Flipped Learning: A Solution for the New Standards

( Microsoft published this article written by Jon Bergmann on their Education Blog )

With the introduction of new standards across the United States there is an increasing need for teachers to prepare students for the rigor and complexity of these new standards. Previously, teachers prepared students for content standards which required them to know many topics on an introductory level and be able to demonstrate understanding of basic procedural techniques. Under the new standards, students must be able to apply what they know with deeper levels of complexity. They have to solve non-routine problems and think outside of the box.

The Challenge

According to a paper recently published called Teaching for Rigor: A Call for a Critical Instructional Shift (Marzano Learning Sciences Center, 2014), teachers are underprepared for the new standards. The paper describes what instructional strategies are actually being utilized in classrooms. The graph below summarizes their findings which they took from two million points of data.

Fifty-eight percent of class time is being used for introducing new content, and the vast majority of that time is given to direct instruction (lecture). Thirty-six percent of class time is used for practicing and deepening content, and only 6% is used for cognitively complex tasks.

There certainly is a need for students to learn new content, but if that content is only targeted toward lower levels of cognition, then we are under-serving our students. Students need more than just information. They need to learn how to critically and creatively think in this increasingly complex world which is in a constant state of change. And if we are going to truly prepare our students for college and career readiness, then we need to re-think how schools operate. Teachers understand this problem, but they need a model through which they can teach the new standards, and have their students spend more time analyzing and applying complex cognitive tasks.

Freeing up class time with flipped classroom learning

Enter the flipped classroom or flipped learning. Flipped learning is an easily adoptable model that gets the teacher away from the front of the room. When teachers embrace flipped learning, they can still introduce new content, but do so through teacher created videos which students interact with prior to class. Some teachers create these videos using screen casting software such as Camtasia and others build in interactive questions embedded in the video and use products such as Microsoft Office Mix. These videos and interactive learning objects introduce a topic to students so class time is maximized and allows for more time to participate in more cognitively complex tasks.

Flipped learning frees up class time for deeper learning. The strategy proves to be transformational for many teachers. It works because it is not that different from how teachers are currently teaching. It is not such a big step for a teacher who spends most of her time lecturing, to simply use some software to record her lessons. Once she records her lessons, the next question is: what will I do with my class time? For most teachers who embrace Flipped Learning, this is where the transformation takes place. Teachers realize that they can move students to deeper learning and engagement.

Once this basic transformation occurs, there are additional strategies which teachers can employ which will get students to go deeper. These include, but are not limited to: project based learning, inquiry, modeling, and mastery learning. All of these strategies have been around for a long time and many educational leaders have been encouraging their implementation. But the problem is that these strategies are not being implemented with great frequency. But with flipped learning, teachers now have the time to both explore and implement these strategies. Flipped learning is truly a gateway to get teachers away from direct instruction and get them to have more time engaging in higher order cognitive tasks with their students. A recent publication investigated how personalization of content can deepen student understanding. The ultimate goal is to make learning, more individual and more accessible for every student.

Resources to Help Teachers

There is a great need for teachers to learn how to implement flipped learning in their classrooms so that they can prepare their students for the realities of the new standards. The team at FlippedClass.com has worked with countless teachers, administrators, schools, and government officials around the world. We are seeing teachers transformed, and more importantly, students taking ownership for their learning and engaging in increasingly complex tasks. Here are a few resources and web sites about how to implement flipped learning:


Marzano, Robert, and Michael Toth. Teaching for Rigor. Rep. Marzano Research Labs, Mar. 2014. Web. Oct. 2014 .

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