Understanding the Role of the Brick-and-Mortar Classroom in Course Design and Implementation of the “Flipped” Classroom: An Exploratory Case Study

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Elisabeth Counselman Carpenter
Alex Redcay


This article shares the results of a two-year exploratory case study on the impact of flipped classroom design on generalist and advanced practice social work skills in a large urban graduate university setting. The flipped classroom was chosen due to its’ emphasis on physical space as an active learning, skills-oriented, activity-based environment, rather than traditional lecture-based learning.  This two-year study gathered quantitative data on the flipped classroom format, which featured weekly lectures recorded and posted through the Canvas learning platform, with information outcome and learning retention quizzes also taken in Canvas, followed by in-class live experiential lab sessions in which students were paired up or placed into small groups to develop and strengthen their clinical skills. Students then completed reflection journals following these activities, which were compared to Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards to further assess for additional data and learning outcomes.

This article will present the findings of the study, which revealed statistical significance in overall general practice skills scores and in specific advanced practice clinical skills. Additionally, the article will discuss student-generated feedback on the physical learning environment, instructor workload demands, and required preparatory work. Further discussion will include expected and unexpected limitations of the space, expansion of the classroom through digital platforms, inclusion of differently-abled students in the flipped laboratory space, as well as recommendations for future research and iterations of the course. This study is the first to use the Play Therapy Attitude Knowledge Skills Survey (PTAKSS) and Practice Skills Inventory (PSI) to measure the outcome of play therapy classes for MSW students and to specifically measure the effectiveness of the flipped classroom model to teach play therapy skills. This study shows promising outcomes for the use of the flipped model as a way of delivering practice content to students and explores the role and specific impact that weekly sessions in the physical learning environment had on student outcomes.


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Counselman Carpenter, E., & Redcay, A. (2019). Understanding the Role of the Brick-and-Mortar Classroom in Course Design and Implementation of the “Flipped” Classroom: An Exploratory Case Study. Journal of Teaching and Learning With Technology, 8(1), 42–59. https://doi.org/10.14434/jotlt.v8i1.26806
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