Flipping the Corporate Classroom

classroom-1Flipping classrooms is happening at almost every grade level in schools across the country. Yet I have not heard anything about corporate classes undergoing the same changes. In an educational environment where performance is the key, flipping a classroom makes perfect sense.

Flipping classrooms, for the uninitiated, is a form of blended learning in which students learn new content online by watching video lectures, usually at home, and what used to be homework (assigned problems) is done in class with teachers offering more personalized guidance and interaction with students, instead of lecturing. This is also known as backwards classroom, reverse instruction, flipping the classroom and reverse teaching.

Flipped classrooms allow learners to watch the lecture when they want. They can watch the lecture in one large bite, or break it into smaller chunks. An even bigger advantage is that you can replay and review the information repeatedly. In addition, the video online has no limit in terms of scalability. There is a great primer on using video for a flipped classroom from Adobe. Once you do the hard part – videotaping the lecture or presentation – the rest is easy. The hardest question is how you will use the extra time you and your students just gained from not spending an hour as the “sage-on-the-stage”.

The flipped corporate classroom can also create a Community of Learners (CoL) on the web that can virtually work together between actually getting together. Collaborating with other learners to solve problems or learn something new is when the real learning process begins. Then you can let the CoL graduate into a Community of Practice (CoP) to continue learning long after the classroom event is over.

I looked everywhere in Brandon Hall Group’s Member Center for case studies or even examples of flipped corporate classrooms and found … none. There was an article in Forbes about flipping the meeting, but not the classroom. This made me wonder why corporations have not adopted an approach that seems to be providing more real learning.

Dan Pink originally published the idea focusing on schools. His latest idea is flip everything, including corporate education. We invest an enormous amount of money on developing more creative, innovative talent and leaders. It makes sense to provide the most compelling, impactful, efficient and effective learning possible. Watch the PowerPoint slides or video on a computer or tablet at home. Then get together for a lively session of real learning. Having people take in the information on their own before a class, then spend everyone’s valuable time for real collaboration and communication, seems to be a better choice.

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David Grebow



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David Grebow