Flipped learning in times of pandemic
The world has changed, basically overnight. What was normal in January seemed impossible in March and challenging in April. This is also the case in education. Face-to-face classes were a norm, now they present a challenge and a risk. From busy hallways to hours on internet – the face of learning is a new one. This presents a challenge, for teachers and for students. And some have it easier than the others. Children and youngster seem to catch up quickly, adults and especially seniors however need more guidance, more support. And as if juggling between work, family and obligation was not enough, now they must slip into a role of a teacher as well. Supporting children on their learning path leaves little or no time to continue their own education. Wait, what education? Adult learning centres are closed, classes cancelled. Or maybe not?
What if there would be a way to continue? To learn at one’s own pace with hope when things go back to “new” normal, we can simply continue just in a different way?
Is flipped learning a solution?
Yes, flipped classroom could make that possible. Courses that stopped can continue online. New topics can be introduced, and face-to-face meeting can be done though Skype call or even through regular calls. Not as an online lecture but more as personal online meeting. Allowing enough time for individual support and help and to guide learners to the next chapter. Once face-to-face classes begin, the content can be checked, and potential issues discussed.
LUV in Slovenia has introduced the method in Intergenerational centre Velenje. Learners here are mostly seniors who belong to the most vulnerable group regarding COVID 19. At the same time this is a group that would never consider online learning, as learning is perceived as a form of socialization. But since the centre was closed and they were said not to leave homes unless necessary, they had plenty of time to test something new.
It started with a phone call, mentors asking them if they would be willing to use internet to learn. The course was The use of smart phones – one of most visited classes. Most said yes and emails were collected. Learning material How to join in zoom meeting was sent per emails. A week later a link was sent. The first session was dedicated to establishing a meeting room. It was a challenge, but it worked. Now the meeting room is used for simple instructions and materials are shared and discussed. Then participants learn by themselves, at their own pace. Sometimes with help of family members, mostly on their own. Later they meet again to check the progress. Mentors are available for help and support via phone and email. It is a modified version of flipped classroom, but it works. Of course, face-to-face meetings are something everyone is looking forward to, but this allows learners to continue their learning path in safe and regular way.
Learning is evolving and adapting to the need of learners, market and to the current situation. Flipped learning opens another way, more personalized one, and if anything, it is the personal approach and support that matters most these days. So, let’s start flipping!
Written by: Mihaela Orozel, LUV in Velenje, Slovenia