Mixing Problem-based Learning into Flipped Learning to boost learning motivation

Flipped Learning is converting your lectures into the video for students to do at home and using class time for practice activities. That sounds kind of simple, but, I’m sure those who have been trying to apply flipped learning would counteract, “well, what if my students do not watch the lectures at home?”.

The reason is the students may not be motivated to watch your video lectures. They keep on asking themselves why they have to spend their time on those videos instead of having fun at home. They do not find the reason to learn.

That is when you got to introduce Problem-based learning (PBL) into your Flipped lessons. Because what PBL does the best is to give your students a reason to watch those videos. An intrinsic reason that thrives from the desire and curiosity to find out a solution to a given problem.

Here are my suggestions on how you embed PBL into a Flipped lesson

  1. Find a real world event that is relevant to your students and to the learning concept and make it the context of your lesson. You can even find inspiration in kids cartoons and TV series. For example, you can use the famous story the Hare and the Turtle to build the context to teach Algebra 35 – Systems of Linear Equations in Two Variables.
  2. Assign students into debate teams or consultant team, who roles are to find out the best solution to help each character that you introduce in the lesson context. For example, in the Hare and the Turtle story, you can assign two team of students, each team is responsible to coach either the Hare or the Turtle to win the race. This will give your students the motivation to watch the video lectures. They have to watch the video lectures and search more knowledge elsewhere in order to win.
  3. Assist your students as they work together. You should be there to help them set up the team, to direct them to different resources of knowledge and to answer their questions. Be a facilitator, a consultant, a friend to them as they approach you for assistance. You should also give them hints but but let them search and present the solutions they like the most.
  4. Save a day for the debate. Each team will take turn to present their solution. Let them comment on each other work. And if you like, you can invite other teachers or even parents to come as invited consultants. Sometimes, students may not want to listen to your solution, however, they may change their mind if the same suggestion come from an outsider.

Motivating students can be a difficult task, however, you can do it with a simple adjustment to the way you conduct the lesson: Giving the student a reason to learn, Setting up team of students to harness team power,  facilitating the learning process with patience and flexibility, and consolidating the lesson with a gathering of knowledge and people.

And remember to keep a smile even if you encounter mistakes. After all, flipping a lesson is a challenge for you, be happy and reward yourself as you accomplish flipping each lesson.

YouTube has plenty of videos that can be used to motivate students. Here is the one that uses the Hare and Turtle story to teach mathematical concept.

-Ngoc Vo-


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