5 Powerful Benefits of Flipped Learning in PDHPE

flipped classroom flipped learning pdhpe Jul 24, 2023

Over my many years as a teacher, the one strategy that had the largest impact on my classroom was flipped learning (a.k.a flipped classroom). It can do the same for you. I found it transformed by teaching by:

  1. providing more class time
  2. deeper learning
  3. enabling better differentiation
  4. deepening my knowledge of my students
  5. making it easier to manage my classroom


Defining Flipped Learning

While many think flipped learning is when students watch a video at home before class and then come into the classroom to do further learning, it really isn't quite that simple. Here is the definition of flipped learning I use.

Flipped Learning is when students learn basic content and use lower level thinking skills, such as remembering and understanding, in the personal space (i.e. by themselves) and then do the higher level thinking skills, such as application, creation, and critical thinking, in the group space (i.e. in the classroom with the teacher around as well as other students).

With this definition flipped learning does not require the student to always engage in the content learning at home, nor does it have to be a video they watch. Within flipped circles, the "in-flip", is a type of blended classroom model where students will still learn the content on their own before they come together in groups or as a whole to do the more advanced learning with the teacher. Flipping your classroom provides huge benefits for both you as a teacher and your students with their learning.


More Class Time

Firstly, flipping your classroom gives you a lot more time in your lessons to do the engaging lessons that are rich in learning you probably have always wanted to do. You have time for analysing case studies, role-playing scenarios, and spending more active time in practical class. This comes because you no longer have to present to your class and waste time waiting for Sarah to stop talking, or for Paul to finish taking his notes. You can literally turn a 40+ minute presentation into a 15 min video. Now, even if they watch this in your classroom, you are still saving time. However, I much prefer my students engage in their content at home before they come, this way I get the maximum benefit of time.

An example of how to do this in a practical lesson might be to make a series of videos as a faculty that explain the rules and how to play each sport you need the students to be familiar with. You can then check their knowledge of the sport through a short quiz, so that when they arrive for PE you know they have a basic understanding of what they are doing today and can get them started much faster. You could also make clear videos on how to execute certain skills or even the expected process for how they wait for you at the gym.


Deeper Learning

Now that you have all the extra time back in class the result is hopefully deeper learning. This is done as the students now engage in application, critical thinking, creativity, collaborative projects or inquiry-based learning. Because the students are now arriving in your class with the basic knowledge they need, you can spend more time with them going deeper into the content, building connections and developing their independence as a learner.

The best part of this deeper learning is that the students have access to you while they engage in this. No longer do you have to send the deeper learning tasks home with the students as homework, instead they are doing it in the classroom with you. This means they can get help and feedback as they need it. They also have access to their classmates who can also help them and again deeper the learner through peer instruction and support.


Better Differentiation

Flipped learning helps students of all ability levels because they are in control of the speed at which they consume the content. If they watch a video, they can pause it to write notes, rewind a section that they didn’t quite understand or as I often do, put the video on double speed. This can be done with video, audio, or even just reading, as many people read and re-read at a different speed. This control allows students with different levels of pre-knowledge to cover the lower levels of learning at a faster or slower pace.

Flipped learning will even help students who struggle with English. They can slow down the videos, reread content, or turn on closed captions.  If you put your videos on YouTube it will automatically generate those closed captions, which YouTube will then auto-translate into multiple languages.

When it comes to the classroom, the level of differentiation is amazing. I would always have students answer a quiz as they watched, listened to, or read the content at home. I could then look at their quiz results before they entered the classroom and straight away differentiate the first 10 minutes of my lesson by doing the following:

  1. If the student hadn't done the pre-work or answered the quiz, they would sit at designated spots in the classroom to do the pre-work on their own and complete the quiz.
  2. For those who did the work but struggled with a section of the quiz, I would sit together and re-teach the content they had not grasped a good understanding of.
  3. The students who did well on the quiz would work together in small groups to do some application or to analyse a case study.

For those familiar with Dylan Wiliam's work, I essentially would use the quiz my students did at home as my hinge question to then guide what they did in my classroom.


Flipping provides a deeper knowledge of your students

Flipped learning will increase the number of interactions you have with your students as well as their interactions with each other. Because you are no longer standing at the front presenting for an extended period of time you are free to spend more time with your students talking with them, reading their work, and getting to know them as learners and on a personal level. 

Not only do you get to know them more through your classroom interactions, but you also get more data points by instituting these regular quizzes, which will highlight areas of weakness and strengths in your students. By using this data to differentiate your classroom, you will also be gaining deeper insights into your students as learners.

This increased knowledge of your students then allows for real differentiation because you will know where they are at with their learning, and where they need to go next, as well as being able to connect their learning with their personal interests. This then allows you to make the learning more meaningful by helping to connect knowledge and develop understanding through real-life connectivity.


Less Time on Classroom Management

Flipped learning changes the way you manage your classroom. Because you are no longer at the front presenting you will no longer need your students to sit still and be quiet for extended amounts of time. Flipping allows you to provide your students with more freedom to talk with each other, collaborate, and learn in more natural ways. Some teachers find this scary. Letting go of complete control when you are used to it, can make us nervous, but students will begin to enjoy the learning as you provide more engaging activities, giving them more practical lessons and opportunities to be successful in their learning. And simply by having more active learning happening you will have more students on task. As you are no longer stuck out the front you become more mobile. Just being closer to your students more frequently will help to keep them focused on learning.

Please note, however, flipping your classroom will not remove all of your classroom management needs or even the need to discipline poor behaviour. It is just helping to reduce it and making it easier to do. Even the ability to have the class continue to learn while you address something with a student will be easier because you are not the centre of attention in the classroom. 

There are of course many more benefits of flipped learning. It can lead to parent education, more time in deep work, better learning routines for your students, greater independence developed in your learners, more student voice and choice, and better communication with parents. It all comes down to how you choose to use your class time now that you have this extra 30 minutes or so to devote to higher-order thinking skills and deeper learning.


Flipped Learning Helps Absent Students

We all have those students who are absent from class more than we would like. They are absent for lots of reasons, such as sporting commitments, musical rehearsals, illness, or even disorganised parents. Normally, these students would be asked to catch up on the work by being given a bunch of worksheets or asked to read a textbook and make summaries. NOT with a flipped classroom. With a flipped classroom these students can still access all the content at home in the same way you delivered it to those who have been attending. They will obviously miss out on the more active learning that is happening in the classroom, gym, or outside, but they will still be getting most of the learning they would have received from a more traditional classroom approach.



Embedded Formative Assessment - Dylan William

Flip Your Classroom - Jon Bergmann & Aaron Sams

Flipped Learning - Jon Bergmann & Aaron Sams


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