Flipped and Collaborative Learning


In 'Back in the early days'  I have touched a bit about my concerns of the most common classroom and what I had gone through during my class (practically during the first three years of my teaching experience): 

  1.  If the exercises and discussions are the keys for the students to better understand the subject, can we maximise this in the class?
  2.  Can we focus more on these activities (problem solving, discussions, reflection) in the class and let the students study the materials outside the class (before coming to the class)?

This was the idea to the concept of the Flipped Classroom or later appropriately called Flipped Learning.

This pedagogy style was first promoted by the Woodland Park High School chemistry teachers named Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams where, in 2007, they recorded their lectures and posted them online in order to accommodate students who missed their classes.

Since then, the community of educators adopting this method is growing and the effectiveness and the impact on the student’s learning are continued to be discussed scientifically.

The following movie explains briefly the concept of a flipped classroom.

Flipped Classroom or Flipped Learning?

Flipped learning is often misinterpreted as flipped classroom. While the latter can be interpreted to only ‘physical’ transformation, the former touches the core essence of the student’s experience in learning.

According to flippedlearning.org, the definition is

The flipped learning is a pedagogical approach in which direct instruction moves from the group learning space to individual learning space, and the resulting group space is transformed into a dynamic, interactive learning environment where the educator guides students as they apply the concepts and engage creatively in the subject matter.

The four pillars of F.L.I.P are

  1. Flexible Environment. It should allow students to learn anywhere and anytime. This also means that the infrastructures, either the content itself, the learning management system (on-line system) as well as the classroom must be suitable for both independent learning and collaborative learning.

  2. Learning Culture. By shifting to the learner-centred approach, the lecturer has to ensure that the students are now responsible for their own learning. By having the content studied outside the class by students, the lecturer facilitates collaborative activities in class to sharpen the knowledge of the students into greater depth.

  3. Intentional Content. The lecturer must design the contents for students, not only to develop the conceptual understanding, but also to keep them engage with the subjects. It must be ensured that the students ‘happily’ study the materials outside the class and they actively engage with collaborative problem solving activities in the class.

  4. Professional Educator. The lecturer must ensure that the flipped learning method must improve the student’s learning in a much more effective way compared to the traditional lecturer-centred approach. The lecturer must involve in a community where the pros and cons of the flipped learning method can be shared and discussed with colleagues in and outside the faculty and collaborates each other for continuous quality improvement. 

I created the following infographics to summarise the difference between the conventional lecturer-centred approach with the flipped learning approach.


I started to develop the interactive contents (animation whiteboard videos, HTML animation and iBooks) in 2015 for subject Mechanical Vibration (BMCM 3743). Since then with all the limitations, I begin implementing the flipped learning methods to my class. 

The flipped learning together with the collaborative learning approach were conveniently applied when the CLEAR (Collaborative Learning Room) was ready to be used. Intended for the student-centred activity room, the room is much more spacious than the usual classrooms we have in the faculty. It is equipped with eight glass boards around the walls, so that each group can scribble on the board during their problem solving and discussion activities.

In Semester I, session 2016/2017, I continue to apply the flipped learning and collaborative learning pedagogy for my taught subjects: Mechanical Vibration (BMCM 3743) and Numerical Method (BEKG 2452). I took the initiative to use the CLEAR room for the first time and the only lecturer who used the room for the collaborative learning in that semester. 

I have the interactive contents for the Mechanical Vibration subject (although it is not complete yet). For the second subject because this was the first time the subject was assigned to me, I had to rely only on the lecture notes.

On the first day of the class, I explained the concept behind the flipped learning approach to the students as mostly none of the students are aware of this pedagogy before. They may know the terminology of ‘student-centred