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Would a “flipped classroom” approach work for you?

The idea of the “flipped” classroom is that main content can be viewed and digested outside of the classroom. Training time (or webinar time, teleconference time, Skype time etc) can then focus on scenario based learning, team activities and further/deeper discussion and questions about the content.

While the concept so far is most talked about in the schools and higher education sector, there are clearly opportunities for adult education and agencies in our Public Safety Sector – both in the normal course of training and for professional development events.

Let’s consider some benefits and challenges.


  • With the promotion of flexible learning for members, having access to content to review at times and locations that suit individuals is a plus. Learners have time to reflect on what they are learning and to record any questions they have.
  • Material can include video, audio and interactive games to support individual preferences. Material can be reviewed as many times as needed to understand the content. Ideally this allows everyone to be at a similar place of understanding for when the training group gets together.
  • This is a way to encourage continued learning and professional learning after basic training is completed. Updates to protocols, new techniques and new programs can be shared in this way and even discussed on social media, before people attend PD workshops to practice and further discuss the content. It may even allow for refinement of materials and content before the day.


  • If learners for whatever reason haven’t done the prep before the group training time (think hectic work weeks, illnesses, lack of motivation or organisation) then time cannot be effectively spent building on the common knowledge. Very frustrating for any learners who did do the work and for trainers who have to change planned scenarios! This strategy requires strong commitment from the learners and setting of clear expectations by the trainer.
  • Trainers must resist the urge to “just quickly go over” all the content that should have been covered elsewhere, otherwise benefits are reduced and learners are less motivated. Why would they bother preparing beforehand if they know they are going to have to listen to it all again anyway?
  • Trainers must have the subject matter expertise and confidence to move flippedpyramidbeyond the basic level information. With time to reflect and engage, you extend past the standard basics of knowledge and comprehension questions of Blooms Taxonomy (click here for a free chart to help prompt higher questions) and start considering things like applying, demonstrating, predicting, judging. An area for professional development.
  • Trainers and organisers of PD events need to monitor time requirements. The flipped classroom idea is not a sneaky way to increase training time requirements. If learners have committed time outside of the shared session, then training session or PD session times maybe should be reduced to reflect this.
  • Setting up information for learners to access takes time and effort. For many agencies in our sector, this could be done at an organisational level using the intranet or Learning Management System (LMS), saving local trainers time and effort.

So what do you think? Is it already happening in your organisation? Is this something you could do? Would it work for you?


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