Focus on Real-World Problems with Flipped Learning

by | Nov 13, 2016

Einstein’s famous formula changed the world. We believe the following equation will change education:

FL + PBL = GL (Flipped Learning + Project Based Learning = Great Learning)

In a nutshell, lectures are done at home and projects are done in the classroom, though there is much more to it.

By definition, project-based learning involves the real-world problem that you are trying to solve. This is your hands-on learning piece that involves critical thinking and collaboration.

The flipped learning portion is the method that you choose to disseminate information pertinent to your goal in the PBL.

What we’ll need to do is imagine different forms that the flipped learning portion will take and how it can enhance PBL.


The Flipped Learning Equation

Here are some points to remember from Andrew Miller:

  1. Keep videos short—Your most basic component of flipping is the content videos. Keep them short and relevant.
  2. Collaborate online—Flipping doesn’t have to be just videos. If kids get hooked on their project, you’ll see them finding ways to work outside of class. They can use online collaboration tools and cloud services for this.
  3. Simulations and Games—Another way to engage students in meaningful content is through virtual labs like and games like Minecraft. These are fun and engaging and you don’t have to do much to get students to work with them. Make sure they are relevant and drive your project-based learning unit forward.
  4. Creating media—Another avenue for homework to take would be to create some kind of digital project, like infographics, video, podcasts, or a blog using cloud services for storage and collaboration. Students can access this at home whenever they want.
  5. Consider tech equity—One last thing to remember is the reality of  “haves and have nots.” Some students might have more access than others to digital opportunities, so take this into consideration. Offer time after school or library time to go online as needed.

At Khan Academy, a main hub for curated flipped videos, its founder Sal Khan says this about “Liberating the Classroom for Creativity”:

“For me… the deepest learning happens with project-based learning. But the projects can only be useful if people go into [them] with the core toolkit…so they can understand what’s actually going on in an analytical way. So every student working at their own pace – it doesn’t matter what grade they are, what age they are…some can work on things that are below grade level; some can work on things that are above grade level. But what [Khan Academy] does is…allows every student to make sure that they have at least the core basics down and gives data to the teacher on where there is need.”

And that is the key: “Where there is need” is a mandate for differentiation of which flipped learning can be a solution.

If you can harness the best of both worlds—the capacity for differentiation and accessibility of flipped learning with the student-focused real-world aspects of PBL—then you can have a unique combination that is unstoppable within your classroom.

Do you have experience with combining flipped learning and project based learning? Do share!


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