What is the 'Flipped Classroom'?

Flipped learning pedagogy stems from the premise of inquiry-based and egalitarian philosophy:
with the growing access to vast information through the internet, the traditional model of teacher as the sole steward of knowledge has become obsolete (Jenkins et al., 2017).

The flipped classroom is a blended learning strategy with the aim to improve student engagement and outcomes. It is not a new concept and can be equated with pedagogies such as active learning, peer instruction, case-based or problem-based learning, or, any blended learning strategy that requires students to prepare learning before they meet and engage with peers in purposeful activities.

As the Higher Education Academy (HEA) states, 'there is a huge range of different blended approaches; the balance between online and face-to-face components, and the integration of other methods, depends on the needs of learners and the context within which the learning is implemented.' (2017)

The key purpose of the flipped classroom is to provide a greater focus on students' application of conceptual knowledge rather than factual recall or straight transfer of information (See Diagram 1). Therefore the design of purposeful activities becomes

Structure of flipped classroom

Diagram 1: Learning opportunities of the flipped classroom (adapted from Gerstein)



The role of technology

The growing accessibility and sophistication of educational technologies opens up increasing possibilities for students to explore, share and create content. Technology can support flipped classrooms through the following affordances:

  • Capture content for students to access at their own convenience and to suit their pace of learning (e.g. lecture material, readings, interactive multimedia),
  • Curate content for students to gather their own resources.
  • Present learning maerials in a variety of formats to suit different learner styles and multimodal learning (e.g. text, videos, audio, multimedia),
  • Provide opportunities for discourse and interaction in and out of class (e.g. polling tools, discussion tools, content creation tools),
  • Convey timely information, updates and reminders for students (e.g micro-blogging, announcement tools),
  • Provide immediate and anonymous feedback for teachers and students (e.g. quizzes, polls) to signal revision points,
  • Capture data about students to analyse their progress and identify ‘at risk’ students (e.g. analytics).


Technologies to support the flipped classroom

The eLearning team at UQ support Technology Enhanced Learning through eLearning Systems, staff support and eLearning projects. Staff guides are available for a range of tools contained in the Blackboard Learning Management System (Learn.UQ) to support course design and e-assessment.

UQx is UQ’s design and development team that produces free Massive Open Online Courses as part of the edX global consortium. UQx has produced over 40 courses that can be re-used to complement on campus offerings such as Unlocking Your Employability.

The Centre for eLearning Innovations and Partnerships in Science and Engineering (eLIPSE) is a project team in the EAIT faculty dedicated to research and development in innovative technologies to support a range of teaching and learning needs such as flipped, active, blended, online and elearning. See more details of the projects here. Contact one of the eLIPSE directors to discuss a partnership.

Open Education Resources offer a range free and copyright clear resources to support your project. It is worth conducting an environmental scan of these before creating your own.

See the The UQ Library OER page for a list of resources.


In the following video, University of Queensland academics describe what the flipped classroom means in their context.

This video can also be viewed here.

Chickering, A. W., & Gamson, Z. F. (1987). Seven principles for good practice in undergraduate education. AAHE Bulletin, 39(7), 3-7.

Hughes, H. (2012). Introduction to Flipping the College Classroom. In T. Amiel & B. Wilson (Eds.), Proceedings of World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications 2012 (pp. 2434-2438). Chesapeake, VA: AACE.

Abstract: 'Flipping the classroom' is a pedagogical concept and method that replaces the standard lecture-in-class format with opportunities for students to review, discuss, and investigate course content with the instructor in class. There are many ways that a classroom can be flipped, but the underlying premise is that students review lecture materials outside of class and then come to class prepared to participate in instructor-guided learning activities. This paper provides an introduction to classroom flipping and the instructional design strategies for flipping the college classroom developed at one university.

Lage, M. J., Platt, G. J., & Treglia, M. (2000). Inverting the Classroom: A Gateway to Creating an Inclusive Learning Environment. The Journal of Economic Education, 31(1), 30-43.

Abstract: The ability of instructors to vary teaching styles in introductory economics courses is seemingly limited by time constraints. If an instructor wanted to lecture for those students who learn best via lecturing, conduct experiments for the experiential learners, give group assignments for the collaborative and cooperative learners, and oversee self-directed study for the independent learners, then he would need to increase student contact time fourfold. However, both the proliferation of students' access to multimedia and the advances in ease of multimedia development for faculty have created an environment where these layers of learning can be integrated without inordinately increasing contact time or sacrificing course coverage. We outline a strategy for teaching that appeals to a broad range of learning styles without violating the constraints typically faced by instructors at most institutions. In addition, we present student and faculty perceptions of such a course.

Sankey, M.D, & Hunt, L. (2013). Using technology to enable flipped classrooms whilst sustaining sound pedagogy. In H. Carter, M. Gosper and J. Hedberg (Eds.), Electric Dreams. Proceedings ascilite 2013 Sydney. (pp.785-795)

Abstract: This paper initially provides an understanding of what constitutes a flipped classroom model. It then provides a series of four case studies that describe the application of some different flipped classroom approaches to university courses, largely mediated by the use of online learning technologies. It demonstrates that these flipped classrooms are informed by constructivist pedagogy and highlights the role university teachers can play in facilitating their students’ engagement with learning. It also highlights that to be successful in this transition to a new mode of learning requires both a holistic institutional planning approach, one based within a coherent student learning journey model, and sustained development by a team of centralised support staff, including technology experts, librarians and learning designers. The paper concludes with a discussion of the implications associated with adopting a flipped classroom approach.

Zappe, S., Leicht, R., Messner, J., Litzinger, T., & Lee, H. W. (2009). 'Flipping' the Classroom to Explore Active Learning in a Large Undergraduate Course. Paper presented at the American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon.

Abstract: This paper discusses an instructional technique called the 'classroom flip' model which was assessed in a larger, undergraduate architectural engineering class. In this model, lecture content is removed from the classroom to allow time for active learning, and the content that was removed is delivered to students via on-line video. This approach 'flips' the traditional use of lecture and more active learning approaches. Lecture occurs outside of class, and more active learning, such as problem solving, happens during class. Assessment data was collected to examine students’ use of the video lectures and perceptions of the classroom flip. The students’ feedback suggests that while the active learning and additional project time available in class improved their understanding, they would prefer that only about half the classes be flipped and some use of traditional lectures should be maintained.