Multiple studies have shown that active classroom engagement and critical thinking/problem solving skills can lead to enhanced student learning, as measured by increased grades, student engagement, and reductions in content misconceptions . In a “flipped classroom”, the lecture and homework components of a traditional class session are reversed. Students read or listen to content at home while completing activities in student groups during the scheduled class periods. This works well in smaller classrooms where groups can easily be formed and managed. However, in many STEM disciplines, the traditional lecture is used in a large lecture class , as this format can provide core content to hundreds of students at once with only one professor, and economical to a professor’s time, with one PowerPoint/lecture needed. In addition, as many large lecture halls have immoveable seating, group work is not feasible. Finally, students are often resistant to this type of change, stating that they want the traditional lectures and not active, group work during class time . Blending learning describes an educational model where classroom time in a lecture format is combined with online learning, and in-class group activities . This video gives a good overview of blended learning: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=paQCE58334M
The blended classroom format usually uses smaller classrooms, but can be modified to allow for professors with large classes to use it, as we will see in this module. The key, in my opinion, is making sure that engagement with the online material is tracked or tested for, both online, and in class. This module will describe the experience of using a blended model for increasing active learning in ~250-student nutrition course, while still providing lectures and pre-class video and reading materials. The professor will discuss her experiences with using a blended classroom, provide student feedback on the course, and provide example course materials and methods to help others test this format in their courses.
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