As we wrap up programs, some participants talk about enjoying the flipped class experience. I’d like to take a little time to answer the question, “What is the flipped classroom – especially at Authentic Journeys?”
Traditional classrooms entail a “teacher” or in the corporate sense, a “trainer” delivering content. This content is typically delivered from A to Z – meaning all content is delivered regardless if the participants need it or not.
The first element of our flipped classroom is that we share the learning outcomes and have the participants rank what they still need to learn or want to learn. We try to balance this with what was identified in the training needs assessment, so as to track ROI and on-the-job performance. (We enjoy tying learning to real-life practical outcomes that we can see on the job, today, not tomorrow or never.)
Based on the program that is selected during needs analysis, some teams also create and manage goal trackers throughout the program to measure their success. Depending on the program, they do it alone, via email with the facilitator, in 1:1 sessions with the facilitator, with their managers (tracking alongside 360 or KPIs), or other stakeholders as identified. Many mention that when they take their own learning in their hands like this it is really the first time in their careers they are tracking their learning and goals and seeing how they play out in the work environment with colleagues, clients and stakeholders.
The second element of the flipped classroom is how we deliver content. Most of our sessions require participants to work alone or in small groups in between sessions to do group activities, read and analyze information and share it in the next session. This way the facilitator is truly facilitating their learning. Also since most courses take place in an online Zoom classroom, this maximizes time in the session for the actual facilitation of learning and not taking time doing group activities during the actual session.
This accomplishes a few things for most teams we work with. The first thing this accomplishes is that they bond with their team, understand how their other teammates think, process information and get to know them on a personal level which is so important for a majority of remote and virtual teams we work with. As some participants mentioned, this also helps them learn from each other’s experiences (in and out of the session). Yes, while they need to balance this additional 30-60 minutes outside of sessions with work responsibilities, this can help some teams become more self-managing as they also learn additional meeting management, time management and stakeholder management skills.
This also checks off the box for NOT being too long in a Zoom meeting for one sitting. If group work was part of the actual delivery of the program, we’d have to be in the session for 2 to 2 1/2 hours as different people and groups need different amounts of time to process and showcase their knowledge. When they do it outside the session, they manage their time, manage their groups, and learn about the cognitive diversity and how to manage that in their smaller groups. They also have the flexibility to take more or less time to do their activity as per group needs and their own schedules, which doesn’t hold up other teams if we did the group work during the meeting/training session time itself.
It is rare that facilitators teach in a session. What tends to happen is that individuals or groups meet between sessions to do activities, debriefing them in the next session. The facilitator will analyze the group’s inputs, giving feedback and coaching in areas that need further improvement, while ensuring that salient information that wasn’t shared in the group work will then be discussed or “taught.”
0-10 minutes: Debrief on what participants tried out from last session (behavior changes and/or thought awareness exercises, insights on any group work). We introduce topic of the day and identify what participants would like to gain from today’s session.
10-40 minutes: Session topic of the day
40-55 minutes: Participants identify takeaways. Any prework or self-reflection work (behavior awareness or thought awareness exercise) are self-identified or participant identified.
For an interesting exercise on thought awareness, see this post.
Yes, we do use power points or visuals in the flipped classroom to keep on track during sessions, and more than that, most people get bored just looking at each other or the facilitator on the screen, so it’s good to mix it up with some images, visuals or videos. Sometimes, we also do show and tell so that we hold things up to the camera to share, as our programs are delivered online.
The best platform that we have experienced this learning on has been Zoom. Zoom has so many unique features that allow for breakout rooms, easy screen share, and virtual interaction.
Virtual interaction encompasses the multitude of ways participants can interact, even if they are shy and may not always speak up.
For example, most participants are encouraged to keep on their video camera throughout the program. Though in some cases, having it on for the start, end, and group presentations may make the most sense due to bandwidth issues.
Next, if a person doesn’t want to speak up, they can write in chat.
Zoom has a unique feature where you can write directly to anyone in the meeting in a private chat. Many learners use this to contact me with anonymous questions, which I address to the group without mentioning their name. If anyone is wondering if people use anonymous chat as a crutch to never speak up or be seen, this is not the case. We endorse inclusivity through having team members call on each other by name, share each other’s accomplishments, and find ways to add them into the discussion.
Also, even if a person does use anonymous chat, I have yet to see a person who has attended sessions through multiple weeks with me use ONLY anonymous chat. People tend to use it sparingly when they are not sure about their question, and that’s fine. We all feel that way sometimes, and it’s nice that this virtual platform gives people the option of being anonymous, but yet being able to share their ideas and questions without fear of intimidating feedback from peers or others in their team.
Unlike courses that continually have the same content month after month or year after year, our content continually iterates based on either the needs of the group (through the training needs analysis) or through learning we absorb from our participants who are interacting in their professional environments day in and day out. So, while the course outlines may have an evergreen on our website, how they are delivered tends to be highly customized to your group. We tend to work in an agile training environment, and through our goal-setting process, we are in a continual mode of holding retrospectives, analyzing our training backlog, and prioritizing what needs to get done to make the learning experience as current and as useful and practical as possible in the time we have together.
Participants walk away with practical things they can do today to make their work more satisfying. Get in touch with us to know more.
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