Designing flipped learning: an active blend

Fiona McCloy, Richard Beggs, Aine Macneill

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Flipped learning reverses traditional teaching; with students receiving learning content outside class, allowing for student-centred, deeper learning to take place in class. A review of flipped learning (Hamdan et al., 2013), outlines the potential learning gains of this approach. The benefits of active learning strategies include increased student engagement, learning and achievement. Effectively designed flipped learning is a subset of active blended learning - with active learning taking place in the physical and digital learning spaces.
This learning approach aligns with educational priorities at Ulster University. The Office for Digital Learning designed and delivered a Designing Flipped Learning training initiative for practitioners at Ulster University. 141 practitioners attended seven training sessions across four campuses, from academic year 2015/16 to 2018/19.
The training initiative involves an active learning workshop to design flipped learning, with pre-workshop digital activities to prepare for this - modelling best practice. In the workshop, practitioners sequence learning activities for the physical and digital spaces, to develop a flipped, active blend and student-focussed learning design. The Ulster Jisc-funded Ulster Viewpoints curriculum design framework (2012) is used to map the learning design - encouraging reflection, best practice, generation of ideas, discussion and planning.
Practitioners can work either individually or as a group, with a mix of staff from across the university at each session. They are encouraged to share ideas and practice across disciplines and to collectively overcome perceived challenges. Educational technologies are showcased that can enable this approach - including video content, regular quizzes, online community, data informed teaching and interactive apps.
An action research approach was adopted and evaluated, based on a questionnaire; discussions; and the learning designs created in the workshop. The questionnaire results show the training initiative is effective at supporting practitioners to implement flipped learning. 92.5% (n=114) of practitioners were more likely to flip, or further flip, their practice after attending the training. Comments include, "Great session – left me really wanting to develop my practice", "promotes deeper learning", "It has made me think of more creative
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - May 2019


  • Blended, flipped, active, Learning, HE


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