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CBE Life Sci Educ. 2018 Sep;17(3):ar38. doi: 10.1187/cbe.17-07-0129.

Student Learning in an Accelerated Introductory Biology Course Is Significantly Enhanced by a Flipped-Learning Environment.

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Department of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, College of Letters and Sciences, National University, San Diego, CA 92037.


A flipped-classroom environment generally strives to create more in-class time for activities that enhance student learning, while shifting some content delivery to outside the classroom through the use of short didactic videos. We compared a flipped-classroom setting with the traditional ("control") setting for an accelerated lower-division general biology course. Student self-reporting and video analytics functions showed ample and variable video viewing among individual students. Student learning was evaluated through quizzes administered after a set of concepts were covered (post 1) and at the end of the course (post 2). Students in the flipped sections had significantly higher quiz scores than students in the control sections for both post 1 and post 2. Analyses of variance analyzing the effect of and interactions between type of instruction, in-class activities, time, and Bloom's level of the quiz questions found significant differences in the overall model and all the factors, except for the presence and level of activities. Significant differences between students in the flipped and control sections were observed for low-level Bloom's questions only. Thus, the positive effect of the flipped-classroom approach on student learning may be due to improvements in recall of basic concepts and a better understanding of biology vocabulary in their first biology course.

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