Although “flipped learning” is the latest buzzword, the concept remains an uncommon pedagogical approach to traditional classroom teachers (Baker, 2000; Strayer, 2007). The concept has been developed over time with different terms: inverted or flipped classroom, flipped teaching, flipped learning. In fact, several disciplines have employed this pedagogy as their normal instructional technique for decades (Berett, 2012). According to Correa (2015), the beginnings of flipping can be traced back to the early 1990s mainly in math and science fields. Before the introduction of flipped classrooms, distance learning courses used lecture videos to present content (Hanaa Ouda, 2016). In the fall of 1995, with the emergence of an early edition of an online content management system (CMS), Baker was allowed to place lecture notes online, retrieve them to show during class meetings, stretch out classroom conversations and manage online quizzes (Strayer, 2007). Class time was then devoted for students to do applications of the content and answer quizzes. Baker, a media and communication professor, seems to be the first scholar who introduced the concept to conferences between 1996 and 2000, and coined the phrase “flipping the classroom” in a conference paper entitled “The Classroom Flip” (Baker, 2000).
Around the same time, Lage, Platt and Treglia (2000) originated and implemented a similar approach in higher education in an introductory economics course. They described the concept as ‘The Inverted Classroom’ and similarly had anticipated the new teaching and learning style whereby students would view lectures before class and spend their class time explaining difficult ideas and concepts and working together collaboratively in pairs or small groups (Lage, Platt & Treglia, 2000). They redesigned their introductory economics course after observing that the traditional lecture format was not a good fit with some learning styles. Therefore, they provided students with various tools such as video lectures, textbook readings and printable educational slides so that they would gain exposure to material outside of class (Johnson & Renner, 2012). This change in direction (often referred to as “reverse teaching”) places the main focus on moving tasks in space and time, instead of focusing on enhancing constructive engagement, improving student learning and increasing student centredness (Abeysekera & Dawson, 2015).
In 2007, chemistry teachers Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams from Woodland Park High School near Denver, Colorado realised that they were spending a lot of time getting students caught up on their work when the students were absent. They wanted to see a change in their students’ dispositions and academic achievement. To solve this problem, they developed the contemporary method of exploitation of online videos to flip education. They recorded their lectures using screen capture software and the students could watch the videos at home and then complete their assignments and labs in class with the guidance of the teacher. At the beginning of class, Bergmann and Sams (2012) highlighted the importance of having question and answer session about the pre-class video content as “…to clear up misconceptions before they are practiced and applied incorrectly. The remainder of the time is used for more extensive hands-on activities and/or directed problem-solving time” (p. 17). The flip teaching style allowed students to take roles as active learners and allowed teachers to become facilitators rather than lecturers. They found that their students developed a deeper understanding of the material than with a traditional approach and labelled it the flipped classroom model. Since then, they have published books and articles on flipping a classroom and developed the Flipped Learning Network (Bergmann & Sams, 2012; Bergmann & Sams, 2014; Flipped Learning Network, 2014). In March 2011, Salman Khan of Khan Academy used the term “flipping the classroom” in his TED talk (Khan, 2011). The talk has left a great impact on many people and this can be seen through the interest in the flipped classroom model that has been growing tremendously with new articles, press releases and blog posts on the flipped model appearing almost daily.
Gerstein (2012) defined the flipped classroom as a place where deep learning occurs through practising knowledge by solving problems, exploring advanced concepts and participating in collaborative learning. Similarly, Berrett (2012) published an article in The Chronicle of Higher Education magazine about how a professor at the University of Colorado, Boulder, flipped his evolutionary-biology class and enhanced the traditional lecture along with student learning. He emphasised that flipping describes the reverse teaching of the traditional college lectures. It can take the form of either interactive engagement, peer instruction or just-in-time teaching. Here, students are required to obtain most of the course information outside of class by watching the recorded lectures, listening to podcasts or reading related materials on their own. In other studies, Brame (2013), Phillips and Trainor (2014) and Talbert (2014) also confirmed that the flipped classroom is a pedagogical model in which the conventional notion of a course is inverted. Phillips and Trainor (2014) proposed the focus of flipped classroom should be on learning rather than teaching, with an aim to enhance overall interaction among students and between students and the faculty. Talbert (2014) further suggested that the term ‘flipped’ does not refer to the actual classroom, instead it focuses on the involvement of learners in the learning process. Furthermore, the pedagogy of flipped learning moves direct instruction from the group learning space to the individual learning space, leaving the group space open for dynamic, interactive learning where the educator facilities student application and engagement.