We’ve talked a lot about flipped classroom learning; what it is, why it works, and how it can save your organization money on its corporate training programs. But is flipped learning right for your organization? Before taking the plunge and adopting this approach to training, you need to ensure that your organization is ready to flip.
Taking a flipped classroom approach to training may mean more than restructuring your training programs; it could require a shift in thinking towards learning in your organization. However, the good news is that by embracing flipped learning, you’ll be moving towards a training model which is not only more cost-effective but is also a more effective way of learning.
To help you work out if your organization is ready to flip, we give you three questions to ask yourself about your approach to corporate training.
1. Is your corporate training about more than just knowledge transfer?
In traditional training programs, learning tends to be conceptualized in terms of knowledge transfer. A ‘knowledge gap’ is identified, and expert trainers are contracted to transfer that knowledge to your employees. Traditional training programs often consist of sessions where trainers meet with groups of employees to pass this knowledge on.
But is this the best way of learning? We know we don’t necessarily learn something by being told it just once, even if at the time we understood what it was we were being told. How many times have you said to yourself in exasperation, “But I told them about this last week! Why are they still doing it the old way?!”?
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To get learning to stick, we often need to undertake tasks which require higher levels of cognitive processing, i.e. tasks which ask us to apply, analyze, evaluate and synthesize. Involving your employees in these types of activities during their training helps them to create knowledge and understanding for themselves, resulting in a deeper learning experience and more permanent shift in behavior.
To get learning to stick, we often need to undertake tasks which require higher levels of cognitive processing, i.e. tasks which ask us to apply, analyze, evaluate and synthesize.
Because flipped learning prepares the learners by providing them with content before their training sessions (be they virtual or face-to-face), this frees up the time in the physical or virtual training room for the types of tasks which require higher levels of cognitive processing and knowledge creation. Well-designed flipped classroom learning can also build this approach into the design of the pre-session training content. If you’re convinced that corporate training is about more than just knowledge transfer, then you’re ready for flipped learning.
2. Does your organization value problem-solving and critical thinking skills?
Flipping your training frees up time for activities where employees practice and apply their new skills, and to reflect on their learning. This kind of experiential learning is more effective than traditional training. In the same way that you wouldn’t teach someone how to ride a bicycle by showing them a PowerPoint presentation, teaching professional skills is rarely best achieved through telling someone about the theory.
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Importantly, using session time to get your employees to work through real-life case studies and collaborative activities helps them not only to learn more effectively the specific skill being trained but also develops much-needed critical skills. HR Managers are becoming more and more aware that today’s employees require training which encourages critical-thinking skills.
In a world where ‘knowledge’ is continuously streamed to our mobile devices, training that focuses only on employees acquiring facts and knowledge is fast becoming outdated. Employees need to build problem-solving and critical-thinking skills to help them navigate through and evaluate the reliability of the information available to them. If your organization recognizes the importance of boosting these types of skills, then flipping your learning can help you to achieve this.
3. Does your organization promote a training culture or a learning culture?
Stephen Gill identifies two distinct types of cultures within organizations. In a training culture, the general perception within the organization is that the responsibility for learning lies with Human Resources department, and with the trainers employed by them.
Managers identify knowledge and skills gaps, and trainers drive the learning process by transferring this knowledge to the employees. Control over learning is centralized, with employees being told what and when to learn. Intrinsic motivation for completing training courses tends to be low, as employees do not feel they have ownership over their learning.
An organization with a learning culture, however, feels very different. Here, the responsibility for learning is shared with the employees. The expectation is that employees, with the support of their managers, will actively seek out the knowledge and skills that they require, and knowledge and skills are shared freely amongst employees.
If your organization has or is ready for a learning culture, then you are ready to flip
Employees are provided with access to training and may receive a training budget to spend how they see fit to provide them with the skills they know they need for their job. Learning and personal development is encouraged and rewarded, and employees are motivated to take control over their own learning paths.
If your organization has or is ready for a learning culture, then you are ready to flip. Flipped classroom methodology empowers your employees by allowing them to take control of many aspects of their learning, and to personalize their own learning paths. By letting your employees assume responsibility for their own learning and development, their motivation to learn and develop skills will be high, and your organization’s training programs will be effective and efficient.