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A teacher's introduction to the flipped classroom


Flipped Classroom Overview

Remember when young students were excited about science? Maybe it was a baking soda rocket or the earliest form of chromatography where students used felt tip pens, paper, and water to dye paper. By flipping the classroom with Labster, instructors can recreate this excitement! 

How exactly does a teacher flip a classroom using gamification?

In a flipped classroom, instructors assign video lectures, reading material, and simulations as homework. Students can learn the concept at home before entering the lab during class. For example, students can do the Thin Layer Chromatography Simulation. They can learn the TLC technique at home and bring their knowledge into the lab the next day when they do the wet lab with their instructor and classmates.

Instructors can work directly with students on problems, projects, and labs in the classroom. Instead of students getting lost at home on science projects, they come to school equipped to collaborate with their classmates and instructors. Teachers can then take time to coach and fill in the gaps that arise. 

A study in Education Sciences used a Star Wars storyline to engage students in this flipped classroom gamified way of learning. “The course included 30 sessions (90 min) that were systematically organized in the following way:

  • The first 20 min were focused on discussing and clarifying doubts that could arise during the flipped period (before the face-to-face lesson). This corresponds to just-in-time teaching.

  • Then, the teacher developed new content in an oral-based methodology for no longer than 20 min.

  • The flipped and the classroom content were applied by doing some cooperative activity for at least 40 min (problems, little research, etc.)

  • Finally, a game-based activity was implemented to generate good feelings (Zamora-Polo, et al. 2019).”

History of the Flipped Classroom

The flipped classroom evolved from an interest in hybrid learning. Jonathan Bergmann and Andrew Sams were two high school teachers known for pioneering it around 2007. They recorded their PowerPoint lectures and put them online for students who missed class but found that students who attended class also used their recordings to review and reinforce learning (Center for Teaching Excellence, 2015).

Salman Khan then popularized the flipped classroom with his 2011 TED talk about using video to transform education. In the years since his education startup, Khan Academy has taught hundreds of thousands of students with video lectures with the support of philanthropists like

Bill Gates. Khan and Gates argue that flipping the classroom frees teachers to become even better instructors and work on projects they would not have been able to dedicate time to otherwise. 

Benefits of Gamified Flipped Labs

They can help science and non-science majors alike. 

A study that tested nonscience majors found that the gamified flipped classroom results “clearly showed a rise in the students’ motivational levels, an acknowledgment of good teaching practices, and an evident enhancement of felt positive emotions toward science teaching and scientific issues” (Zamora-Polo et al., 2019). Flipping the lab engages students in a way that brings back the excitement they had as kids.

Students can control their learning pace.

When assignments are given for students to do asynchronously, they have more autonomy over how long they take on each video, reading, or simulation. Students who progress quickly aren’t held back, and those who need to take more time can do so. 

They are changing the landscape of education.

Researchers agree that instructors must change the education landscape due to how Millennials learn. A study by Phillips and Trainor found that “Millennial students have a preference for interactive and experiential learning approaches. Flipping the classroom has become an increasingly popular approach to meeting the learning needs of this generation of college students.“ The flipped classroom model transforms the teacher from a pure lecturer to a coach (Phillips & Trainor, 2014).

They provide a more active learning experience. 

Students want to be involved in their learning process. Combining gamification with the flipped classroom experience enables more active learning. The study done in Education Sciences found that this combination of learning methods enhanced both emotional performance and motivation (Zamora-Polo et al., 2019).

Reflection Questions

  • How will you organize your class materials and content to best use a flipped classroom?

  • What sort of activities will you do during class time to engage students?


Khan, Sal. [TED2011] . (2011). Let's use video to reinvent education [Video]

Phillips, C. R., & Trainor, J. E. (2014). Millennial students and the flipped classroom. ASBBS Proceedings, 21(1), 519. 

Zamora-Polo, F., Corrales-Serrano, M., Sánchez-Martín, J., & Espejo-Antúnez, L. (2019). Nonscientific University Students Training in General Science Using an Active-Learning Merged Pedagogy: Gamification in a Flipped Classroom. Education Sciences, 9(4).

Centre for Teaching Excellence at the University of Waterloo. (2015). The Flipped Classroom. Retrieved from