Flipped classroom provides better exam results

Published Jun 25, 2016

Teachers who focus on interactive learning are supported by research on teaching and learning in higher education. New teaching methods can yield better results in the exams, according to evaluations at KTH.

More and more teachers at KTH, have tried to use the flipped classroom, the reverse classroom, to increase involvement in the classroom. The pedagogy is based on that students learn better when they are active and can draw their own conclusions in interaction with others.

At KTH, the method is included in the courses physics, mathematics and mechanics. Instead of traditional lectures, the teacher gives video-based briefings, available online, which students will take part in before the lessons. Time in the classroom is devoted to discussions and teacher-assisted problem solving.

Mikael Cronhjort, researcher on teaching and learning in higher education, assesses some of the experimental teaching method used at KTH - the results provide support for that it functions very well.

- Many students appreciate the flipped classroom, but some prefer regular lectures. We have several times tried to compare study results and suggest that the number of failed students at the exam decreased when teachers used the flipped classroom.

Increased knowledge of the subject

While subject knowledge seems to have improved. The latest survey suggests that they learned more than 10 percent more than students who received traditional instruction, according to a baseline test that measures their knowledge before and after the course.

- It is very encouraging to see that pedagogy works. I'm surprised, I did not think the difference would be so big. It's usually pretty hard to influence study results, says Mikael Cronhjort.

Interview studies show that students appreciate method. They like the flexibility that they can watch video lectures whenever they want, in peace and quiet and the opportunity to discuss and study the subject in class.

Social interaction

One explanation for the success of the flipped classroom is precisely that it promotes increased communication in the classroom, according to Mikael Cronhjort.

- It means that teachers and students understand each other better, that they can meet on the same level. Social interaction contributes to improved learning, knowledge takes root in a different way when you are active and interact with each other.

Mikael Cronhjort want to see greater use of teaching methods at KTH - in the context in which it fits, for example in the lower grades with large student groups.

- I do not believe in a directive that all teachers should use the flipped classroom. They must decide for themselves which teaching method that works best for them in a certain context; The most appropriate method depends on the situation - the subject, the student group and a number of other factors.

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