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The Flipped Classroom: A Course Redesign to Foster Learning and Engagement in a Health Professions School

McLaughlin, Jacqueline E. PhD, MS; Roth, Mary T. PharmD, MHS; Glatt, Dylan M.; Gharkholonarehe, Nastaran PharmD; Davidson, Christopher A. ME; Griffin, LaToya M. PhD; Esserman, Denise A. PhD; Mumper, Russell J. PhD

doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000000086
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Recent calls for educational reform highlight ongoing concerns about the ability of current curricula to equip aspiring health care professionals with the skills for success. Whereas a wide range of proposed solutions attempt to address apparent deficiencies in current educational models, a growing body of literature consistently points to the need to rethink the traditional in-class, lecture-based course model. One such proposal is the flipped classroom, in which content is offloaded for students to learn on their own, and class time is dedicated to engaging students in student-centered learning activities, like problem-based learning and inquiry-oriented strategies.

In 2012, the authors flipped a required first-year pharmaceutics course at the University of North Carolina Eshelman School of Pharmacy. They offloaded all lectures to self-paced online videos and used class time to engage students in active learning exercises. In this article, the authors describe the philosophy and methodology used to redesign the Basic Pharmaceutics II course and outline the research they conducted to investigate the resulting outcomes. This article is intended to serve as a guide to instructors and educational programs seeking to develop, implement, and evaluate innovative and practical strategies to transform students’ learning experience.

As class attendance, students’ learning, and the perceived value of this model all increased following participation in the flipped classroom, the authors conclude that this approach warrants careful consideration as educators aim to enhance learning, improve outcomes, and fully equip students to address 21st-century health care needs.

Dr. McLaughlin is assistant professor and associate director, Office of Strategic Planning and Assessment, UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, Chapel Hill, North Carolina. She was a postdoctoral fellow at the time of the redesign.

Dr. Roth is associate professor and director, Office of Strategic Planning and Assessment, and executive director, The Academy, UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Mr. Glatt is a PhD student, Division of Molecular Pharmaceutics, UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, Chapel Hill, North Carolina. He was teaching assistant for the Basic Pharmaceutics II course at the time of the redesign.

Dr. Gharkholonarehe is a pharmacy resident, REX UNC Health Care, Raleigh, North Carolina. She was a student in the Basic Pharmaceutics II course two years before the redesign.

Mr. Davidson is director, Office of Educational Technology Research and Development, UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Dr. Griffin is teaching assistant professor, Brody School of Medicine, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina. She was a postdoctoral research fellow, Office of Educational Technology Research and Development, UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, at the time of the redesign.

Dr. Esserman is instructor in public health, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut. She was research assistant professor, Departments of Medicine and Biostatistics, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, at the time of the redesign.

Dr. Mumper is vice dean and professor, Division of Molecular Pharmaceutics, and course coordinator for the Basic Pharmaceutics II course, UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Funding/Support: The authors acknowledge and thank Echo360 Inc. for funding Project 4-1-1 Flip in a grant titled “Toward an Educational Renaissance: The Role of Lecture Capture in Fostering Innovative Learning Environments for Aspiring Health Professionals.” The UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy also would like to thank the Carolina Partnership and the Pharmacy Network Foundation, Inc., for generous financial support of its Educational Renaissance initiative. In addition, the authors would like to credit the UNC’s clinical and translational science award (UL1TR000083) for supporting Dr. Esserman’s time on this project.

Other disclosures: None reported.

Ethical approval: The UNC institutional review board (Chapel Hill, North Carolina) approved this study (#12-0685), entitled “The Impact of a Blended-Learning Approach on Student Performance and Satisfaction in a Pharmaceutics Course.”

Supplemental digital content for this article is available at http://links.lww.com/ACADMED/A177.

Correspondence should be addressed to Dr. Mumper, UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, CB 7355, 100G Beard Hall, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7355; telephone: (919) 966-1271; e-mail: mumper@email.unc.edu.

© 2014 by the Association of American Medical Colleges