mean bet­ter.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.