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Flip it!
The flipped classroom: A course redesign to foster learning and engagement in a health professions school. McLaughlin JE et al. Academic Medicine 2014; 89(2):236-243.
Reviewed by Kyra Len

What was the study question?
This article is a description and evaluation of the redesign of a 1st year pharmaceutical course for pharmacy students to a flipped classroom.

How was the study done?
In 2012, The University of North Carolina (UNC) Eshelman School of Pharmacy redesigned their Basic Pharmaceutics II Course to a flipped classroom model. Traditionally this course was delivered in a primary lecture format and was transitioned to a flipped classroom model that included offloaded content, student-centered learning activities and appropriate assessment. Learners included students from 3 campuses, although the majority (140 of 162) was located at the main campus. The offloaded content, which was completed at home, included prerecorded lectures that covered critical concepts and readings. Student-centered learning activities included audience-response questions, pair & share activities, student-led discussions, microlectures and quizzes. Assessment included participation and performance on the student-centered learning activities and formal examinations. At the end of the course, the authors evaluated the course outcomes using a survey and by tracking final exam grades and course evaluation scores.

What were the results?
Students from the flipped classroom also scored higher on the final exam (165+13.34) compared to the traditional format in 2011 (160.06±14.65), (p=0.001). Students from the flipped classroom were also more likely to agree that student engagement and active student participation was important for their success in class. (They had to prepare for class to be successful.) Students strongly preferred the flipped classroom design (>80%) than the traditional model.

What are the implications of these findings?
This is an excellent detailed description of the redesign of a course from a traditional format to a flipped classroom model, and appears to be a suitable approach for 1st and 2nd year medical school courses.

Editor's note: This article is a good resource for educators thinking about undergoing such a course change - it describes the process they undertook both in planning the course (based on a literature review and multiple consultations with experts in both technology and pedagogy) and in implementing it. The pre-recorded content allowed the students to learn the material at their own pace and review on multiple occasions, if desired (SLB).

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