Flipped classroom: How to motivate students

Published: September 24th, 2021

What’s the best way for students to learn in the classroom?

Is it the traditional format of a teacher taking center stage regurgitating pre-structured lesson material – time and time again?

Or is there a better way?

The answer to this question is up for debate and is outside the realms of this article, but one such teaching format that is gaining popularity and critical acclaim is the flipped classroom approach:

A classroom model that flips the traditional teacher-student model on its head, with some interesting benefits.

In this article, you’ll learn:

  • The flipped model’s meaning, what it is and how it differs from the traditional teaching models.
  • The tools and resources you need to flip your classroom effectively.
  • A step-by-step process for transitioning into the flipped classroom model.
  • The benefits of integrating it into the classroom.

And much more.

What is the flipped learning model?

The flipped learning model takes in-classroom learning and traditional homework and flips it on its head.

With the flipped learning approach, students do all of their learning at home (replacing traditional homework) using digital lessons, video, audio, Microsoft PowerPoint presentations and other home-learning methods. 

Then, rather than going to class to learn, a student goes to class to practice what they’ve learned at home in interactive group projects with other students – with their teacher as their side-by-side guide instead of instructing from the front.

What does a flipped classroom look like?

In traditional schools, educational content is delivered by teachers in the classroom with students taking that knowledge learned home with them, to then put it into practice on homework tasks. 

A flipped classroom will look very different.

In a flipped classroom, children work on problems at school and when they are at home, their educational content is delivered online.

Typically, flipped classroom learning will have children spending most of their time working through problems in groups, with peer-to-peer teaching amongst students encouraged.

Why flip a classroom in the first place?

With the advancements of modern technology and students having access to digital devices around the clock, children now do much of their informal learning online.  

Students have become much more familiar with learning in this environment, whether through blog articles, YouTube videos, audiobooks, or traditional textbooks.

Flipped classrooms replicate this learning model that children are familiar with and structure the in-person classroom teaching around applying new knowledge rather than purely consuming it.

How does the flipped model work?

The flipped model works by redesigning and re-shaping the traditional classroom format. 

First, a teacher must restructure their lesson material into a curriculum that students can learn from home, usually in the form of video content, audio, blog articles and suggested reading.

Students are expected to consume this home education in preparation for the classroom activities the next day.

Armed with their new knowledge, students will then use the traditional classroom to apply what they’ve learned in interactive group environments through practical problem-solving exercises supported by their teacher throughout.

Benefits of the flipped classroom approach

Every day, teachers worldwide give the same lesson in the classroom to millions of students around the country.  And every night, those same students sit over the same homework too, trying to figure out how to solve it themselves.

In the traditional classroom process, students acquire knowledge in the classroom then work on problems at home.

Swapping that around can have many benefits, some of which are outlined below:

8 Benefits of the flipped classroom model:

  1. Students can learn at their own pace: With all learning material in digital format, it allows the student to work through things at their own pace – rewinding, pausing, re-watching, and re-reading.
  2. Increased efficiency: Students consuming learning material at home allows them to enter the classroom prepared.  Any questions or comments can be curated ahead of time, ready for the student to interact and contribute when they get to class.
  3. Enriched lesson teaching: Knowledge without application is meaningless. This is where the flipped classroom model stands out by enriching lessons as more time can be spent on group work and interactive projects.
  4. Peer-to-peer learning: With knowledge acquisition carried out at home, it gives students the added benefit of peer-to-peer in-classroom discussion, which has been shown to benefit student learning.
  5. Focused teacher help: Typically, teachers engage most with confident students who ask questions.  Classroom flipping allows teachers to target the students that need help instead of just those who feel most comfortable asking questions about new material. 
  6. Better communication: Not all teachers are created equal, and just because you’re a teacher doesn’t mean that your strongest points are that of a presenter.  Flipping the classroom helps teachers leverage third-party videos to explain lesson content in better ways than might be possible individually, freeing them up to focus on teaching methods where they excel.
  7. Streamlined: Do it once, and never again. Once a video lecture has been recorded and published online, the teacher no longer needs to recite the same lesson repeatedly. This results in increased time for teachers to focus on their students’ needs.

How to motivate students in a flipped classroom

Keeping students motivated in a flipped classroom takes time and special consideration, as many children may be new to this learning format.

To motivate students in a flipped classroom environment, try implementing some of these ideas below:

Review class material: The quality and format of the home education lessons you provide play a significant role in your students’ motivation and buy-in. For example, if the lesson content you create is dry, dull, and uninspiring, chances are your students will feel unmotivated to consume it.

What can you do to make your lesson content more engaging? 

Why not try some of these:

  • Reduce the length of your videos: As a rule, the younger the student, the shorter the video content should be. Regardless of student age, try to keep the video content under ten minutes long.
  • Slides and transitions: Video content that transitions through slides, different camera angles, visual effects, etc. can help to keep students more engaged in the content they’re watching
  • Tonality, pitch, and cadence: Changing these when speaking on video helps to keep students engaged.
  • Avoid long-form text: When creating text documents as part of a lesson, try to make them engaging, conversational, and easy to read.  Keep paragraphs short, use good syntax, bullet points, lists, and pictures to break up substantial walls of text.

Checkpoints: Creating checkpoints within your lesson material such as online quizzes or Google forms that students must complete adds a layer of accountability on the students’ shoulders.

As students are forced to engage with the lesson content to complete the tasks, their motivation levels should see an increase too.

Adding a downside: Inevitably – just like traditional class set-ups – a percentage of students will fail to do their homework. Adding a downside to non-participation whereby the pain of not doing the homework outweighs the pain of doing it will help increase participation – with the knock-on effect of improved motivation.

Flipped learning tools and resources

Flipping a classroom successfully will require certain tools and resources to deliver lessons online to students at home. This is where the Promethean Distance Learning Bundle works perfectly for a flipped classroom model. 

Here are just some of the learning tools and resources you’ll need to flip successfully:

Video Camera: To deliver lessons virtually online, your lessons will need to be recorded. A smartphone should be sufficient, but a good SLR camera would be a bonus.

Screen capture software: You’ll need a way to record your computer screen for lessons too. Most computers have free inbuilt recording software like iMovie or Windows Movie Maker, which are usually sufficient. But if you’re looking for something a little more advanced, try Screenflow or Camtasia (both paid).

Teaching software: Presentation software will be vital for constructing and delivering online classes, and fortunately, there are some great free options. Microsoft is the leader in this space with PowerPoint, but Google has its own twist on things with their cloud-based platform Google Slides. Promethean also offers ActivInspire and ClassFlow (a free, cloud-based teaching software) for use in a flipped classroom model.

Appropriate devices: All students must have access to the necessary hardware to consume the lesson content. Always consider this when creating digital lessons. For example, don’t create lessons in VR if only a fraction of the classroom has access to such devices.

Resource hub: Students will need to be able to access all learning content. There are many ways to do this, from a simple email with links to the lesson material to fully-fledged online learning portals. 

As you can see the tools and resources needed to flip a classroom successfully can be considerable and the learning process to master each takes time.

That’s where Promethean – and our range of digital teaching solutions – can be of great benefit, reducing the need for so many different tools, streamlining the experience, and keeping everything unified in one place.  

We invest a great deal in our interactive screens and our lesson delivery software to deliver the best  in-classroom technology experience in the country.

How to flip a classroom

If you’re sold on the benefits of the flipped classroom approach, then you probably want to know how to do it.

Although there are many benefits to this approach, changing any procedures within a school will undoubtedly result in a level of push-back.

So below is an eight-step process to help you flip a classroom successfully:

Seven steps to flipping a classroom

Step 1: Buy-in

To have any chance of successfully flipping a classroom, you first need buy-in from students, parents and administrators. To do that, build up a case for implementing the method and outline the benefits to all involved. 

Step 2: Curate resources

Once you’ve got the go-ahead from parents and administrators, now comes the time to curate all the lesson resources: videos, online presentations, worksheets, quizzes, suggested reading, etc.

Step 3: Classroom management

It’ll pay dividends to invest time in organising procedures, building systems and managing expectations, as this learning style may be new and can take some time to make a complete transition. And remember, the transition can be done incrementally, one lesson at a time.

Step 4: Technology training

With a new classroom model comes new processes and procedures – especially when it comes to technology. So time will need to be invested in educating teachers on curating lesson videos, publishing them online, creating playlists, adding resources, etc.  

Not to mention how students will be able to access the content online safely.

It takes time to set everything up the right way, but the time investment early on will pay off down the track.

Step 5: Assign content for homework

If you’ve managed to navigate through steps 1 – 4 successfully, you’re now ready to take the first step in the actual flipping process.

This step involves assigning students homework.  

That homework might involve student access to video content, Microsoft PowerPoint presentations, reading suggestions, etc.

Step 6: Students work on problems in the classroom

This is where the traditional classroom structure takes a significant shift from teachers at the front of the class teaching to students problem-solving in groups together, applying the knowledge learned at home, under the teacher’s guidance.

Side-by-side support, instead of front-of-class instruction.

Step 7: Peer tutoring

One of the most significant benefits of the flipped classroom approach is peer tutoring in the classroom. To carry this out effectively, pair up students who’ve mastered a subject ahead of time with students further back in the learning cycle.

A win-win situation for all involved.


The flipped classroom approach takes the traditional teaching format and flips it on its head.

It allows teachers more time to spend with the students who need them, enriches the classroom experience through interactive group work and empowers students to learn at their own pace.

Will it work for everyone?

Well, that depends on several factors – the size of the school, resources, etc.  

But the fact remains that the flipped classroom approach is a powerful form of teaching, perfectly marrying the integration of technology in the classroom and at home. 

When it comes to advanced EduTech in the classroom, that’s where Promethean specializes, with best-in-class technology built by teachers, for teachers, to enhance the classroom learning environment and bring it into the twenty-first century. 

Are you ready to create a truly transformative learning experience for your students? Check out the Promethean ActivPanel interactive display. Request your free demo today!

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