At a Glance
Instructors at Berks Career and Technology Center (BCTC) collaborated to conduct a Group Action Research project that tracked the use of the flipped learning instructional strategy in their labs.
BCTC’s differentiated observation system provides instructors the option to participate in alternatives to traditional clinical observations which can last one to two years. Action research is one alternative offered to instructors. It guides instructors to develop new skills and strategies in a format that encourages calculated risk-taking in order to search for breakthroughs in teaching and learning.
Six BCTC instructors conducted a group action research project to analyze the effects of flipped learning on student learning. By coordinating the research as a group, the instructors were able to pull together a larger sample size of students to observe the impact of using the alternative learning strategy than if they had conducted individual research. The participating instructors conducted their research in their individual classrooms while following a set of structured parameters that were established to ensure consistent, reportable data across the sample. The instructional technology coach coordinated the study, and the building principals oversaw it.
For the study, each instructor taught six lessons using the flipped classroom strategy and then tracked observations on student learning using the CTC’s learning management system. The instructors and the instructional technology coach met quarterly throughout the study period to review and discuss their research and observations. To read more about the purpose and structure of the group action research, click here.
The instructional technology coach notes the importance of establishing the schedule, documentation strategies and expectations upfront for all the participants so that the research occurs in a timely and efficient manner. At the end of the two-year study, they compiled the data to share results about the use of flipped learning and shape best practices used by BCTC instructors.
Several findings emerged from the group action research.
- Findings indicated the flipped classroom strategy improved student achievement on some specific types of content, but it did not correlate with increased student achievement for all content. By the end of the research process, the instructors identified which type of lessons worked better using the flipped classroom technique and which ones were best delivered using a more traditional format.
- Instructors observed that it required a substantial amount of upfront work to prepare the content for a flipped lesson but that once they created the lesson, it could be repurposed again.
- Students indicated they enjoyed participating in the flipped classroom model because it allowed for more lab-based learning time and direct interaction with the instructor.