#astd2013, Flip your training: How to design for practice with @KoreenOlbrish

During the afternoon, I had the privilege to sit in on a presentation about Flipped Instruction by Koreen Olbrish, a senior product manager for Lynda.com. She is passionate about immersive learning and is writing a book called Immersive Learning: Designing for authentic practice. I am a little biased about the topic of flipped instruction, it is one of my research interests. I was excited to see the topic on the agenda.

What does it mean to Flip?

Olbrish explained that in a flipped classroom setting lectures occur outside the classroom. Classroom time is better used to engage with the content. She noted we can consume content anytime we want and as often as we want, if it is available online. As educators, we can create on the go learning. She listed some tools we can used to create a curriculum around.

What happens in the classroom?

Olbrish stressed not to re-lecture what has been presented online. Instead, use the opportunity to practice critical skills. She used a number of questions to hone in on what should be done in the classroom:

  • What is the business problem you are trying to solve?
  • Who is providing the business problem?
  • Do the participants need coaching or practice?

She provided a great example to use when explaining to management why flipped instruction can be more powerful. She simply asks, if you are in a restaurant chocking, do you want someone who has read about CPR or actually practiced it to help you?

Virtual practice is as effective as, or better than, real-life practice. In an immersive learning setting, you can provide practice with feedback. You are then developing an apprenticeship model. With a flipped classroom, we can get closer to the apprenticeship model.

Olbrish provided some guidance on how to set up a flipped instruction classroom. First of all, you must identify what is correct performance; this is how your feedback loops and context are controlled. It is important to capture a benchmark measurement up front so you can determine if progress is being made. A correct performance model is what controls feedback. It is also important to identify the failure points ahead of time. Basically, what are the reasons why people are not doing it correctly already.

When designing the activities for the class, design for practice. Get students to focus on task. Make adjustments to the curriculum and activities as they are discovered.

Benefits of the flipped instruction methods include reduced classroom time, practice activities can be customized, and lectures only have to be given once thus freeing instructor to be a coach or mentor.

What happens when they don’t do the prework?

This was an interesting part of the session and it originated with a participant’s question. What do you do when participants don’t do the prework? Olbrish recommends not doing the training, until they are caught up. You don’t want to re-lecture, and they can’t be allowed to drag down the model. You can also deny them access to the class.  Before you do this, however, it is important that you communicate this well. Others in the session asked if the tools mentioned could track prework completion. When getting push back from leadership, simply ask them if they prefer to sit through lectures or practice skills.

Does flipping the classroom work?

According to research that Olbrish produced, 78% scored 4-5 on AP exam compared to 58% from previous year, and no one scored below 3. In another study, 80% passed first test up from 60%. Failure rate was reduced across subjects 19-33%.

Going forward

Olbrish recommended and challenged us to start by flipping one lesson. Start small and assess feedback.

Here are some resources to help understand more about this topic:

She did a great job! I personally agree with her sentiments on the topic.

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