Evaluate undergraduate students’ experience in a synchronous online course that utilized flipped learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Use of Theory or Research
In studies using face-to-face courses, flipped learning has helped students become independent learners compared to traditional, lecture-based courses. However, studies investigating flipped learning rely on face-to-face courses and it is unknown if this model can be effectively applied to the online, synchronous learning environment.
Upper-level undergraduate students (n = 12) in an advanced nutrition synchronous online course at a midsize, private Midwestern university using Zoom software
In this online, synchronous flipped class, students read textbook chapters and/or watched videos prior to coming to class. Synchronous online classes conducted via zoom were utilized for applying material. Breakout rooms were utilized for team-based learning activities. Example topics covered in class include macronutrient and micronutrient metabolism.
Students completed 5 learning reflections throughout the semester. Content analysis was applied to these reflections to discover themes by two investigators.
Five themes were discovered from the reflections: dependency, peer support, metacognition, asking questions, and effort. Overall, students did not become independent learners and depended on the instructor to explain things to them; however, students did recognize they had room for growth in their efforts to learn on their own. Peer support using breakout rooms during class provided a safe space and much needed support and interaction, especially during a socially isolated time. While students valued the learning moments that came from asking questions, they largely relied on others to ask questions.
Even though students were able to grow and make strides as learners during the flipped, remote course, they never became fully independent learners. Utilizing breakout rooms for team-based learning may help students develop the confidence in asking questions and learning from mistakes. Additionally, compared to previous studies, students in this remote course emphasized the benefits of the team-based learning for social support and interaction.