The flipped classroom: a research-action-training project to develop an approach that will foster engagement, motivation and success

With the growing popularity of the flipped classroom and its potential effects in addressing current issues of motivation, engagement and learning at the post-secondary level, we conducted a design-based research-action-training project in which researchers, teachers and techno-pedagogical advisors from five educational institutions shared their respective expertise.

The project team implemented a variety of teacher training and research activities over a three-year period to support teachers in their appropriation of the flipped classroom and to better understand the effects of the system and teaching practices. Our results pertain both to the training and support system and to research into the flipped classroom.

The use of the flipped classroom is a considerable investment and presents numerous challenges.

Conclusion 1: The training and support system is an important vehicle for transforming teachers' pedagogical practices.

The training and support system introduced under the project led to a transformation of practices among teachers and techno-pedagogical advisors. For this transformation to be effective, the training and support system must include certain essential characteristics: 1) be flexible; 2) alternate between training and experimentation periods; 3) offer support tailored to teachers' needs; 4) rely on collaborative problem-solving; 5) introduce formal feedback from students; 6) encourage a process of teachers' reflection on their practice.

The measurement scales we developed or validated for teachers (self-efficacy, teaching preferences and approaches) and students (motivation, engagement and perception of learning) could be useful for guiding the professional development of teachers and its effect on students.

Conclusion 2: The introduction of the flipped classroom is part of a complex system dynamic where teachers face several challenges that lead them to considerably vary their teaching practices.

The research found the flipped classroom to be a hybrid teaching formula in which engagement outside the classroom is problematic for students with low motivation. The use of the flipped classroom is a considerable investment and presents numerous challenges: adherence to the pedagogical model; student motivation and engagement; the need for instructional planning, video design and classroom management; the transformation of pedagogical practices. In the face of these challenges, teachers end up diversifying their practices—which initially focus on watching videos at home—by enriching out-of-class activities and introducing active learning in the classroom, where teacher-centred instruction continues to play an important role.

Main researcher

Bruno Poellhuber, Université de Montréal


Research report

Call for proposals

Deposit of the research report: June 2020