Flipping an LSAT course : a design study investigation of collaborative instruction and inverted curriculum in a test preparation course
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A primary goal of education is not only to inform but to transform learners. As instructors shift their focus from a one-size-fits-all emphasis on content delivery to a flexible, student-centered approach, questions of student engagement and student motivation become key. In many educational settings, instructors are faced with a classroom of students with varying, and often unknown, levels of motivation, ability, and commitment. Effectively addressing the educational needs of such a range of students often requires significant changes to traditional pedagogy. A recent pedagogical design that has been facilitated by the advent of easily accessible and low-cost multimedia technology is the “flipped classroom,” a course structure that asks students to view lectures prior to class and replaces the traditional in-class lecture with collaborative, problem-based instruction. The aim of the present study was to explore the experience of introducing a flipped curriculum into a LSAT (the nationally used entrance exam for admission to law school) preparation classroom. The study used a design research approach to investigate two iterations of the flipped curriculum across three courses. Quantitative and qualitative data were used to describe the experience of a flipped curriculum for both the instructor and the students. When compared to a traditional curriculum, results showed no significant effect on overall test score improvement, but students in the flipped courses did show greater improvement than those in a traditional course on one of the three LSAT section subscores. The results also showed that students in flipped courses had marginally lower overall attendance, greater classroom community, high levels of engagement, and moderately high belief in group effectiveness.