Flipped Library Instruction Does Not Lead to Learning Gains for First-Year English Students
AbstractA Review of:
Rivera, E. (2017). Flipping the classroom in freshman English library instruction: A comparison study of a flipped class versus a traditional lecture method. New Review of Academic Librarianship, 23(1), 18-27. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13614533.2016.1244770
Objective – To determine whether a flipped classroom approach to freshman English information literacy instruction improves student learning outcomes.
Design – Quasi-experimental.
Setting – Private suburban university with 7,000 graduate and undergraduate students.
Subjects – First-year English students.
Methods – Students in six sections of first-year “English 2” received library instruction; three sections received flipped library instruction and three sections received traditional library instruction. Students in the flipped classroom sections were assigned two videos to watch before class, as an introduction to searching the Library’s catalog and key academic databases. These students were also expected to complete pre-class exercises that allowed them to practice what they learned through the videos. The face-to-face classes involved a review of the flipped materials alongside additional activities.
Works cited pages from the students’ final papers were collected from all six sections, 31 from the flipped sections and 34 from the non-flipped sections. A rubric was used to rate the works cited pages. The rubric was based on the Association of College and Research Libraries’ Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education (ACRL, 2000), Standard Two, Outcome 3a, and included three criteria: “authority,” “timeliness,” and “variety.” Each criterion was rated at one of three levels: “exemplary,” “competent,” or “developing.”
Main Results – Works cited pages from the students who received non-flipped instruction were more likely to score “exemplary” for at least one of the three criteria when compared to works cited pages from the flipped instruction students (68.6% vs. 52.7%). Differences were found in the scores for “timeliness” (88.2% non-flipped scored “exemplary” compared to 58% flipped), and “variety” (55.9% non-flipped scored “exemplary” vs. 35.5% flipped). This pattern was not found for the “authority” category, in which 61.8% of non-flipped works cited pages scored “exemplary” vs. 64.5% of flipped works cited pages.
Conclusion – The results suggest that the flipped library instruction approach did not improve student learning outcomes. The study’s findings are limited by the small sample size, the unknown impact of the variability of research assignments between sections, and the lack of control over whether students in the flipped sections completed the pre-class assignments. The author also notes that future research should examine how well the content of flipped library instruction mirrors that of non-flipped instruction sessions. The study concludes that the flipped classroom model needs further research to understand whether it is a strong fit for one-shot library instruction.
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