The Flipped Classroom…what is this you ask? Well, with the advent of technological advances, some smart people out there have argued that wouldn’t it make more sense to learn asynchronously at home and then use the classroom as a forum for discussion and sharing ideas? This concept integrates nicely with the entire concept of web-based learning where idea sharing is paramount. “Teachers” are moving from the traditional roles of “top down learning” to what is likely much more important role – to help facilitate students finding answers themselves. Historically, teachers/lecturers read off slides (or powerpoint) to a passive audience. This is a pervasive teaching method in medical education – which is shocking! Why do medical trainees with often more than 5 years of post graduate education (and have spent 80% of their time in school) need people to read to them? These students are well educated…there is absolutely NO need to have some “teacher” regurgitate lecture slides to them. What educators need to do is integrate and encourage discussion, cooperation and application of learned material. Recently an innovative high school teacher in Colorado described his quest to “flip the classroom”. Homework is now done in the classroom, while watching the lecture is done at home. The beauty of this approach is that it is simple, innovative and capitalizes on the efficiency of technology. A friend of mine, Chris, who is a local high school teacher in Toronto introduced this concept to me and I think its awesome! I would argue that medical education needs to move to a realm of innovation, change and integration of novel technologies. We continue to teach in the same way that was advocated in the 1900s (back when Henry Ford was still tweaking the automobile). We should seek new educational approaches that make sense within our vastly different world from the turn of the previous century.
How can this be adopted within medical education? Let’s have lectures sent out ahead of time, and have trainees tackle cases or topics in small groups during traditional lecture times. Let’s facilitate discussion about controversial topics based on recent evidence they’ve reviewed. Let’s encourage trainees (myself included) to learn, think and be problem-solving clinicians instead of passively attending a lecture when they’re probably just changing their facebook status to “I wish I was in bed instead of attending this lecture”.
Check out this short video about how the flipped classroom has been integrated within the high school setting, then lets think about how it can work within medical education! Thoughts?