Student perspectives of independent and collaborative learning in a flipped foundational engineering course

Keywords: flipped classroom, independent learning, collaboration, higher education, engineering education


Flipped teaching and learning approaches are being increasingly used in higher education. Some advantages associated with the approach include providing opportunity for self-directed learning and enhanced collaboration between students. In this study, an implementation of a flipped approach in a first year foundational engineering dynamics course was researched to investigate student views on independent and collaborative learning inherent in flipped learning. Eighteen undergraduate students (11 male and 7 female) participated in this qualitative study. The flipped part of the course was designed to include self-paced independent learning and in-class learning, with opportunities to collaborate, ask questions, and work on examples. Data were collected using semi-structured interviews. The results of the study indicated that students universally enjoyed learning independently and appreciated the increased collaboration induced by the flipped approach. The flexibility of the approach enabled a range of approaches to independent learning and collaboration, and students were able to find learning styles that suited them. This article concludes with a range of recommendations for practice to further support independent and collaborative learning with the use of flipped approaches.


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Author Biography

Paul David Docherty, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Canterbury, New Zealand
Paul Docherty completed a BE(Hons, mechanical) in 2007 and a PhD in 2011. He also completed a trade certificate in tile laying in 2003. He is currently a senior lecturer at the University of Canterbury and has a core research interest of numerical methods in biomedical applications.
How to Cite
Fox, W. H., & Docherty, P. D. (2019). Student perspectives of independent and collaborative learning in a flipped foundational engineering course. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 35(5), 79-94.