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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 48-49

Advance organizers: An effective alternative to learning objectives in flipped classroom?

Department of Anatomy, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research, Puducherry, India

Date of Web Publication20-Jun-2019

Correspondence Address:
Dr. V Dinesh Kumar
Department of Anatomy, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research, Puducherry - 605 006
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/bjhs.bjhs_42_18

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How to cite this article:
Kumar V D. Advance organizers: An effective alternative to learning objectives in flipped classroom?. BLDE Univ J Health Sci 2019;4:48-9

How to cite this URL:
Kumar V D. Advance organizers: An effective alternative to learning objectives in flipped classroom?. BLDE Univ J Health Sci [serial online] 2019 [cited 2020 Jul 4];4:48-9. Available from: http://www.bldeujournalhs.in/text.asp?2019/4/1/48/260736

Dear Sir,

Even though teachers intuitively know what to expect from students at the end of a session, many a times it remains inconclusive to ascertain whether students could internalize those and improve the learning outcomes. One of the ways to counter this uncertainty is by stating the expectations in the form of well-written instructional objectives.[1] It is imperative that based on the instructional objectives provided by the faculty, students could potentially use their preferred tools and demonstrate the terminal behavior, i.e., observable knowledge and skills they have obtained. However, this process is not a simple linear model because various factors such as motivation, cognitive engagement, and conceptual change have direct impact on the resultant cognitive gain of the students.[2] In addition, if instructional objectives were not aligned enough to assess whether students have met them, the students' goal-directed behavior tends to get muzzled and make them view as a ritualistic list of statements.

Advocates of constructivist learning suggest that effective learning takes place if the learners construct the meaning from the information accessed from various sources. In this ground, Ausubel[3] proposed the usage of advance organizers, which aid in the cognitive restructuring process and serve as anchors for assimilating the newer content. Instructors should be creative enough to select the appropriate advance organizers which, if presented at the beginning of the session, could cue the relevant prior knowledge of a learner and, at the same time, remain at a higher level of abstraction compared to conventional instructional objectives.[4]

Flipped classes usually combine constructivist and behaviorist ideologies, and students often lack the skills or motivation to learn how to integrate information. Unlike traditional classes, where the instructors often teach in a manner that covers the objectives of their own disciplines and ask the students to assimilate that knowledge,[5] flipped classes challenge the students to achieve the objectives by themselves. In these contexts, usage of graphical organizers such as concept maps, sequence chain, or idea mapping might help to encapsulate the holistic representation of facts and concepts and their relationships within an organized frame. Particularly, in medical education, where students need to be able to make autonomous decisions during disease management, graphical organizers help them to envisage the big picture without missing crucial links of intervention. Furthermore, the instructional objectives might not be of optimal use for the mid-level and advanced learners, who already would have developed their own processes for solving the problem posed in the flipped classes.

Based on the above-said observations, I suggest a modified framework for the flipped classes using advance organizers. In this framework, an expository advance organizer, simulating a real-life situation or a video clip would be displayed at the beginning of the class. Students have to deconstruct the organizer and apply the principles of autonomous learning to figure out the underpinned concepts. Following it, the students should be made to adopt collaborative inquiry along with peers and at the end of the process, construct a graphical organizer, and revisit the big picture displayed at the beginning. In this process, students will be able to justify their initial decision by appraising and arguing and even arriving at a new concept. In fact, Ausubel,[3] even in the period where flipped classroom was not there, postulated that advance organizers help the students understand the basic outlines of the structure and fill in the “cracks” appropriately and effectively with new and related information as it is presented to them. I, through this letter, emphasize that using advance organizers instead of instructional objectives would yield increased learning gains in flipped classrooms, particularly in advanced learners.

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  References Top

Wingate U. A framework for transition: Supporting “learning to learn” in higher education. High Educ Q 2007;61:391-405.  Back to cited text no. 1
DeBacker TK, Nelson RM. Motivation to learn science: Differences related to gender, class type and ability. J Educ Res 2000;93:245-54.  Back to cited text no. 2
Ausubel DP. The use of advance organizers in learning and retention of meaningful verbal material. J Educ Psychol 1960;51:267-72.  Back to cited text no. 3
Curzon LB. Teaching in Further Education: An Outline of Principles and Practice. 4th ed. London: Cassell; 1990. p. 45-8.  Back to cited text no. 4
Fink LD. Creating Significant Learning Experiences: An Integrated Approach to Designing College Courses. 2nd ed. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass; 2013.  Back to cited text no. 5


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