WEEK 5-How Khan Academy flipped classrooms

“Flip your instruction so that students watch and listen to your lectures… for homework, and then use your precious class-time for what previously, often, was done in homework: tackling difficult problems, working in groups, researching, collaborating, crafting and creating.”

-Jonathan Martin, 3 keys to a flipped classroom

For the longest time in history,

Teachers have been following the Bloom’s Taxanomy, which basically explains how to lead students from basic knowledge retention to more advanced information evaluation.

Traditionally, learners begin with the most basic tasks of remembering facts, figures, and other information before progressing through the understanding of information, applying it in new ways, analyzing it to understand its parts, evaluating the information and supporting decision with it, and finally creating new information, a product , or a new point of view based on the original information (Overbaugh & Schultz, Bloom’s Taxonomy).

However, Khan Academy’s popularity has given credibility to the idea of the flipped classroom within the education circle.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Khan Academy, it is a non-profit educational organization created in 2006 by educator Salman Khan with the aim of providing a “free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere”.

The organization produces short lectures in the form of YouTube videos. In addition to micro lectures, the organization’s website features practice exercises and tools for educators. All resources are available for free to anyone around the world. #YouCanLearnAnything

Here’s a video to inspire anyone out there who thinks that they have no skills on hand.


Khan flipped the traditional model of learning through his interactive videos, which establishes dialogue and exchange of ideas between students and educators, regardless of their locations.

Lectures become homework and class time is used for collaborative student work, experiential exercises, debate, and lab work.

His videos extend access to scarce resources, such as specialized teachers and courses, to more students, allowing them to learn from the best sources and maintain access to challenging curriculum.

These videos also enable students to access courses at higher-level institutions, allowing them to progress at their own pace.

Bloom’s Taxonomy has been flipped to suit the widespread reach of e-learning in the 21st century, allowing students to explore and gain interest in the topic before working towards their understanding of the topic.

Now with the flipped model,the basic idea behind is that students start by creating something within the area that is being introduced. This is usually created based on the students’ tacit knowledge, and is similar to a pre-reading or prior knowledge activation activity.

For instance, Tom may want to try answering a Chemistry question on Khan Academy and is particularly interested in the “Acids and bases” topic. He may want to jump into the questions right at the start to test his knowledge.

He will then evaluate his answers by comparing it to professional examples from the field. Students are encouraged to analyze both their work and the professional examples. From the example above, Tom will check his answer after answering them to see if he got them right, analyzing where he went right or wrong based on the explanation.

Subsequently, he will determine formal categories that apply in both. Tom may realize the concept he applied was not relevant to a particular question and may refer back to the video to look for the relevant information. Educators can also come in at this point to guide students through their misconceptions.

At this point, a formal introduction of the underlying ideas or principles that have been discovered are introduced. Students conduct their own research into these ideas and formalize their understanding. Tom has understood the concept and learned to apply the relevant information to the questions posed through watching the interactive videos and asking his teacher for help.

Finally, it is up to the educator or students themselves to take the initiative and create their own graphic representations of the information/knowledge to help them remember.

This process is very much in line with inquiry or discovery-based learning, where students are introduced to a problem or explore something to see how it really works before they work towards developing an understanding of the principles underlying that discovery.

Students become interested in the topic because of the experience and they naturally have the desire to learn more.

Just like what good o Confucius stated:

Tell me, and I will forget.
Show me, and I may remember.
Involve me, and I will understand.
Confucius, 450 B.C.

Involving students in their learning has always been what educators aim to achieve. Through e-learning sites such as Khan Academy, students and educators are able to create an interactive environment, establishing dialogues and promoting the exchange of ideas, resulting in an effective learning process for all. Just like what Khan Academy preaches, YOU CAN LEARN ANYTHING!



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