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How can an LMS support a flipped classroom model?

The flipped classroom model of learning is still relatively little known. Put simply, it’s a way to maximise face-to-face time - students first watch video lectures, then when they come to class they get involved in discussions and group work, helping them derive real value from their classroom sessions. This means that learners don’t turn up to watch a lecturer speak for an hour before leaving to complete follow-up activities on their own. Some pioneering organisations are now implementing this model for themselves in a business context, ensuring time spent in face-to-face seminars is used productively for the best possible value for money. So how can an LMS support this flipped classroom model for businesses?

Getting prepared for the classroom

As university students may be required to watch a video recording of their lecturer before they attend an in-person seminar, employees may be required to watch an online video or complete an e-learning activity before their face-to-face training session as part of their blended learning programme. For example, this could involve learning the theory of first aid training before going to put their new knowledge to the test in a series of practical exercises. It may also involve watching a series of videos of customer service scenarios, before going to discuss their responses with their fellow employees in person. This ensures everyone comes to the sessions prepared, and with the same base level of knowledge, meaning time isn’t wasted going over the basics.

Keeping track of who's done what

A few people not completing the preliminary activities can be seriously disruptive back in the classroom, where tutors or trainers have to recap the material before they can progress. Learning management systems like Totara LMS enable course administrators to make certain activities mandatory before learners are able to move to the next stage. For instance, the administrator could require a learner to watch a certain video before they can request a place in a face-to-face seminar, ensuring everyone is up to speed. This can also be associated with a specific deadline, maintaining the pace of the training. Admins can easily generate activity and participation reports for this within Totara LMS for enhanced visibility.

Managing face-to-face sessions

Totara LMS is ideal for supporting flipped learning in organisations, as it’s easy to set up and manage face-to-face bookings. Learning administrators can set up one or multiple face-to-face sessions, which learners can then apply for. Their managers have the option to approve or decline the request, ensuring everyone has full oversight of who is doing what when, and learners have access to all the information they need, including start times, locations and anything they should bring to the session. The LMS can also send reminders to ensure people turn up, saving the business the cost of missed bookings. Attendance can be confirmed through the system, ensuring that the activity is marked as complete within Totara LMS to keep an accurate learning record.

Easy learning administration

One concern when it comes to flipping learning is that it will lead to increased administration for the people running the course. When learners attend a seminar, the instructor can verbally deliver instructions for the next steps. In the flipped model, these instructions must be given upfront, and any e-learning and resources must be set up and uploaded ahead of time. However, under the traditional model, people can easily miss information and it can be hard to keep track of who understands what. With an LMS, it’s easy for trainers to upload all the prerequisite materials, whether it’s video lectures, short e-learning courses, PDFs or images when it’s convenient. This also enables them to see who has accessed and completed what ahead of time for an up-to-date snapshot of where all the learners are.

Making the most of the community

The power of social learning is often overlooked, but it is often one of the most valuable elements of a learning programme. In the traditional model, learners may not understand something in a seminar and ask their peers, who may give them the wrong answer or confuse them further. Under the flipped model, learners can come to the seminar armed with questions which the instructor can answer there and then. This can also open topics up for discussion, and help people think about the subject matter from other perspectives. Ensuring this social learning experience is guided by the trainer ensures that learners stay focused on what matters and come away with an enhanced understanding of the content.

Have you ever considered using a flipped learning model in your organisation? Are there elements you’d like to try? We’d love to hear your thoughts. And keep an eye out for part 2, where we delve into more detail about the use of an LMS in the flipped classroom model.

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