Is Flipped Learning Really that Effective? You Might Be Surprised

The results on flipped learning are in. And regardless of who you ask, the response you will most likely get is an overwhelmingly positive endorsement of this time-shifted approach to classroom instruction and learning. This finding results from Speak Up 2013 National Research Project Findings: A second year review of flipped learning, a white paper recently released by Project Tomorrow in conjunction with the Flipped Learning Network.

In the fall of 2013, over 403,000 students, parents, teachers, and administrators were administered the 11th annual Speak Up online surveys asking them questions about their feelings on flipped learning and the use of videos in the classroom. The general consensus among all groups of participants is that flipped learning can be a valuable and innovative instructional strategy.

Among those district administrators surveyed, one-quarter identified flipped learning as “already having a significant impact on transforming teaching and learning in their district.” Somewhat surprising, this group found that the effects of flipped learning surpassed other instructional trends including “educational games and mobile apps [as well as] online professional learning communities for teachers and administrators.”

While secondary math and science classrooms seem to serve as the most popular environments for flipped learning to occur in, according to the project’s findings, “an additional 15 percent of teachers and 40 percent of administrators said they were interested in ‘trying flipped learning’ this year in their classrooms and schools.” Of note is participants’ desires to flip instruction correctly. Those surveyed acknowledged that “they need more training to do this effectively.”

Certain considerations seem to keep some educators from flipping their classrooms, however. Among those which survey participants agreed on are concerns that “students might not have ‘[Internet] access at home,’ [teachers need] instruction on how to ‘make’ or ‘find high quality videos,’ and how [educators can] ‘best utilize’ the additional classroom time.” Nevertheless, an overall drop in concerns from last year’s report allude to an increasing acceptance of flipped learning as a viable alternative to traditional teaching methods.

Regarding current use of digital content in the classroom, “46 percent of teachers said that they are currently using videos that they find online within their classroom instruction, and 16 percent say that they are regularly creating videos of their lessons or lectures for students to watch.”

While a comprehensive approach to flipped learning requires more than simply delivering instruction through video, that educators are open to utilizing classroom time for deeper learning as opposed to instructional delivery is promising, especially if you ask surveyed students their opinions on the matter.

Of the more than 180,000 middle and high school students who shared their thoughts in the Speak Up 2013 surveys, “almost three-quarters of these students agree that flipped learning would be a good way for them to learn, with 32 percent of those students strongly agreeing with that idea.”

According to Speak Up data previously documented with other emerging digital learning trends, “the student interest in new classroom models often precedes teacher or even administrator interest or exploration.” In other words, “today’s students in many ways serve as a digital advance team for educators.”

The insights of the Speak Up 2013 surveys even have administrators looking at pre-service teaching programs as well. 41 percent of the school principals surveyed agreed that “pre-service teachers should learn how to set up a flipped learning class model.”

Though flipped learning is still in its infancy, there is no denying that it already has forward-thinking educators reconsidering how instruction should be delivered and what classroom time with students should ultimately be used for. As the Speak Up findings report, “The flipped learning model is gaining the attention of educators who are interested in improving student achievement and teacher effectiveness by leveraging digital tools to enable innovation.”

Have you flipped your classroom yet? If so, what has worked for you? Both Project Tomorrow and the Flipped Learning Network are excited to continue researching the flipped learning model and finding ways to support educators and administrators as they investigate this innovative learning approach in their schools and classrooms too.

Dave Guymon

Dave Guymon is a public online middle school teacher, edtech blogger, and the author of If You Can’t Fail, It Doesn’t Count.

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Monique Ortiz

This was very interesting to read thank you. I am studying to become a teacher now and it was nice to be able to learn a little more about flipped learning.


My opinion on the flipped model is the positive effects of the model may wear off after a couple of years. Will the model become so routine that the model will eventually lose its sparkle? It will certainly place more accountability on the students as well as parents )which by the way was the way it used to be when I went through grade school). Today's generation feel so entitled to everything, as opposed to past generations who had to earn their way through life. You have to earn your way through life. Hopefully the model will teach students the value of responsibility, accountability, and to be proactive. Kids need to drop the concept of feeling entitled to anything they want. Learning is more than just looking up answers on Google or asking Scire. Students need to be re-trained to be critical thinkers. Many of the skills that were once required to succeed in school seem to no longer be tuaght. God forbid a student has to answer questions by reading pages from a book. Students today don't seem to have a clue how to do just that. Gid forbid that students take a quiz or test without having a study guide or notes to reference while being tested. I believe too much technology re-wiring kids brains to be reactive and shortens their attention span. There's more to learning than just using an app and clicking all over the place. Students need basic skills such as reading, writing, and more in-depth critical thinking.

Dave Guymon

Thank you for taking the time to read my post. You have the fortunate opportunity to be learning about the field of education at a time that is, in my opinion, at a tipping point. Our beliefs, practices, tools, and conceptions of how students learn are all being questions and improved upon. I am glad to connect with you here and hope to continue the conversation on Twitter. Best wishes with your studies.

Dave Guymon

I appreciate you reading my article and sharing your thoughts about flipped learning as well. You make an interesting claim about the lasting impact of a relatively new pedagogy. I agree with you that flipped learning will certainly not last. However, my reasoning is because our learners' needs will continue to change. It is very dangerous to presuppose that anything in education is a magic bullet. When we do, we give up on our responsibility to foresee obstacles and opportunities for meaningful growth. I appreciate our dialogue and look forward to continuing the discussion with you in the future.

Merely A.

This was a great read! I was a student in a flipped classroom last semester for a foreign language class and a Global Understanding couse, which didn't turn out well. I had high hopes for the class, but I think that the concept of the flipped classroom didn't work well because my professor lacked preparation. I enjoyed myself, but other students ended up dropping the class because there was no structure to the course. As for my Global Understanding class, I felt that I was more engaged and was able to learn even more information just by having a flipped classroom. For now, I can see the benefits, but hope that professors and teachers put in a lot of effort into the planning of their flipped classrooms so that their students can really immerse themselves in the subject.

Luann Lww

Dave and Rich,
You are correct in that pedagogy is constantly changing. The point of reflective practice is to honestly evaluate, keep what works, and modify things that don't. Here's my view on "flipping."


Thank you for this article. I am in my second year of flipping my math class and I have created a flipped, inclusive, self-paced math class. Needless to say flipping has transformed the way I approach my class. I use IXL as my main tool for student practice. I think it is a great idea to begin teaching preservice teachers how to flip. I have a few logistical tips I could share with you if you would like to connect.


I think it is a matter of time before most schools start to implement a flip model, or something of the type. When Internet and portable devices are readily available it is easier to use. I have been experimenting with Versoapp to send my flips to my class. Kids are loving being able to respond and talk to one another. It is hard in the classroom with hands up to get every student's point of view. I recommend giving it a go if you haven't heard about it. A game changer. Great blog post Dave. Good read.


This is the very first time that I've heard of flipped learning. What a great idea! In this age of technology traditional instructional delivery through lecturing is well on its way to becoming obsolete. It's very easy to lose the attention of students if something isn't flashing before their eyes. I do share some concerns as well (nothing in its infancy stage is flawless). For example, I work in a low income urban school district where there is no access to the internet at home for the majority of the students in my school. Another challenge (I only speak about my school) would be increasing the level of parental involvement. That is not to say that parents aren't involved in their children's education, but the involvement is limited. In addition to training and workshops for staff, there would need to be some for parents as well.
I am a Pre-k teacher but would like some feedback on ways this flipped learning model may be adapted for early childhood education. Very interesting topic. Thanks for sharing!


I thought I had posted earlier, but I don't see my comment. Anyway...
What an innovative learning model! This is the very first time I've heard of flipped learning and I think it could be particularly powerful in this age of technology! It's getting extremely difficult to reach students without something noisy and colorful flashing before their eyes. I, of course share some concerns (nothing in infancy is flawless). Given the demographics of my school, access to the Internet at home would be scarce. Further, this model requires a level of parental involvement given that lectures and videos are to be watched at home. Parental involvement for many students is limited. I would suggest a training for parents as well! I'd love feedback or suggestions on ways to adapt this model for the early childhood classroom. Thanks for the great information!

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