• Michael Garrett

The Difference between 'Blip' and 'Flip' Online Learning

As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, all schools across the globe had too rapidly move learning online to ensure the continuation of education for their students. It is not surprising that every school had a different way of achieving this, often with little guidance from the various educational authorities. Whilst the majority have chosen to use an online platform to facilitate distance learning in an attempt to replicate the classroom environment as a temporary 'blip' solution, a few have taken the big decision to 'flip' the learning for their students.

In the 'blip' online learning environment, the students are provided with remote access to learning resources and to their teachers who provide either lengthly periods of live direct teaching or video recordings. This is delivered through a timetable similar to normal school with back to back lessons which are heavy content based in accordance with the school's curriculum. There is a system of submitting and assessing of homework to ensure students are keeping on track and reaching their expected grades.

The problem with this solution is that the students become bored and disincentivized with their learning, parents become resentful with the amount of time they have to spend in supporting their child with this structured format and teachers become exhausted from the amount of screen time, preparation of lessons for an unfamiliar virtual environment and the marking of homework.

The alternative is where the school has taken the decision to 'flip' their normal method of delivery so that their students lead and control their own learning, with the teacher acting as guide and mentor. This is similar to the Montessori pedagogy where students follow their own personalised work plan at their own pace and whereon they not only excel academically but also acquire the life skills of self-responsibility, self-assessment, time management and a love for life long learning. This is achieved through a combination of short online lessons, periods of independent and project based learning, practical life activities including cookery, mindfulness and yoga through a more flexible daily structure.

It is without doubt that the enforced move to online learning for over one billion students around the world will have a lasting legacy on how best to educate children for the 21st century.

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