Friday, February 24, 2012

Flipping the Classroom vs Traditional Lecture

Some blog followers might be interested in a recent post “Flipping the Classroom vs Traditional Lecture” [Hake (2012)]. The abstract reads:

ABSTRACT: Dan Berrett (2012a) in a recent Chronicle of Higher Education reported on “How ‘Flipping’the Classroom Can Improve the Traditional Lecture.”According to Berrett “Flipping describes the inversion of expectations in the traditional college lecture. It takes many forms, including ‘interactive engagement,’ ‘just-in-time teaching,’ and ‘peer instruction’,” all originating in physics education.

However, the chief criticism of Melissa Franklin, chair of Harvard’s physics department, is based on the intensity of students’ responses - the average score on a student evaluation of a flipped course is about half what the same professor gets when using the traditional lecture, she says “When the students are feeling really bad about required courses, it doesn't seem like a good thing.”

Quoting Berrett: “Liking the class is ultimately beside the point, Mr. Mazur says. He says his results from using Peer Instruction show that, on the Force Concept Inventory, non-majors who take his class outperform physics majors who learn in traditional lectures. ‘You want students to like class, but that's not the goal of education,’ Mr. Mazur says. ‘I could give them foot massages and they'd like it.’ ”

In this post I give a highly condensed version of Berrett’s report, into which I have inserted some hot-linked academic references.

To access the complete 29 kB post please click on

Richard Hake, Emeritus Professor of Physics, Indiana University
Honorary Member, Curmudgeon Lodge of Deventer, The Netherlands
President, PEdants for Definitive Academic References
which Recognize the Invention of the Internet (PEDARRII)
Links to Articles:
Links to SDI Labs:

“I point to the following unwelcome truth: much as we might dislike the implications, research is showing that didactic exposition of abstract ideas and lines of reasoning (however engaging and lucid we might try to make them) to passive listeners yields pathetically thin results in learning and understanding - except in the very small percentage of students who are specially gifted in the field.”
Arnold Arons in Teaching Introductory Physics (p. vii, 1997)

REFERENCES [URL’s shortened by and accessed on 25 Feb 2012.]
Arons, A.B. 1997. Teaching Introductory Physics. Wiley. information at Note the searchable “Look Inside” feature.

Hake, R.R. 2012. “Flipping the Classroom vs Traditional Lecture,” online at Post of 24 Feb 2012 19:51:14-0800 to AERA-L and Net-Gold. The abstract and link to the complete post are being transmitted to several discussion lists.


Roy Wright said...

You want students to like class, but that's not the goal of education.

Great stuff. I've been teaching elementary college statistics in a "flipped" sort of way for the past two semesters, and right now I'm getting some angry feedback from a number of students. In the mean time, average test scores and levels of real understanding are higher than I've ever seen in that course.

Richard Hake said...


Thanks for your comment. You and others might be interested in my post “Re: What if students learn better in a course they don't like?” [Hake (2006)].


Richard Hake

Hake, R.R. 2006. “Re: What if students learn better in a course they don't like?” online on the OPEN! AERA-L archives at Post of 29 Jun 2006 14:27:59-0700 to AERA-D, AERA-L, ASSESS, EdStat-L, EvalTalk, PhysLrnR, & POD. {Since I'm HTML challenged, you'll have to copy and paste the URL into your browser window.]