Flipped learning

The flipped classroom: what is it and what are its benefits and drawbacks?

The concept of flipped learning is simple- the teacher sends learning content to students to consume before they come to class, in class the student is then supported by the teacher in applying their new knowledge. Usually, this content is a recorded video or an audio lecture, but it could include reading. It is a type of blended learning where digital and face-to-face teaching are combined.

Popularised by Sams and Bergman in 2007, it is not a new concept. Arguably it has been around even longer as many disciplines prescribe pre-reading to students in advance of face-to-face lectures and tutorials.

Research in this area has demonstrated that, whilst students may need a short amount of time to adjust, they appreciate and enjoy learning in a flipped classroom.

How is flipped learning implemented?

This can vary depending on your setting and what you are trying to teach.

Many flipped educators have found success in sending students pre-recorded video lessons that outline, describe or show the main teaching points to learn at home in advance.

The students then attend a live session during which they can do activities that reinforce their learning by focussing on higher order skills.

What are the benefits of flipped learning?

  • It’s usually more engaging for the students.
  • Students can engage with teaching material at their own pace, spending more or less time on a concept according to their own needs.
  • Staff are able to support individual learners during class-time.

What are the challenges of flipped learning?

  • The inevitable adjustment time needed for staff and students.
  • The extra cost in time and money in preparing extra resources and planning.
  • Staff training would need to be paid and planned for.

Would you like to learn more?

Vicky Devaney, one of our Learning Designers, has made an online resource about flipped learning, why not take a look?

There are videos, case studies, further reading, a lesson plan template and many other useful items for getting started with flipped learning.


Bergmann, J and Sams, A (2007) Flip Your Classroom, Flip Your Classroom. Eugene: International Society for Tech in Ed.

Nanclares, H. H. and Rodríguez, P. (2016) ‘Students’ Satisfaction with a Blended Instructional Design: The Potential of “Flipped Classroom” in Higher Education’, Journal of Interactive Media in Education, Ubiquity Press, Ltd., vol. 2016, no. 1, pp. 1–12.

O’Flaherty, J. and Phillips, C. (2015) ‘The use of flipped classrooms in higher education: A scoping review’, The Internet and Higher Education, Elsevier Ltd, vol. 25, pp. 85–95