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FLN Shares its Four Pillars of Flipped Learning

To counter common misconceptions and offer educators a practical framework for Flipped Learning, the governing board and key leaders of the Flipped Learning Network (FLN) today announced a formal definition of the term. According to Aaron Sams, FLN board member and coauthor of Flip Your Classroom: Reach Every Student in Every Class Every Day, "One of the biggest misconceptions is that the main component of Flipped Learning is the use of video … although video is a very important component of Flipped Learning, the most valuable benefit is the enhanced use of class time to get students engaged in higher-order thinking."

The FLN definition of Flipped Learning is the following: "Flipped Learning is a pedagogical approach in which direct instruction moves from the group learning space to the individual learning space, and the resulting group space is transformed into a dynamic, interactive learning environment where the educator guides students as they apply concepts and engage creatively in the subject matter."

Along with the definition, FLN announced its Four Pillars of F-L-I-P and a checklist of 11 supporting indicators for educators. Jon Bergmann, coauthor of Flip Your Classroom and secretary/treasurer of the FLN, said of the checklist, "Educators can use it as a frame of reference because it demonstrates what effective Flipped Learning looks like. It's a baseline — or roadmap — containing the principles of Flipped Learning." FLN's Four Pillars are the following:

Flexible Environment

Educators can create flexible spaces in which students choose when and where they learn. Furthermore, educators who flip their classes are flexible in their expectations of student timelines for learning and in their assessments of student learning.

Learning Culture

The Flipped Learning model deliberately shifts instruction to a learner-centered approach where class time is dedicated to exploring topics in greater depth and creating rich learning opportunities. Students are actively involved in knowledge construction as they participate in and evaluate their learning in a manner that is personally meaningful.

Intentional Content

Educators continually think about how they can use the Flipped Learning model to help students develop conceptual understanding and procedural fluency. Educators use intentional content to maximize class time in order to adopt methods of student-centered, active learning strategies.

Professional Educator

Professional educators continually observe their students, providing them with feedback relevant in the moment and assessing their work. Professional educators are reflective in their practice, connect with each other to improve their instruction, accept constructive criticism and tolerate controlled chaos in their classrooms.

Bergmann concluded, "We created the definition and checklist to help administrators and teachers alike get a better handle on what Flipped Learning really means. According to a survey from Project Tomorrow (2013), administrators are just as interested in Flipped Learning as teachers. So we see administrators as playing a vital role in supporting teachers. Flipping a classroom doesn't happen overnight. It requires buy-in, collaboration and commitment."

For complete details about the Four Pillars of F-L-I-P and a checklist of the 11 supporting indicators, visit FLN’s Flipped Learning definition page.

About the Author

Christopher Piehler is the former editor-in-chief of THE Journal.