With higher education being more accessible to the masses, the increased enrolment of students in classes has also created learner’s diversity in terms of ability and background (1). Furthermore, the problems surrounding effective learning are compounded by the fact that every student is unique and learns in different ways. To maximize each student’s learning, teachers need to be aware of different learning styles, and adjust their teaching strategies accordingly to best fit the students’ needs (2).
Different technological tools have been used by medical educators at different medical institutions and they are willing to restructure their classrooms in innovative ways. Advancement in technology has shifted the teaching to learning and the pedagogy from passive to active. It has moved from didactic lectures to modern classroom teaching where students are motivated to learn and are actively involved in the learning process (3).
In undergraduate medical education, educational practices must consider the following facts: the learner is an active contributor in the learning process; learning occurs independently and in collaboration with peers; prior knowledge and previous experience form the basis of acquiring new knowledge; learning should relate to the understanding and management of real-life problems; and the need to understand that application of knowledge is crucial to the development of lifelong learning skills. Medical educators need to adapt teaching and learning approaches that promote critical thinking, problem solving, and application of learned concepts for motivating adult learners. The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education “stresses the value of enhancing the quality and quantity of formal teaching, a challenging task due to increased time constraints for both trainees and faculty members.” (4) This new strategy, such as the flipped classroom” (FCR), have been used in a growing number of medical educational settings.
In several studies, blended learning approaches, like the flipped classroom which utilize online technology along with instructor-led active learning strategies have shown favorable results (5). This model of classroom instruction relies primarily on student preparation outside of class to use in-class time for specific kinds of active learning activities, such as Problem Based Learning (PBL) or Team Based Learning (TBL) (6).
Use of different technological tools provides an opportunity for educators to develop sessions and courses that improve student’s willingness to participate and be successful in the learning process (1, 7). Technological educational tools can enhance student engagement in the learning process, which results in meeting learning outcomes, and improves students’ satisfaction (2, 8).
The concept of flipped classroom is grounded in the theories of self-regulation and socio-constructivism. In self-regulated learning theory, the learner is actively involved in the learning process, however the socio-constructivist theory focuses mainly on discussions and interaction inside class that will ultimately promote higher-order cognitive skills (9).
Flipped class approach “flips” the traditional lecture. The flipped classroom model denotes a slightly different approach to in-class active learning, where students are responsible for learning the basic concepts on their own, usually through online videos. Teachers acquire this by either using their pre-recorded lectures or use ones that are already available on the internet. Teachers may also provide a few reading resources to study before coming to the class. The class time is then best utilized in a variety of active learning activities to reinforce concepts such as using clinical scenarios and case-based discussions (10).
Instead of giving didactic lectures for knowledge acquisition followed by independent assignments/homework, the learner performs independent, self-paced didactic learning for knowledge acquisition followed by classroom-based group assignments, discussion, and/or problem-based learning. Learner-centric group discussions or problem-based learning facilitated by an educator helps create a community of learning and allows for peer-to-peer teaching, dialogue, and support (11).
This approach allows educators to optimize their time and promotes educator–student interaction (12). Flipped classroom not only encourages students to take responsibility for their own education (12) but allows a flexible environment where students can access the resource material at their own pace and in their own time. There is limited data on the effectiveness of a flipped classroom model in undergraduate medical and nursing education. The impact of this innovative teaching methodology is yet to be explored on the assessment of students' scores. The rationale for doing this research study was to do capacity building of faculty in terms of developing and conducting flipped class sessions at the Aga khan University. It is anticipated that this approach will ultimately lead to increased student engagement and will keep them motivated to learn by completing pre-readings at their home. The face-to-face sessions can be used to discuss real life case scenarios to enhance problem-solving and critical thinking skills.