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Can a flipped classroom approach enhance students’ engagement with, and understanding of, research methods?


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Purpose - The aim of this teaching development project is to implement a flipped classroom approach and to assess if this teaching and learning strategy enhances students’ engagement with, and understanding of, research methods. 

Implementation / Methodology - The teaching intervention involved 24 final year undergraduate students undertaking the Research Planning for Fashion Business unit at London College of Fashion. Each week students were asked to engage with specific learning material (e.g. videos, interactive presentations, readings etc.) and to complete pre-session tasks before coming to class. These activities were designed to provide them with preliminary knowledge and skills. Class time was dedicated to more practical workshops on how to implement various research methods in different research contexts. The intervention was assessed by asking students to complete a survey to evaluate their learning experience. Findings were triangulated by analysing VLE system logs, attendance records and students’ results in summative assessments.

Key Findings - Survey results show that use of the flipped classroom approach had a positive impact on students’ engagement with the subject of research methodology. However, the analysis of the VLE logs revealed some inconsistence in students’ self evaluations, thus reducing the validity of the findings. Although students’ reported in the survey that this teaching approach has helped them to understand the complexities of research methodology, a more in depth analysis of the results achieved in the summative assessments revealed that the flipped classroom did not have any clear positive effect.  

Originality/value - Despite contrasting research findings, the intervention has shown that the flipped classroom could be an effective teaching approach to help research methodology students bridging the gap between theory and practice. 

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