Flipped virtual classroom

The flipped classroom is an educational model whereas students prepare at home in advance on a new lesson topic by watching short video lectures or read resources on the topic. During the face-to-face session they do practice exercises, projects, and discussions with a teacher’s guidance. In this way active and collaborative learning and more in-depth rationalization of the topic by learners are encouraged.

The same technique can be implemented successfully in VEDAMO E-learning Platform – the student can make their self-preparation at home on VEDAMO LMS and then do the practical and collaborative work in VEDAMO Virtual Classroom.

The main advantage of this method is the reformulation of the time spent in a virtual environment. During the session the role of the tutor is rather the one of an advisor and facilitator who encourages learners by the implementation of team activities. The session transforms into a seminar during which learners can build on their skills by applying the new knowledge acquired independently, interact with each other in the completion of practice activities whereby they clarify and rationalize the study content.

Using the time of the synchronous session in VEDAMO Virtual Classroom for practice work with the newly acquired knowledge enables the tutor to identify the mistakes in acquisition better. Moreover, teamwork promotes social interaction between participants and stimulates them to support each other and learn from each other.

The effective application of the flipped virtual classroom is connected with good preliminary preparation by the tutor. The tutor needs to allot time for materials preparation (video lectures or electronic resources) and to organise in the LMS as well as to motivate students for working independently because in case they have not prepared, practice activities will hardly be fully feasible. Motivation may be triggered as students are given a case or a situational problem to solve by means of the study materials provided. It is advisable that questions are set in advance upon which participants can reflect while they acquaint themselves with the new study content. In the resource prepared the tutor can place words/sentences/images which are not in their appropriate position and assign learners the task of finding out which are the misplaced items. (In order to find out they will have to go through the whole content).

The flipped virtual classroom swaps the tutor and the learners’ roles. The main function of the tutor is to contribute to the collaborative and cooperative activities in the learning process. Learners are burdened with a greater responsibility for their own learning and are provided with a wider area for self-expression and experimentation. They tend to present themselves better when they are in control of when, where and how they learn. The tutor-made materials can be repeatedly reviewed by the learner, which fosters their individual learning tempo and respectively their better understanding of the study content. The focus on active learner participation is strong whereby participants become leading figures managing the activities in the learning process and the communication between them determines the dynamics of the synchronous session and the completion of practice tasks. Thus, the Virtual Classroom time is redirected from study content reception to its active application and collaboration among participants. All of this changes the balance of priorities – the focus shifts from a mere study content “coverage” to team-working for its complete acquisition.

Dr. Veronica Racheva is managing VEDAMO’s training programme. Veronica is a PhD in Theory of Education. She graduated from the Doctoral School at the Institute of Education, University of London and has a specialisation for a Virtual Teacher from the University of California, Irvine. Currently, she is a CEO of a Bulgarian K12 online academy, based on VEDAMO e-learning infrastructure. She is also a lecturer in E-learning at the Sofia University, researcher and author of scientific reports.