This post is a collaborative effort between Thomas Schissler and Sabrina Love.
Learning new skills and knowledge is a highly complex process that involves a wide range of factors, including individual learning personalities, situational factors, and environmental factors. Every person has their own unique learning style and preferences, and it is important to recognize and understand these differences in order to create a more effective and engaging learning environment.
At Scrum.org, our mission is to help people and teams solve complex problems. Part of our endeavor to achieve this mission is to help people gain and apply new knowledge that will help them to affect positive change in their environments. The Professional Scrum Trainer (PST) community helps bring our mission to life by delivering classes around Scrum and working with customers directly. With each class delivery or customer engagement, we learn more about the effectiveness and impact of our interactions and are continuously looking for ways to improve. As a result, we are currently experimenting with a learning format called Flipped Learning.
What Is Flipped Learning?
Image Credit: Thomas Schissler
Flipped Learning is a format that is already used in universities, schools, and other classroom learning environments. The Flipped Learning Network (FLN) defines it as, “...a pedagogical approach in which direct instruction moves from the group learning space to the individual learning space, and the resulting group space is transformed into a dynamic, interactive learning environment where the educator guides students as they apply concepts and engage creatively in the subject matter.”
If you grew up in traditional classrooms where educators lectured and students practiced what they learned through homework, Flipped Learning is the opposite. More simply, think of it as “school work at home and home work at school” (FLN).
Benefits of Flipped Learning
One of the key benefits of Flipped learning is that the focus of the interactions is pivoted from the teacher to the students. Students become more than recipients of information as they are encouraged to take an active role in their own learning. As a result, students are likely to be more engaged, motivated, and feel greater ownership over their learning.
Another benefit of Flipped Learning is the adaptation to the classroom environment as this method enables educators to use class time more effectively and with greater impact. Instead of lecturing and presenting information, educators facilitate discussions and provide opportunities for interactive learning to reinforce new knowledge.
Flipped Learning at Scrum.org
Inspired in part by the definition put forth from the Flipped Learning Network and the benefits described above, we are basing our experiment with Flipped Learning on the consideration that there are two phases to this method:
- Self Study. Gaining knowledge about a concept. An individual, self-paced activity. And,
- Classroom Sessions. Practicing through interactive discussions and activities. A group activity in a classroom setting.
Part One - “Self-Study” - is all about gaining and building knowledge, and making this possible through curated self-study materials such as videos and articles. Students are able to consume these materials at their own pace in-between classroom sessions. To better support individual learning, we have augmented these knowledge-gaining resources with short quizzes and structured, shared opportunities to raise questions and insights. Students should use the quizzes as a way to reflect and validate that they are consuming the concept as intended.
Part Two - “Classroom Sessions” - are about deepening understanding and practicing through group activities. The questions and insights generated collectively by the students during the self-study time are brought to the classroom session for group discussion and reflection. Your Professional Scrum Trainer (PST) supports the classroom sessions as an expert in the subject matter and by facilitating exercises, simulations, and constructive discussions.
Image Credit: Thomas Schissler
These phases are repeatable. As a class moves through the course curriculum, they will cycle through self-studying and classroom sessions multiple times. Splitting the course into smaller chunks enables a powerful, iterative learning approach that allows for focus by learning one or two concepts at a time, as well as multiple points for reflection. As applied to the Professional Scrum Master™ course, you can expect to experience the course over four half-day classroom sessions on a weekly cadence, for example.
Learners Have Learning Preferences
Flipped Learning is an extension to our existing course offerings, not a replacement. We believe that learners have preferences and unique situations, to which we intend to offer greater variety in course delivery methods to meet these needs. The below characteristics of learners are generalized and intended to help guide you towards the learning method you think might suit you best.
Learners who register for a Flipped Learning experience:
- Are committed to take control of their learning and are willing to put in the effort for self-study.
- Find it easier to fit a half-day classroom session once a week into their schedule and be flexible with self-study time.
- Value the opportunity to deeply engage with new concepts and ask questions.
- Prefer to learn through reading and watching videos at their own pace.
- Enjoy the flexibility and opportunities for reflection provided by a Flipped Learning experience.
Learners who register for a traditional Scrum.org course:
- Are committed to taking ownership of their learning experience which is dependent on full and active participation over a short period of time.
- Find it easier to fully focus on the class and learning for two consecutive days.
- Prefer to learn as much as possible in a condensed time-frame.
- Learn best through discussions and conversations with their peers and instructor.
- Want to gain a broad understanding of the subject and use it as a foundation for further independent learning.
Experience This Method of Learning While Helping to Inform Our Experiment
We hope that our Flipped Learning experiment will expand the learning experience for our students and allow for additional opportunities to impact the way people are organizing their work and solving complex problems. As we open the beta phase for Professional Scrum Master (PSM) classes in a Flipped Learning format, we are excited to see how our learners respond to this approach. Our community of Professional Scrum Trainers are already offering classes in this format and we look forward to observing the impact of Flipped Learning on our learners and their learning experiences.
As a student in one of these classes, your feedback is crucial in shaping the future of this offering. Join us in this experiment and let's explore the potential of Flipped Learning together!
Upcoming training events for a PSM Flipped Learning:
Read more about how we have adapted the Professional Scrum Master (PSM) class to a Flipped Learning format.
- January 4th - February 1st, delivered by Thomas Schissler and Sabrina Love (registration closed)
- January 16th - February 14th, delivered by Chris Belknap (registration closed)
- February 24th - March 24th, delivered by Chris Belknap
- March 7th - April 4th, Delivered by Thomas Schissler
This list of classes will continue to be updated as more opportunities become available.