Staff development is evolving. Could flipped learning, and its alternate distribution of training time, be more efficient for some of your corporate training situations? Would it help learners better retain and apply the information presented?
The amount companies spend on training employees is rising. From onboarding new hires to building the skills of existing workers, staff training is credited with improving motivation and innovation and reducing turnover.
And, while organizations truly can’t afford to remain static, the nature of corporate training is getting a closer look. Because exposure to new information isn’t the real point of training—it’s retention and application.
Let’s start with a look back….
Ever heard of the “Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve”? This memory study from the late 1800s shows the loss of newly learned information over time. Specifically, if we make no attempt to retain it, within 24 hours we forget half the new information we hear or see … and it just gets worse from there. This is the forgetting curve.
Sixty years later, Edgar Dale toyed with the “Cone of Experience” concept, linking how much people remember with how they encounter the information … kind of a common sense concept that direct experience (rather than a passive presentation) leads to more effective learning and retention.
And now “flipped learning” enters the scene … starting in K-12 education, moving to universities and now the corporate world. Flipped learning reverses the traditional in-class lecture followed by homework. Instead, learners get exposure to the material before the face-to-face training session (on their own time) (monster.com). Classroom time is instead devoted to hands-on, problem-solving, instructor-supported activities (homework).
This more interactive type of training means the learner is now doing most of the upfront work and absorbing concepts at his or her own pace. Thus, the trainee has a better chance of remembering … and are supported as they attempt to apply the new concepts for the first time.
How does flipped learning work?
- First, consider how best to present new information and concepts. Which things need to be taught and which benefit most from individual exploration? Allow for this initial exploration by having employees watch a video lecture, explore online materials (reading, watching, listening) on their own time and at their own pace. Ensure this initial prep is completed with a quiz or the ability to register or participate in the next step.
- Next, allow employees to make meaning out of this initial information. This could be handled in the beginning portion of the training with a Q&A session. Or, set up a networking group or discussion board where everyone included in the training could interact once they’ve consumed the assigned information.
- Because learners initially explore the topic on their own, face-to-face training time would be devoted to application—simulations or opportunities to practice and try out the techniques. In addition to enabling students to apply their learning, this process helps learners retain the information. Also, through this interaction, the trainer is able to gauge understanding of new concepts.
- Allow learners time to practice, apply, create. Expert trainers can lend support one-on-one, and in the process, evaluate mastery of the new information.
Consider the flipped classroom as a way to get more from your employee training. By letting trainees first learn material at their own pace with recorded lectures or reading material, both employees and trainers save time. Devoting classroom time to application activities allows learners to get individual attention when they need it most.