This small-scale study, undertaken by NFER and NESTA, revealed both benefits and challenges of implementing a flipped learning approach to mathematics teaching. Flipped learning involves the use of digital technology, such as video, to provide direct instruction on new concepts outside of the classroom. Students come to lessons already having a preliminary understanding of the topic, freeing up class time for the teacher to focus on other beneficial learning activities.
Nine case-study schools across England and Scotland piloted a flipped learning approach for around 4-6 weeks during 2014-2015. Each case study visit involved lesson observations, teacher interviews, student focus groups and teacher and student questionnaires with both a class using flipped learning and a comparison class.
Detailed and specific guides to implementing flipped learning accompany the research report.
- Where flipped learning was reported to work effectively, there was more time in class for active learning activities, such as: practising and applying mathematical knowledge; individualised coaching support provided by the teacher; collaborative learning; and whole-class discussion
- Flipped learning encouraged students to take responsibility for their learning, to learn at their own pace, to deepen their knowledge and understanding and to make faster progress than would otherwise have been the case
- Enabling factors and challenges included access to technology, homework culture, appropriateness of online resources to the age and ability level of students and teachers’ openness to the approach and capacity to implement it
- Most teachers in the study intended to continue using flipped learning, or aspects of it, as part of a varied repertoire of teaching strategies and to develop its potential further.