Collaborative Research: Assessing the Impacts of the Flipped Classroom Environment on Student Learning and Motivation in Chemistry
In recent years, the instructional model referred to as "flipped" has become very popular, with a steady rise in faculty adopting the model to teach college science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) courses. This project defines flipped instruction as involving video lectures viewed by students outside of class time as the main mode of content delivery, and the implementation of facilitated problem solving and other active group activities during class time. Such flipped learning environments have been shown to improve students' performance in some studies. However, the evidence base related to this teaching model is currently quite limited. Therefore, this project seeks to better understand the connections between flipped learning environments, student learning outcomes and various aspects of students' academic motivation in the context of general chemistry courses at different types of colleges and universities. Since flipped learning relies on students' self-directed behaviors, in particular acquiring content knowledge outside of class in preparation for participation in active group learning environments, investigating how personal and course-related factors may support student motivation is paramount to understanding the potential of flipped classroom environments for enhanced undergraduate STEM learning.
This NSF Improving Undergraduate STEM Education (IUSE: EHR) collaborative project, led by a chemistry education researcher and an educational psychologist, will apply the expectancy-value model of achievement motivation to examine the complex dynamic between flipped learning environments and student motivation within general chemistry classrooms at multiple institutions of higher learning. In addition to measuring the changes in student expectancies and task-related values over a term of exposure to flipped chemistry learning, these investigations will account for variables such as a students' incoming self-regulation and their perception of autonomy in the learning environments. Since the flipped learning model allows instructors flexibility in structuring their courses, phase one will investigate a variety of flipped general chemistry courses at a range of institutions, with the goal of identifying common features of flipped chemistry courses and how these affect students' motivation and learning. Data sources will include classroom observations and artifacts, teacher and student interviews, pre- and post-motivation surveys, and assessments of students' learning of chemistry. The results of phase one regarding the combination of elements shown to support student motivation and learning will then be used to select a smaller set of institutions and instructors to conduct within and across course comparisons of student learning and motivation. During this phase, the project team will also investigate the equity of impacts for students underrepresented in STEM and across different institution types. Thus, the project is expected to significantly enhance the evidence base with respect to the use of flipped classroom environments in undergraduate STEM education and provide guidance regarding effective implementation for the many STEM educators who use flipped instructional models now and in the future.