Sneak Peek from Academic Medicine: The Flipped Classroom – a Course Redesign to Foster Learning and Engagement

Later this month, Academic Medicine will post its published ahead-of-print articles. To tide you over until then, here’s a preview of an article by Jacqueline E. McLaughlin and colleagues.

The Flipped Classroom: A Course Redesign to Foster Learning and Engagement in a Health Professions School

Jacqueline E. McLaughlin, PhD, MS, Mary T. Roth, PharmD, MHS, Dylan M. Glatt, Nastaran Gharkholonarehe, PharmD, Christopher A. Davidson, ME, LaToya M. Griffin, PhD, Denise A. Esserman, PhD, and Russell J. Mumper, PhD


Recent calls for educational reform highlight ongoing concerns about the ability of current curricula to equip aspiring health care professionals with the skills for success. Whereas a wide range of proposed solutions attempt to address apparent deficiencies in current educational models, a growing body of literature consistently points to the need to rethink the traditional in-class, lecture-based course model. One such proposal is the flipped classroom, in which content is offloaded for students to learn on their own, and class time is dedicated to engaging students in student-centered learning activities, like problem based learning and inquiry-oriented strategies. In 2012, the authors flipped a required first-year pharmaceutics course at the University of North Carolina Eshelman School of Pharmacy. They offloaded all lectures to self-paced online videos and used class time to engage students in active learning exercises. In this article, the authors describe the philosophy and methodology used to redesign the Basic Pharmaceutics II course and outline the research they conducted to investigate the resulting outcomes. This article is intended to serve as a guide to instructors and educational programs seeking to develop, implement, and evaluate innovative and practical strategies to transform students’ learning experience. As class attendance, students’ learning, and the perceived value of this model all increased following participation in the flipped classroom, the authors conclude that this approach warrants careful consideration as educators aim to enhance learning, improve outcomes, and fully equip students to address 21st-century health care needs.

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One Comment

  1. Kemi Tomobi
    November 23, 2013 at 7:40 PM

    The issues of adult education, group dynamics, introversion vs. extroversion, and public speaking skills all factor into these series of discussions on the flipped classroom model. Adults need meaningful learning experiences. Otherwise little is remembered, thus little is learned and applied. Studies from neuroscience and learning reveal that there are many ways to make learning meaningful (concept maps, the arts, etc). The question is – should the learners create meaningful connections on their own time, or should it be a structured part of the curriculum with faculty time? From my experience in facilitating problem-based learning groups, I have learned that group dynamics can greatly influence one’s learning experience. With a great group facilitator and very structured roles, both introverts and extroverts can benefit. Then there is the public speaking factor, where communication is key. From my experience in Toastmasters and in giving several public presentations, I have learned that communication is not just about the person delivering the information, it is more about the person or people receiving the information. At some point, an effective teacher must strike the balance between sharing everything that is on their mind about a topic, and making the information relevant to the audience that needs to gain something from it. The moral of the story is that learning is most effective when it is personalized. That does not necessarily mean giving up the lecture or adopting only one form of learning, but it does mean incorporating educational best practices, some of which is drawn from neuroscience research, and aided by Susan Cain’s “Quiet” revolution.

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