adult learning, improving classroom teaching, interactive learning environments, media in education, teaching/learning strategies
There is now strong evidence that active participation of undergraduate students within lectures, by using teaching models such as the ‘flipped classroom’ mode of instruction, significantly enhances their learning outcomes relative to outcomes achieved with the traditional passive didactic lecture. Furthermore, educators are also increasingly utilising audio and video technology to facilitate ‘flipped classroom’ style teaching, for example, by providing vodcasts (Video-on-Demand podcasts) of study material for students.
In the current study we sought to investigate the effectiveness of the ‘flipped classroom’ model of teaching in a compulsory first year basic science graduate entry to medicine (GEM 1) undergraduate module. Thus, students were asked to view vodcasts of lecture material prior to scheduled classes and were then asked to answer questions on the material using audience response units during each lecture. Our results demonstrate that students’ performances in end of module, end of year, but not continuous assessment, exams improved significantly relative to the previous year’s GEM 1 class. However, students’ opinions of the flipped classroom model in which full lecture vodcasts were used as preparatory tools were largely negative due to the time commitment involved, even though those students who did view them in preparation for lectures agreed that they did improve understanding of the material and performance in the in class quizzes.
Therefore, although the use of vodcasts and ‘flipping the classroom’ did result in an improvement in exam grades (and, by extrapolation, student learning) relative to a class which only received traditional didactic lectures the year before, this mode of information delivery does not seem ideally suited to this particular cohort of medical students due to the extremely compressed and intensive nature of their course.