Implementing Synchronous Online Flipped Learning for Pre-service Teachers During COVID-19

April, 2022

Source: European Journal of Educational Research, 11(2):653-661

(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

To explore the gap in the pre-existing literature, this research aims to understand pre-service teachers (PSTs') engagement, self-directed learning, and satisfaction with flipped learning (FL) during COVID-19.
The study focuses on trying to understand three aspects of online FL by examining Korean pre-service teachers'
1) learner engagement,
2) self-directed learning, and 3) satisfaction during COVID-19.
Therefore, three research questions are proposed:
1. How does online flipped learning affect pre-service teachers' learner engagement?
2. How does online flipped learning affect pre-service teachers' self-directed learning?
3. How does online flipped learning affect pre-service teachers' satisfaction with the technology integration course?


Research Context
The current study was conducted in a teacher education program at a private university located in the southwest region of South Korea.
The university has a teacher education program that shares courses with various educational departments.
Due to COVID-19, the university decided to conduct online synchronous classes via Zoom during the scheduled class times.
Among various teacher education courses, Teaching Methods and Educational Technology, was selected because it focused on teaching methodology, prominent theories in online education, and integrating an educational technology component.
Traditionally, the class during previous semesters had been more teacher-centered with lecture-based classes without an online learning component, such as using the LMS.
However, due to the 2020 pandemic, the instructor was required to change the course structure to be more student-centered in an online learning environment.
Before attending the Zoom synchronous class time, PSTs were required to watch the instructor's pre-recorded lectures and supplementary YouTube videos based on the chapter content.
The pre-class videos were connected to an LMS that allowed the instructor to monitor and track each participant's completion with the materials.
The synchronous Zoom also allowed the instructor to incorporate various team-based collaborative activities, such as group discussion, making lesson plans for technology integration, online micro-teaching, giving and receiving feedback sessions in Zoom breakout rooms, and crafting Google classrooms.
After a Zoom synchronous class, PSTs were required to submit reflections based on the covered contents each week.
This course was a mandatory course for PSTs to receive a teaching certificate upon graduation.
The course was divided into four different classes in 2020 Spring and 2020 Fall, with each class consisting of 18-24 PSTs.

Study Participants
There was a total of 140 Korean undergraduate PSTs during the 2020 academic year (2020 spring and 2020 fall).
The course was open to all teacher education majors.
Hence, the course included several different majors, such as special education, early childhood education, Korean language teaching, English language teaching, math education, and physical education.
A total of 4 participants voluntarily agreed to in-depth interviews after completing flipped learning experiences.

Data Collection and Analysis
The data was collected in the 2020 academic year, including the 2020 spring semester (from April to July) and the 2020 Fall semester (September to December).
This study used three data sources:
1) PSTs' course evaluations after each semester (n=140), 2) PSTs' reflections after each semester (n=70), and 3) PSTs' individual interviews after 2020 fall semester (n=4).
A research assistant conducted a 20-30-minute interview in Korean with the interview participants.
All interviews were recorded through Zoom.
PSTs' reflections were collected from the course LMS at the end of the semester.
Example questions of reflections included:
What was your flipped learning experience? What did you learn about incorporating educational technology in your lesson plan? What were your biggest take-aways from this FL course?
Thematic analysis was used to analyze qualitative data sources (Clarke & Braun, 2018).

Findings and discussion
This paper aimed to understand three aspects of online FL by exploring PSTs' 1) learner engagement, 2) self-directed learning, and 3) satisfaction.
Data analysis evaluated these aims by using PST’s responses, which included course evaluations, reflections, and interviews.
RQ1: How does online flipped learning affect pre-service teachers' learner engagement?
Firstly, PSTs responded that the online FL with Zoom breakout sessions promoted active learning engagement through various group discussions and collaborative team activities.
Many PSTs preferred the Zoom breakout sessions in the synchronous online FL because it helped them receive feedback from their peers regarding pre-viewed materials.
PSTs also confirmed that the feedback from the instructor in real-time was a valuable learning experience as opposed to the asynchronous course format without feedback or interaction with the course instructor.
These findings indicated that synchronous online FL could be more beneficial compared to the asynchronous format without interaction between students and the instructor (Marshall & Kostka, 2020).
Previous studies have confirmed that FL can positively impact learners' engagement (Doo, 2022; Fisher et al., 2018; Lo et al., 2021; Norazmi et al., 2017).
This study's findings also matched previous studies that online FL could promote students' active online class participation through various collaborative and team-based activities (Fisher et al., 2018; Lo et al., 2021; Norazmi et al., 2017).
Thus, it was concluded that online FL could also positively influence PSTs' learning engagement.
RQ2: How does online flipped learning affect pre-service teachers' self-directed learning?
In terms of online FL on self-directed learning, PSTs responded that pre-class materials promoted their self-regulated learning before attending synchronous Zoom class.
PSTs mentioned that they could watch or re-watch assigned materials conveniently, which helped them enhance their self-directed learning.
In the 2020 spring semester, many PSTs struggled to adjust to being active and independent learners, but in the 2020 fall semester, they were familiar with online learning and realized how they could learn the content effectively.
They liked the combined use of the LMS and Google Drive with online FL because they believed that it was a helpful educational tool.
Previous studies have also confirmed that FL can encourage students to explore materials in advance so that they can be more self-directed learners by using the LMS (Balci et al., 2021; Ceylaner & Karakus, 2018; Kim & Choi, 2018).
This study also provided evidence that pre-loaded materials, including pre-recorded online lectures, encourage PSTs to become more independent and self-directed learners through online FL.
Also, these materials made PSTs more prepared before engaging in Zoom synchronous class.
These findings were closely matched with previous studies' results (Balci et al., 2021; Ceylaner & Karakus, 2018; Kim & Choi, 2018)
RQ3: How does online flipped learning affect pre-service teachers' satisfaction with the technology integration course?
The PSTs showed positive satisfaction towards online FL because they recognized the importance of online education during the pandemic.
Also, if they had to implement online education when they became in-service teachers, they were more likely to implement online FL because the class in this study provided them with guidelines, helpful tips, and tools to try out online FL for future purposes.
These responses indicated that online FL could help PSTs reflect on what they had learned from course materials.
Previous studies have indicated that FL can positively impact students' positive online course satisfaction (Kim, 2018; Samaila et al., 2021; Yilmaz, 2017; Zhai et al., 2017).
This study also showed that FL could promote PSTs' online course satisfaction in terms of technology integration because PSTs realized the need to apply the necessary knowledge and skills needed to integrate educational technology for online courses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Updated: Jul. 12, 2022