Designing a flipped learning model in a computing course to facilitate students’ self-regulation

Irene M L Renaud-Assemat, R K Selwyn

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Contribution (Conference Proceeding)


Traditionally in higher education, transmission of knowledge takes place in lecture theaters (in-class time) and assimilation occurs outside-of class in the form of example sheets. Based on Bloom’s taxonomy, it has been showed that the phase of assimilation requires much more complex cognitive tasks and paradoxically, this is when students are working independently with less support and guidance available. A well-known alternative is the flipped classroom. In this student-centered approach, the knowledge transfer is done by students during their independent study time at their own pace with adequate teaching material such as lecture notes and short video tutorials. Students are then required to apply their knowledge in class with the support of the lecturer and teaching assistants. It is hypothesised that a flipped classroom encourages self-regulation. Important components of self-regulation are motivation, resilience and cognitive engagement.

This study presents how a flipped classroom has been implemented for an introductory programming unit for a large cohort of 1st year engineering undergraduates (around 220). Computing skills are essential for engineers but most of the students have no previous experience in writing and understanding computer programs. A scaffolded approach is necessary to support students. A first lecture is given to the whole cohort to clearly explain the intended learning outcomes of this course and why a flipped classroom model has been adopted. Students are not used to this type of teaching, so to clarify expectations, they need to be made aware of how it is organized and the potential benefits. Each week, students must watch short tutorial videos and complete quizzes available on the virtual learning environment. The online quizzes enable them to assess their own level of understanding and build their confidence. Completion of this preliminary work is essential before attending the computer-based sessions. During the computer laboratories, students apply their knowledge to a specific topic and can get direct feedback from the teaching team. To complete this cycle, students must submit 2 formative assignments. This offers students a safe environment where they can try without fearing failure, and an opportunity to receive constructive feedback and improve their computing skills. At the end of the unit, students must work independently on an open-ended summative project.

Student feedback for the unit has been compared before and after the classroom was flipped (two years ago), highlighting the benefits and limitations of the flipped classroom. This approach is particularly well-adapted to teaching a programming language. Indeed, whereas it is rather easy to understand the principles of programming, it is much more difficult to implement them. In this model, students learn by doing and learn from their mistakes through the feedback on the formative assessments. They are encouraged to be active and to adopt a resilient and positive attitude. Results showed that most students did engage and completed all formative assessments. Students mentioned that they appreciated working independently at their own pace and getting support when they needed it. Overall, self-regulated learning enhances students’ motivation and self-confidence.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHorizons in STEM Higher Education Conference: Making Connections, Innovating and Sharing Pedagogy
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2020

Structured keywords

  • Engineering Education Research Group


Dive into the research topics of 'Designing a flipped learning model in a computing course to facilitate students’ self-regulation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this