India has 900+ Universities and 50000+ colleges. Much of this growth has occurred in the last decade. With a Graduate Enrolment Ratio of 20-something after 70 years, a goal of 30% by 2020 and a vision to exceed 50% in 20 years, the Indian government seeks to double the current Higher Education Institution tally in the coming years. On the flip side, HEIs are under increasing pressure to differentiate themselves to attract higher enrolments as well as higher-quality enrolments. Colleges and Universities contend with higher input costs on one hand and competitive pressure on the tuition fee on the other. Wide-ranging reforms are on the anvil in the higher education space to catalyze Capacity-augmentation in-step with Capability building. A decisive, as well as Incisive reformulation of educational practices and pedagogical viewpoints, would be required should India realistically expect to achieve such audacious goals. Technology-led reformulation can contribute in several ways to aid these efforts.
One of the key pedagogical reforms is the introduction of the Flipped Class Model or FCM in HE classrooms. The FCM can be inducted in the traditional Face to Face class sessions as well as in the contemporary Tele-Education one with equal ease. Several macro and micro factors are driving the need for FCM.
- The industry is expecting incoming graduates to come equipped with not only domain awareness of legacy knowledge, but also a healthy exposure to new-age knowledge. They should have a demonstrated ability to contend with a diverse array of complex subjects within the short period of a semester. Industry is looking for aspirants who have demonstrated consistent ability to cope with the demands of a knowledge-driven enterprise.
- Graduates are expected to be self-learners, who can bootstrap themselves to imbibe new knowledge anticipated during industry induction and not await spoon-feeding of structured training.
- Graduates are expected to be well-versed in time and effort management, having emerged from the environs of a competitive academic setting.
Flipped Class Model holds several benefits for Institutions.
- In a nutshell, FCM is pivoted around provisioning of high-quality, curated video content directly to the student as pre-class preparation and content coverage. Students review and prepare for the classroom session beforehand. In the Class Faculty’s time is (better) spent uncovering and addressing student’s misconceptions, doubts, and learning gaps. Based on the cohort’s attainment, suitable post-class activities, learning progression or remedial mitigations can be planned/allocated.
- Spreading the induction of subject-matter across the Pre-class, In-class and Post-class exposures, HEIs hope to inculcate a deeper and immersive understanding of subject matter.
- It is anticipated that much of the cohort would attain the requisite level of understanding of lesson content before they enter the session, and the balance would be achieved during In-class interactions.
- Development of Learning Outcomes or target Competencies per topic/session is a desired prerequisite for the preparation of video lessons.
- Faculty can milestones, deadlines, and credits for content perusal and associated assignments when courses are provisioned via an LMS, Faculty can set reminders against milestones leading up to the class session. Faculty can view the progress and achievement of students in minute details at any time.
- In the Class, Faculty can assign higher-order questions, answer doubts, unravel misconceptions, discuss/debate/teach broader or finer nuances of the subject, as needed, and engage in the much-needed student orientation and motivation, etc.
- Based on the performance of students in pre-class and in-class exercises, they can be assigned follow-on exercises, readings, projects, interactions, etc.
- The flip class model shifts the onus of learning and rightfully so, on the student, and make them more responsible. They mold for themselves, the habits and attitude of a successful self-learner, which is critical to success in professional life ahead.
- A one-time planning and preparation exercise can be undertaken by the collective faculty body and then incorporated by all in their teaching plan. A joint effort will spread the load and make everybody accountable to the team. With the optimal approach the usual challenges of timely course coverage, non-uniform coverage by different teachers, inadequate student understanding and several others can be addressed by this model. Hereafter, the teaching stress will decrease substantially, and the Institute can orient itself to function with reduced resources and greater freedom.
Flip Class model may also be deployed for Optional or Elective credits, especially with visiting faculty.
A number of fundamental-mindset changes must precede the introduction of FCM in any pedagogical setting:
- Teachers must carefully prepare for FCM introduction. They must explain the reason and rationale for FCM to all stakeholders – students, teaching fraternity, parents and administrators. Such changes are always fraught with adverse pressures to stick to statuesque in the short term. The Teachers must keep the future firmly in perspective, and not be daunted by stray comments from any stakeholder.
- Teachers must not roll-back the program once introduced, nor should they dilute the laid down procedures. When implementing in a phase-wise manner, they must stick to the protocol for that phase. For instance, if the students had to complete the pre-learn, and the majority failed to do so, for whatever reason, the Teacher must not fall to the temptation of repeating the lesson in class. This will set the tone for future lectures, and disrupt the process.
- Teachers should be clear that it takes 1-2 terms for the FCM pedagogy to become the new normal, and once it does, it holds the wonderful promise of accomplishing much more gains for all stakeholders, especially students. All institutions who seek to uplift themselves and their learning cohorts in the learning ladder, beyond the plain ‘Remember & Understand’, to the level of ‘Apply & Analyse’ and then onwards to the stages of ‘Evaluate & Create’ should look at FCM.
For institutes not able to embark on a comprehensive Flip Class model at the outset, gradual introduction of Lecture Capture and Video Archives can be a big value addition to physical classes.
Many institutes are embarking on e-learning or distance learning initiatives for certificate, diploma or degree-granting programs, as a means towards higher revenues, corporate connect, faculty engagement, etc. 2WayLive features can be deployed in various combinations to achieve these ends.