Flipped versus conventional classes in a Saudi Arabian university
This thesis presents an investigation of the implementation of the flipped classroom in higher education in Saudi Arabia, which addressed three main research questions: 1- Is there any difference in acquisition of knowledge, and student attitudes, between students who take a flipped class and those who take a conventional class? 2- Is there any difference in the use of time, and approach to study, between students who take a flipped class and a conventional class? 3- What factors affect the implementation of flipped class? The study compared two groups of students, those who learned using the flipped classroom and those who learned through traditional lectures followed by an activity session. In the flipped classroom, face-to-face time was reduced from 3 to 2 hours and activity time was doubled from 1 to 2 hours. The participants were 491 female students; half of them were taught in a flipped classroom and the other half by conventional method. Instructors, content, materials, assignments, and exam questions were the same in both groups. As this study used the mixed method approach, the data were collected by questionnaires, interviews, classroom observation, students’ diaries, and marks’ reports and Blackboard Learn reports. At the end of the course, there were no significant differences in test or assignment marks between students studying by the two methods. With regard to students’ attitudes toward the flipped classroom, 60% of the students in the flipped classroom reported that they preferred this method, whereas 14% of the students reported having a negative attitude toward it. About 45% of students in the flipped classroom group reported a positive attitude towards face-to-face lectures, differing significantly from the perspective of those in the conventional group, 75% of whom reported a positive attitude. However, even with the positive attitude toward flipped class, one of the main findings showed that only 39% of the learners “always” watched the videos as required, and the trend of watching the videos showed a decrease in the number of views over time. However, viewing rates increased sharply during the period of exam study, as learners watched these videos again, or even for the first time. This thesis also explores flipped classroom students’ study habits inside and outside the classroom, and investigates the factors behind these behaviours, including their motivations and the obstacles to study which they faced. For example, shortage of time and issues with students’ self-regulation were the main factors that hindered students from watching the videos, as a result, not watching the videos influenced the quality of their participation in classroom activity negatively. Investigating the students’ experience in flipped class also showed other factors which were related to the adoption of a strategic or surface approach to learning.