Flipped Classroom Model

The Flipped Classroom Model

If you’ve spoken to any of our past or current Applied Nutrition Science (ANS) students, then you’ve probably heard about the unique style we use to execute this program. It’s called the Flipped Classroom Model and we like to think it’s the best way to learn a lot of information in a short amount of time! We’ve been using model since the program's start in 2014, and our students love the peer interaction and active learning techniques we use to bring the complex world of nutrition to life! We know what our students think about this program, but if you’ve never experienced this style of learning you may have a few questions: What is the Flipped Classroom Model? What are the benefits of the Flipped Classroom Model? What does a typical class day look like? How can I be successful in this model? Our Calgary ANS instructor, Erin Hanley, has been teaching this model for the past three years and decided to answer these common questions below!

What is the 'Flipped Classroom Model'?

The flipped model classroom is essentially a ‘flip’ of the traditional classroom model. A traditional classroom setting usually involves the teacher giving a lecture about a given topic, while students listen and take notes. Then, homework and/or projects may be assigned to help students further their learning on their own time.  The flipped model reverses this structure and involves students watching pre-filmed video lectures and completing assigned readings at home to learn the main concepts and topics for class.2 Then, students come to class where time is spent applying the information though interactive activities such as group discussions, researching, case studies, role-playing, educational games, group projects, etc.2 Thus, the biggest difference is that students use class time to begin applying the information while interacting with their peers under the guidance of the instructor.

What are the benefits of the Flipped Classroom Model?

The flipped model is becoming more common in health sciences classrooms because more institutions are realizing the benefits of active learning in a world of ever emerging health research.1  Some of the possible benefits of this model, compared to the traditional model, that have been identified though education research include:

  1. Development of critical thinking skills1,2
  2. Development of collaboration skills1,2
  3. Development of problem-solving skills1,2
  4. Life-long learning skills (continuing to learn for life!) 1,2
  5. Improved learning outcomes3

All of these skills are extremely important for health professionals and coaches who must keep up with new research and recommendations, assess client information, provide client education, work with other professionals/colleagues, and of course be critical of the barrage of information that circulates in the media and online! Interacting with others and actively using what you learn in class, provides more opportunity to develop knowledge and enhance these important skills!

What does a typical ANS class day look like?

As mentioned before, students come into class having watched pre-recorded videos and completed assigned readings. This means everyone is on the same page in terms of the information needed to participate in class. Before before jumping into activities, a brief review of the topic is conducted by the instructor to address any confusion and answer any questions student may have from their homework. Once the review is complete, topic-specific activities that are strategically designed to challenge and stimulate critical thinking and problem-solving skills are conducted. Students usually work collaboratively with their peers, which helps foster team-work and they are guided by the instructor who provides feedback on various tasks. Most students will agree that after participating in class activities, they have a much better understanding and working knowledge of the material and are better able to apply their knowledge in real-life settings.

How can I be successful in this model?

If you are accustomed to the traditional classroom setting (like most people are), the flipped model may seem a little intimidating, but most of our students say they find it to be a refreshing and engaging experience! At first, it may take some time to adjust to the pre-class homework and in-class interaction, but after a week or two, our students get the hang of it! Success in any program requires dedication, and this program is no exception. The first step to success is completing pre-class homework. If students stay on top of their assigned lecture videos and readings, they come into the classroom fully able to participate. The second step to success is attendance. Attendance in class is extremely important in this setting because so much is gained from the activities and peer interaction. The third step to success is keeping an open mind to the learning process! As with learning anything new, without an open mind, nothing new can be gained.  




  1. Abeysekera, L., & Dawson, P. (2015) Motivation and cognitive load in the flipped classroom: definition, rationale and a call for research. Higher Education Research & Development,    34(1), 1-14. Doi:10.1080/07294360.2014.934336.
  2. Bates, D. K. (2018). Flipped classroom in an orthopaedic assessment course: students’ perspective. Athletic Training Education Journal, 13(4), 324–331. Doi:10.4085/1304324.
  3. O’Flaherty, J. & Phillips, C. (2015). The use of flipped classrooms in higher education: a scoping Internet and Higher Education, 25, 85-95. Doi:10.1016/j.iheduc.2015.02.002.