Medical schools are increasingly adopting a “flipped classroom” model. My school uses a flipped classroom model, although I didn’t know much about it when I started. Now that I’ve been studying and learning as a part of this model for a while, it’s worked so well for me that I wouldn’t want to learn any differently. Still, the flipped classroom comes with pros and cons.
What I like about it:
It’s easier to be prepared for class
The way our classes are set up, we have prep work for all of our classes that we have to complete before we show up for class. The prep work includes videos, readings, and other resources to help us understand the material. Then during class, we work through cases and problems based on the material. I personally really appreciate that rather than trying to learn in a lecture, which might not always fit my preferences and learning style, now I can learn on my own pace before class and come to class feeling prepared.
The discussions are engaging and helpful
I really enjoy the in-class discussions, based on certain cases and problems. In general, I feel that everyone in my classes contributes enthusiastically and with consideration of others’ opinions. We work through a case together, and the faculty leading the session helps point us in the right direction. Being able to apply the knowledge to solve a problem really helps me to remember key concepts.
This kind of learning model reduces stress
I highly prefer the flipped classroom model to the traditional lectures I had in undergrad. Back then, I found it much more difficult to learn—I wasn’t always prepared for lecture, so sometimes I didn’t get much out of class and found myself cramming material before the test. While med school still isn’t exactly “stress-free,” the flipped classroom level certainly allows for better learning and consolidation, so that I’m not cramming and stressing out before tests.
What can be challenging:
You have to keep up with the work
In order to be prepared for class, you always have to stay on top of work, since there is prep work for every in-class session. This can be challenging because everyone has off days or extremely busy days. One thing that helps me is that sometimes I’ll try to get ahead and do a lot of prep work in advance, so that I can have a few days where I know I don’t have to think about it.
It’s not always easy working with all of your classmates
During class, we’re always collaborating and discussing with our classmates. For us, we work in small groups and rotate throughout the year. The fact of the matter is that not everyone always gets along perfectly with their group-mates. Sometimes, based on disagreements or different learning styles, group-mates can have conflicts, and this can be a factor that makes it more difficult to learn. Still, this is completely normal. In fact, these kinds of situations are an equally valuable learning opportunity to work with others who might not see everything the same way.
These are some of my thoughts about the flipped classroom—personally, I think that more schools should be adopting this kind of model. I’m also definitely interested in learning about how other schools might use the flipped classroom or similar models.
Have you had similar experiences? I’d love to hear your opinions, feel free to leave a comment below.