Exploiting asynchronous delivery at the tertiary level: Transitioning from the traditional to the flipped model


flipped classroom
location independent learning
asynchronous learning
educational technology


In recent years, educators, particularly those within the tertiary level landscape, have been subject to criticisms for their apparent inability to effectively educate students, in particular, their failure to explore the potential of technology. For the purpose of this paper, education refers to the ability to harness students' ability to engage in written communication, problem-solving, complex reasoning, and critical thinking – all hallmarks of higher education. The educational landscape is characterized by the inclusion of information communication technologies and their potential to facilitate digital learning. Asynchronous learning or Location Independent Learning (LIL) is a student-centered mode of delivery, which posits the idea that students can learn the same material at different times and locations. Compared to the traditional, synchronous mode of delivery, the level of convenience provided by the asynchronous modality offers opportunities for individualized pace and deeper reflection. The 'flipped' or 'inverted' classroom model is proposed as one such way of reaching students by speaking their digital language while at the same time creating opportunities for the development, and  arnessing of the critical thinking skills that could allow them to navigate the professional and social world thereafter. The 'flipped' concept proposes that which is traditionally done in class is now done at home, and that which is traditionally done as homework, is now completed in class. This time shift then frees up the face-to-face time and transforms the classroom into a learning space used for discourse and hands-on, authentic learning experiences. Using action research, this study trialed the transition from a partially to fully flipped video classroom format at a tertiary level institution in Trinidad and Tobago, as a potential means to incorporate: 1) an asynchronous component that could allow for more schedule flexibility and appeal to a millennial audience and 2) a synchronous, interactive face-to-face component which focuses on problemsolving, collaboration, crafting and creating. The primary objectives of this study were to determine students’ perception of the flipped classroom as well as to map the progression of learning in both iterations.

Copyright 2011 Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, The University of the West Indies, St Augustine. All rights reserved.