Exploring the pedagogical design features of the flipped classroom in undergraduate nursing education: a systematic review

BMC Nurs. 2021 Mar 22;20(1):50. doi: 10.1186/s12912-021-00555-w.


Background: In recent years, technological advancement has enabled the use of blended learning approaches, including flipped classrooms. Flipped classrooms promote higher-order knowledge application - a key component of nursing education. This systematic review aims to evaluate the empirical evidence and refereed literature pertaining to the development, application and effectiveness of flipped classrooms in reference to undergraduate nursing education.

Methods: A PRISMA systematic review protocol was implemented to investigate the literature pertaining to the development, implementation and effectiveness of flipped classroom pedagogy in undergraduate nursing education. Seven databases (Scopus, PsycINFO, CINAHL, ERIC, MEDLINE, Cochrane, Web of Science) were utilised to survey the salient literature. Articles were appraised with respect to their level of evidence, the origin of study, study design, the aims/s of the study, and the key outcomes of the study. A qualitative synthesis was then conducted to summarise the study findings.

Results: The initial search identified 1263 potentially relevant articles. After comprehensively reviewing the initial catchment using several analytical phases, 27 articles were considered for the final review, most of which were conducted in the USA and South Korea. A range of research designs were applied to measure or discuss the outcomes and design features of the flipped classroom pedagogy when applied to undergraduate nursing education. The review indicated that a common operational flipped classroom model involves three key components, namely pre-classroom activities, in-classroom activities and post-classroom activities, guided by two instructional system design principles. The review predominantly identified positive learning outcomes among undergraduate nursing students, after experiencing the flipped classroom, in terms of skills, knowledge and attitudes. However, a few studies reported contrasting findings, possibly due to the incompatibility of the flipped classroom pedagogy with the traditional learning culture.

Conclusions: Current evidence in this systematic review suggests that incorporating the flipped classroom pedagogy could yield positive educational outcomes in undergraduate nursing education. There are promising pedagogical models available for adapting or developing the flipped classroom pedagogy in undergraduate nursing education.

Keywords: Blended Learning; Design principles; Flipped classroom; Inverted classroom; Nursing education; Systematic review.