Background: The flipped classroom is a student-centered approach to learning that increases active learning for the student compared to traditional classroom-based instruction. In the flipped classroom model, students are first exposed to the learning material through didactics outside of the classroom, usually in the form of written material, voice-over lectures, or videos. During the formal teaching time, an instructor facilitates student-driven discussion of the material via case scenarios, allowing for complex problem solving, peer interaction, and a deep understanding of the concepts. A successful flipped classroom should have three goals: (1) allow the students to become critical thinkers, (2) fully engage students and instructors, and (3) stimulate the development of a deep understanding of the material. The flipped classroom model includes teaching and learning methods that can appeal to all four generations in the academic environment.
Methods: During the 2015 academic year, we implemented the flipped classroom in the obstetrics and gynecology clerkship for the Ochsner Clinical School in New Orleans, LA. Voice-over presentations of the lectures that had been given to students in prior years were recorded and made available to the students through an online classroom. Weekly problem-based learning sessions matched to the subjects of the traditional lectures were held, and the faculty who had previously presented the information in the traditional lecture format facilitated the problem-based learning sessions. The knowledge base of students was evaluated at the end of the rotation via a multiple-choice question examination and the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) as had been done in previous years. We compared demographic information and examination scores for traditional teaching and flipped classroom groups of students. The traditional teaching group consisted of students from Rotation 2 and Rotation 3 of the 2014 academic year who received traditional classroom-based instruction. The flipped classroom group consisted of students from Rotation 2 and Rotation 3 of the 2015 academic year who received formal didactics via voice-over presentation and had the weekly problem-based learning sessions.
Results: When comparing the students taught by traditional methods to those taught in the flipped classroom model, we saw a statistically significant increase in test scores on the multiple-choice question examination in both the obstetrics and gynecology sections in Rotation 2. While the average score for the flipped classroom group increased in Rotation 3 on the obstetrics section of the multiple-choice question examination, the difference was not statistically significant. Unexpectedly, the average score on the gynecology portion of the multiple-choice question examination decreased among the flipped classroom group compared to the traditional teaching group, and this decrease was statistically significant. For both the obstetrics and the gynecology portions of the OSCE, we saw statistically significant increases in the scores for the flipped classroom group in both Rotation 2 and Rotation 3 compared to the traditional teaching group. With the exception of the gynecology portion of the multiple-choice question examination in Rotation 3, we saw improvement in scores after the implementation of the flipped classroom.
Conclusion: The flipped classroom is a feasible and useful alternative to the traditional classroom. It is a method that embraces Generation Y's need for active learning in a group setting while maintaining a traditional classroom method for introducing the information. Active learning increases student engagement and can lead to improved retention of material as demonstrated on standard examinations.
Keywords: Education–medical–undergraduate; Generation Y education; faculty–medical; flipped classroom; intergenerational relations; problem-based learning; schools–medical; teaching.