Flipped learning is a phenomenon that has swept through the halls of academia and kindergarten through twelfth grade schools. When done well, it frees up classroom time for deeper exploration and application of instruction that is delivered in advance, often using current technology tools. Flipped learning enables instructors, particularly those with limited time in class, the opportunity to assess whether a student understands a concept or has mastered a skill, and to focus on areas of greatest need for extra support.


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It comes as no surprise that flipped learning has been embraced by academic librarians, who often lament that their instructional time with students is too infrequent. Librarians at Bryn Mawr College saw an opportunity to strengthen information literacy instruction with a flipped model. Through a partnership with the humanities professors, the development of flipped learning modules provided students with essential information about navigating the library and the research process; they also provided librarians with more time to focus on discipline specific skills and resources during class visits to the library. Introduction to Tripod was the first of several interrelated, interactive tutorials developed by the team that are now used more broadly throughout the college.

Libraries also answer the call to create and share resources across institutions. A good example is Information Literacy with Elsa Loftis, a multi-institutional collaboration based on the Association of College and Research Library’s Framework for Information Literacy. Loftis, a librarian at Oregon College of Art & Craft, worked with a team of librarians from the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design to create resources that help integrate information literacy across the curricula of their respective schools. With hosting support from Lynda.com, the online tutorials now reach audiences beyond the partner institutions and across the country.

Hershey High School in Pennsylvania has been a trailblazer in blended learning, and librarian Allison Mackley incorporates flipped learning as a component of her blended learning course, “Passion Driven Research.” Students complete the year-long, full-credit course on their own schedule, with limited in-person and virtual meetings. The course is aligned with Pennsylvania’s Core Standards and the American Association of School Librarians Standards, and it prepares students for the rigors of research at the post-secondary level. Best of all, as the title suggests, “Passion Driven Research” celebrates curiosity and allows students to choose their own topic for inquiry and action.

How does your library flip learning? Let us know! Email: futureoflibraries@ala.org.