Mastery Learning and the Flipped Class: A Resource Guide

Mastery learning and the flipped classroom concept are innovative ideas that are working their way through education channels and are gaining more and more traction all the time. I have heard few good arguments against them.

One argument I have heard does carry some weight though: “If instruction and lecture is done on-line it takes away the chance for immediately asking questions and whole-class discussions.” This could be true. However, class discussion can take place during other activities that are built into a class procedure. Warm-ups at the beginning of class can lead to discussions. Also whole class activities such as team problem solving and solving problems on white boards can lead to discussion. It is up to a teacher to find ways to let this happen and it takes some skill and daring. I haven’t mastered it yet but am making progress.

Whole class discussion are not a very real world activity either. Most real world problem solving and investigation takes place either solo with occasional interaction or on relatively small teams. Small group discussion and interaction are strong points of a self-paced program that requires mastery.

This is my first year of flipping and mastery and there have been a few complaints. Most of the concerns I have heard are based on what I would call “old school” thinking along the lines of “this is the way it was for me and that’s what works and that’s what I want for my kid, only I want you to do it better.” Unfamiliar things are often viewed with apprehension. This is understandable, since it is human nature to be wary of new things.

I have collected some resources to provide information and insight into exactly what is going on with the flipped class movement and why so many teachers are giving it serious consideration. I hope it will serve as a good starting point for parents too, whose children are more likely than ever to find themselves in a mastery learning and/or flipped environment.

If you know of or learn about any other resources, please let me know and I’ll add them to this post.

Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams

Bergmann and Sams are two Woodland Park chemistry teachers who hit upon the flipped classroom idea in 2007. They both are recipients of a Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching Math and Science. Their website Learning 4Mastery has more information about them, many sample instructional videos, and links to other information about mastery learning and the flipped classroom.

They sponsor open house visits to Woodland Park High School several times a year so others can observe mastery learning and the flipped class for themselves. They also organizes a summer conference to provide training in the methods and techniques of mastery learning, vodcasting, Camtasia, Moodle class management software, and on-line quiz management.  Jon blogs about his experience at The Blended Classroom – Mastery Learning at Work.

A particularly interesting post there is The History of the Flipped Class which is a great recounting of where the idea came from and how it has evolved.

Aaron and Jon are finishing up a book (working title – The Flipped Classroom) scheduled for release in Summer or Fall of 2011.

Follow @jonbergmann and @chemicalsams on Twitter.

The Flipped Class Network

Formerly The Teacher Vodcasting Ning, the Flipped Class Network is a gathering place for anyone interested in mastery learning and the flipped class. It has shown steady growth throughout 2010 and 11. When I first signed up there were about 250 members but membership now stands at over 500 teachers, administrators and others interested in the flip.

You can find videos, blog posts, and excellent discussions about how to flip a class. I personally have gotten a lot of good ideas and advice by being a part of this community. Highly recommended.

Daniel Pink on the Flipped Class

Daniel Pink is an author and what I would call a “business philospher.” I’ve read three of his books: The Adventures of Johnny Bunko, A Whole New Mind, and Drive, and I highly recommend them all. He got wind of the flipped classroom in 2010 and wrote about Karl Fisch’s implementation in his Daily Telegraph column called “Think Tank.” You can read what Pink thinks about it in his piece Flip-thinking – the new buzz word sweeping the US.

Follow @DanielPink on twitter.

Salman Khan on the Khan Academy and Potential of Flipping

Salman Khan is known now to just about every teacher in America (and I would think the rest of the world too) for his extensive series of well regarded instructional videos found at The Khan Academy. Khan recently used a generous grant from Google to upgrade the Khan Academy to include more interactive material. Khan recently gave a talk at a TED conference (Technology, Entertainment and Design) in Long Beach, California. The 20 minute video of the talk, Let’s use video to reinvent education, provides not only an overview of his academy, but makes the case for flipping the classroom.

Check out this great interview Charlie Rose did with Salman Khan.

Follow Salman Khan @khanacademy on Twitter.

Additional Articles and Videos on Mastery Learning and the Flipped Class

Maybe I’ll put these in alphabetical order someday or perhaps organize them by date. In the mean time, newest finds are added to the top of the list.

Opportunity to Succeed” – Brian Bennett offers some reflection after his presentation of the flipped class and mastery learning models of instruction at the EARCOS Teacher’s Conference in Malaysia this past March.

Going All In On the Flipped Class” – A guest post by Greg Green right here at Mister McIntosh Says wherein he gives the rationale for moving his entire high school to the flipped model.

First Post-Flip Tests” – A post from a teacher discussing the results of the first class exams completed after flipping her classes.

The Flipped High School” – Brian Bennet’s informative discussion about a Detroit high school that is going 100% flip.

Flipped Classroom – what it is and my reservations of it” – We need skeptics to keep things real. Thanks to David Andrade, the Educational Technology Guy, for his thoughts. Responses anyone?

Flip the Classroom – Every Teacher Should Do This” -Well maybe not every teacher but still… An enthusiastic endorsement from UK resident Donald Clark.

The Flipped Class Webinar” – Teacher Aubrey recounts her experience attending a Bergmann & Sams webinar on the flipped class.

Khan Academy and the Mythical Math Cure” – Very interesting (long) post about the value and effectiveness of video instruction with many intelligent comments. Not exactly about the flip, but quite relevant none the less.

Why I am skeptical of Sal Khan” – A post by Brian Bennett worrying that the flipped class will become or is becoming a fad and will lose effectiveness if not done well.

10 Tools to Help you Flip Your Classroom” – A helpful post by John Sowash listing some of the tools he has found useful in flipping his high school Anatomy & Physiology class.

Students enjoy self-directed pace, technology in ‘flipped classrooms’ experiment” – Monroe High School chemistry teacher Marc Drougel is “flipping” his classroom. (Free registration required).

3 Keys to a Flipped Classroom” – David Truss makes some points about thinking a few things through before diving into the flip.

Flipped Classrooms” – Joel Heinrichs, CEO of Lightspeed Systems, asks “What do you think? Do you think this type of instruction could be beneficial in your school? Have you tried it? How can we help?”

Flipping the classroom- What I’m doing” – A blog post by Eric Biederbeck about how he came to go the flipped route and how it’s working for him. Check out the comments too.

How the Flipped Classroom Is Radically Transforming Learning” – A Bergmann and Sams follow up post to their previous Daily Riff post that talks about how things are going in the world of the flip.

The State of the Flipped Class Model” – Bergman and Sams go in-depth with their latest reflections on the flipped class model.

The Vod Couple” – An article in The Journal that Jonathan Bergmann describes as “probably the best description of what we do.”

Teachers “Doing The Flip” To Help Students Become Learners” – An overview at The Daily Riff.

We See This as the Future of Higher Education” – A blog post by @karlfisch. He has a lot of innovative ideas for improving current and future education.

Bill Gates Riffs on Higher Education” – Another at The Daily Riff. A summary of what he says plus a video.

Flip Your Classroom Through Reverse Instruction” – A blog post from Michigan teacher John Sowash, explaining why he is went for the flip.

Flipped Teaching a Win-Win at MNW” – At Manson Northwest Webster school a college-level English class and calculus were scheduled at the same time. What is the solution? Flipping the class of course.

Reverse Instruction: Dan Pink and Karl’s ‘Fisch Flip’” – A 2010 article from Jonathan Martin appearing at Connected Principals.

Advancing the Flip: Developments in Reverse Instruction” -A Connected Principal update on the flip idea by Jonathan Martin.

The Flipped Classroom: A New Way to Teach” – A high school chemistry teacher tests the flipped concept with promising results.

The Fisch Flip in Michigan: Dale Eizenga on flipping traditional lecture and homework routines” – A fairly extensive article at Moving at the Speed of Creativity on how one teacher is flipping his classes.

I Flipped!” – A personal blog post from a teacher who flipped.

The effects of the classroom flip on the learning environment: a comparison of learning activity in a traditional classroom and a flip classroom that used an intelligent tutoring system” – Hey whadda’ ya’ know. A Ph.D dissertation featuring some research on the effectiveness of a flipped environment in college statistics classes. From way back in 2007. I haven’t read it yet, but I plan to.

“To Flip, or Not to Flip” – That is the question asked by Maryna Badenhorst. A good analysis of the pros and possible cons of flipping a classroom.

Terminal Velocity” – A blog post by educator/learner Brian Bennett giving his thoughts on pacing of material in a flipped class.

“The Backwards Class” – An article at The Journal by Dian Schaffhauser describing Stacey Roshan’s flipped AP Calculus class.

“Flipping Over the Flipped Class” – A post from The Dyslexic Professor about her graduate students’ conversation with Bergmann and Sams when they Skyped into her class.


The resources for this post were gleaned from  Learning4Mastery, Teachers “Doing The Flip” To Help Students Become Learners, and Flipping the classroom for mastery learning, as well as from a web search.

  1. Pingback: Flipping the Classroom « techchef4u

  2. This is a great list of resources on the flipped classroom! I’m glad that my blog posts were helpful. I recently led a PD workshop on the Flipped Classroom model. I put together a Google Site that contains many resources which I am happy to share:

  3. Pingback: Mister McIntosh Says - Mastery Learning and the Flipped Class: A Resource Guide | Vodcasting and flipped classroom |

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