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Study Finds Statistically Significant Gains in Student Performance in Flipped Classroom

A Study Conducted at UNC’s Eshelman School of Pharmacy Shows Increases in Performance on Final Exams in the Flipped Classroom.

Flipped Class Study Echo360

Picture from the 9/13/13 article, “The Post-Lecture Classroom: How Will Students Fare?” in The Atlantic.

Over the course of several years, Russell Mumper, a Vice Dean at the University of North Carolina’s Eshelman School of Pharmacy, conducted a flipped classroom study funded by Echo360, a vendor of Lecture Capture software. Two separate articles based on its findings have been published, including “The Flipped Classroom: A Course Redesign to Foster Learning and Engagement in a Health Professions School” in the journal Academic Medicine, and an article in The American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education.

The study focused on three consecutive years of a foundational pharmaceutics course. In 2011, Mumper taught the course in a traditional lecture format, using Powerpoint slides. In 2012 and 2013, he “flipped” the course.That model looked like this:

“At home, before class, students watched brief lecture modules, which introduced them to the day’s content. They also read a textbook — the same, introductory-level book as in 2011 — before they arrived.

When they got to class, Mumper would begin by asking them “audience response” questions. He’d put a multiple-choice question about the previous night’s lectures on a PowerPoint slide and ask all the students to respond via small, cheap clickers. He’d then look at their response, live, as they answered, and address any inconsistencies or incorrect beliefs revealed. Maybe 50 percent of the class got the wrong answer to one of these questions: This gave him an opportunity to lecture just enough so that students could understand what they got wrong.”

Key results

Student performance on an identical final exam improved by 2.5 percent between 2011 and 2012, and then by another 2.6 percent in 2013, providing an overall performance improvement of 5.1 percent between 2011 and 2013. Students also preferred the flipped model to the lecture model – 75 percent of students in 2012 said, before Mumper’s class, that they preferred lectures, whereas almost 90 percent of students said they preferred the flipped model after the class.

While the increases aren’t staggering and the analysis is rather limited in scope, it is by no means insignificant. Additionally, this is just one of a growing body of studies supporting the enhanced efficacy of the flipped classroom! The following articles discuss multiple other studies and analyses:

So go forth and flip!

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