In a digital economy, the nature of work is changing, and so are learning techniques to suit the requirements and desires of individuals who want flexible, collaborative, and digital solutions. While teaching and learning methods are always evolving, the Covid-19 epidemic has hastened the development and acceptance of learner-centered online alternatives.

Organisations have discovered that through creative online approaches they can deliver highly effective and scalable training solutions to CXOs and entry level executives alike. These trends in education are far-reaching and here to stay.

The flipped classroom

One such solution gaining momentum is the ‘flipped classroom’. This flips a more traditional model, where the learner is a passive recipient of a teacher’s lecture and then applies that knowledge independently in their homework and assignments to consolidate their learning.

Engaging with a subject at a deeper level (evaluating, analysing and so on) is more difficult for the learner, yet this is the part that the traditional model expects learners to do alone, at home, without the teacher’s guidance.

In a flipped classroom approach, the learner activates their knowledge in their own time, typically using online materials such as activities, videos, and texts; and in the class works with the teacher and classmates to apply that newly acquired knowledge with practice using real-life examples, critical analysis and peer review, group work, and feedback.

Teacher training project using flipped classroom

In 2018, a teacher training project was run using a flipped classroom approach for government school teachers across India.

Over 570 primary and secondary teachers took a six-week online English course to develop their English language skills. In their pre-class activities, participants studied communication skills through online video, audio, and text with interactive practice exercises.

In the classroom, participants engaged in meaningful, practical real-life communication scenarios with the help of their trainer’s facilitation.

Participants rated the acquisition of new knowledge and skills at over 90 percent. In pre- and post-course self-ratings of English skills, there was a jump of over 20 per cent in just six weeks.

External reviewers of this project stated, “That such outcomes have been achieved in a BYOD technology model for a Global South user group with little or no familiarity with online learning is a genuine breakthrough. TOPDI potentially marks a major turning point in the models for raising teacher skills in emerging economies.”

Studies in the US, India, and beyond have shown that the flipped classroom can promote student engagement and a greater personal accountability for learning. Further studies have demonstrated improvement in performance and grades for students.

The parallels with the core skills sought after by employers to futureproof their businesses are clear an increase in self-direction, responsibility for one’s own development and the nurturing of critical thinking skills.

Peer-assisted learning

Another training approach that builds on these skills and adds more vital core employability skills, collaboration and cultural fluency, is peer to peer learning, or peer assisted learning. This approach encourages students to work through concepts and material together.

This provides them opportunities to learn from one another, expand their knowledge and communication styles and build meaningful connections, under the teacher’s facilitation.

The affordances of online learning such as breakout rooms foster safe spaces for students to negotiate and experiment with new concepts.

(This is a slightly modified version of an article originally published in India Today. The original article can be found at https://www.indiatoday.in/education-today/featurephilia/story/how-learning-techniques-have-evolved-with-better-learner-outcomes-1859768-2021-10-01)