This research looks at how we can improve the exam results using Flipped Learning in class. Flipped learning is when students use physical space of the classroom for collaborative activities while the initial learning takes place in their own time at their own pace by watching videos, doing research and completing online tasks
Level 2 (16-18year old) students at a further education college.
The plan was to flip the classroom by providing online lessons to students that they can learn in their own time, at their own pace with no judgements and under no peer pressure. In-class time would be used to do activities that will help students build their writing skills for exams. I divided the course content into 8 parts and created 8 lessons, 8 worksheets plus two mock tests [10 week plan].
A typical lesson was google slides based which covered all the essential content as text, with links to videos, further reading and a google form practise test at the end.
The paper-based worksheets were designed to interleave the content that has been learnt from day one. The first worksheet had questions from lesson 1. The second worksheet had questions from lesson 1 and 2. The third worksheet had questions from lesson 1,2 and 3. And so on. The last two worksheets were mock exams and were conducted under exam conditions. The first mock exam was paper based and the second was google form based. The worksheets focussed more on writing skills (4/6/8 mark questions).
Students were given print outs of all the lessons and worksheets before the exam to help them revise.
Figure 1 – Results of survey 1 conducted in week 2 of the research.
The initial survey was done to compare the anxiety levels of students for exam units to what would it look like just before the exam. This survey also gave me an idea of how to keep students focussed throughout the research.
The first challenge was to ensure that students finish their homework before their lesson as without that they will not be able to work on the worksheets in class. I involved parents in this and stayed in touch with parents throughout the research. I sent regular text reminders to parents and students to ensure students finish their homework. At times, I had to send students who have not done the homework to a different classroom and then ask them to sit through their break time to finish the worksheet. This proved ineffective as they don’t want to stay back in break time so attempted the worksheets loosely.
The second challenge was marking and providing effective feedback. As I was using paper based worksheets, it was easier to see and guide them while they were writing their answers in class. But the marking load was so much and that I couldn’t keep up with it. I tried using group/peer feedback in the later weeks, but this didn’t give me understanding of individual students and they were not as effective.
Another challenge was lesson timings. The group I saw at 9am or 11am did considerably well as compared to the group I saw at 3.30pm. By 3.30pm I was exhausted after marking and trying to provide individual feedback to 9am/11am group and students were exhausted too. None of us wanted to be in classroom after 4.30pm. This did affect the results as the four unclassified students I have, are from the 3.30pm group.
Measures of Effect
The above graph shows the comparison of exam results when Flipped Learning was used (in blue) to last year’s results when active learning was used (red).
The number of absentees reduced considerably as students were less anxious and felt more prepared for exam (see survey 2 below). Although none of the students achieved a higher grade as compared to last year when two students achieved ‘Merit’, there was a increase in number of overall students who achieved ‘level 2 pass’ and ‘level 1 pass’ in the exam.
Results of survey 2 conducted in week 9 of research
The second survey which was conducted in week 9 suggests that students felt they were prepared for the exam and were motivated to achieve higher grades. My colleagues also noticed a considerable difference in the environment on the exam day as compared to previous years. The environment on the day was very positive, students were revising and chatting positively.
Using flipped learning was a transformational experience for me, a tool to find out what my student needs are. I saw a significant boost in their confidence and motivation to sit for the exam. If the curriculum focuses on content and we need a culture shift to learners taking ownership of their learning, flipped learning can be highly effective tool to create a meaningful learning environment for students.
Next steps …..
It was only after the exam, I realised that some students are not very comfortable using IT. I assumed that they understand how to use various features of computers that can be useful in exam, as the exam was computer based. As my students have varying level of literacy and ICT skills. I would be introducing some kind of ‘ICT passport’ that students need to earn, before my next cohort begins this journey with me next year.
In conclusion, I think Flipped Learning can make teaching and learning in a classroom more productive and meaningful. For students it is like having a teacher on demand as they can access the videos and lessons anywhere. They answer questions in the privacy of their own life.There is no peer pressure or fear of being judged. For students, it is self learning at their personal pace. For teachers, it helps in making a correct evaluation of a student learning when used correctly with the right kind of technology.
I will definitely use Flipped Learning again. I will incorporate more technology next year. I will create interactive lessons using flipgrid, classflow and may be if I feel brave enough to video myself teaching the lesson as this will help me create a better connection with students. I think it will be a great help for ESOL students as well, as they can play the videos as many times as they want. For assessment, I will surely be trying various tools like Socrative, Edpuzzle, Kahoot, Wakelet, flipquiz etc for assessment to make it more fun and interactive for students, and to reduce my marking load!
This was my first experiment with Flipped Learning. As they say, we learn something new everyday, my journey is ON to learn more and more!!
[Please contact me if you would like to read the report in detail.]