The Importance of Flipping the Classroom in a Concept-Based Curriculum

Teaching conceptually, or in a concept based curriculum, focuses on several key principles. Many of these principles relate to student-centered classrooms, engaging activities in the classroom, and spending valuable class time helping students with higher level learning. The lower levels of Bloom's taxonomy, remembering and understanding, can be achieved by students on their own, with focused meaningful, learning assignments. Class time is when the instructor facilitates higher level learning for the students.

"Flipping the classroom" is a term (or buzzword) that many instructors are familiar with or at least have heard of. Traditional pedagogy focused on instructors delivering knowledge to students, but adult learning theories have validated that people learn and retain more knowledge when they are active, not as a passive listener to lecture. I like to think of classroom preparation by students as being just as important as clinical preparation. Most instructors would admit sending students home or to the library if they came to clinical unprepared. So, why don't we put the same value on coming to class prepared?

Instructors should select pre-class assignments that guide students and help them understand lessons. Then, in the classroom, plan activities that give the students the opportunity to apply what they've learned. A great example is a case study. Many experts on conceptual teaching in nursing highly suggest that there is a "patient" in every classroom, and that reference to providing nursing care to that "patient" happens every 20 minutes. You can use patents from case studies for this classroom activity. Case studies can come from textbooks, from your experiences as a nurse, or from students' experiences. Students can gain a deeper understanding of a concept if it has context to them. For example, if you are teaching the concept of mobility, have students reflect on a situation in their life or a family member's life when they had altered mobility. They can relate to the difficulties of altered mobility because it has context to them.

Because nursing is an applied science, it is crucial that instructor-student time be spent helping students apply the science of nursing to the care of patients. By requiring students to come to class with some knowledge and understanding of a concept, faculty can truly focus time spent face to face with students on application. Flipping the classroom and student focused engagement in the classroom are great ways to teach students to think like a nurse!

As you begin to move to a conceptual teaching model, Elsevier has some great tools to help you along.

First, take a look at Jean Giddens's Concepts of Nursing Practice. As the framework for Elsevier's Nursing Concepts Online, Dr. Giddens's text is well known due to her expertise in teaching concepts and concept-based curriculum development. Organized around the concepts found in the GIdden's text, Nursing Concepts Online is an all-in-one digital solution that's packed with tools to enhance your conceptual teaching. It includes the educational EHR, SimChart® — a great tool for bringing a patient and patient record into the classroom. NCO also features tools designed to flip the classroom, including eBook highlighting and sharing notes, self-assessment questions for each chapter in the book, and many different case studies. There are clinical skills for each concept and Elsevier Adaptive Quizzing to assess mastery of nursing concepts. Plus, simulations identified by concept, are ready to implement in your simulation lab.

Engaging students and making students the center of the classroom are important principles of teaching conceptually, and with Giddens Concepts for Nursing Practice and Nursing Concepts Online, you have all of the tools you need at your fingertips aligned to concepts. No longer do you need to reinvent the wheel!

Elsevier Digital Product Educator Tammy Pleasant has over 22 years of experience as a nurse educator. Since joining Elsevier, she’s worked with many nursing programs in the development and implementation of conceptual teaching, whether in a concept-based curriculum or a traditional curriculum. Prior to joining Elsevier in August of 2014, she played a major role in helping North Carolina make the move to a concept-based curriculum, which she says ignited her passion for conceptual teaching in nursing

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Tammy Pleasant,


Digital Product Educator

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