In this article, we document the process of creating a medical English flipped learning course for third-year students at Hiroshima University and discuss both student and teacher feedback on the course. In doing this, we (1) explain why the flipped learning course was created; (2) describe how it was created and implemented; (3) evaluate how students responded to the course; and (4) consider instructor perceptions of the course.
The primary reasons for changing to a flipped learning course were to increase efficiency regarding classroom contact hours, and to allow students to self study content relating to receptive skills, such as essays and vocabulary. In previous years, the course had been taught to the third-year students with a team of four instructors over four days. With a flipped learning approach, involving pre-course study on the university’s learning management system (LMS), content relating to receptive skills was placed online. This included essays and audio as well as a variety of pedagogic matching and multiple-choice tasks. The taught component was initially reduced to two days, with testing taking place on a third day. In addition, further content was added and taught on an extra day in a non-flipped way.
Of the 121 students who took the course, 98 (81%) completed a feedback questionnaire. The results showed that almost all the students found the course useful and had high levels of motivation. A vocabulary test, administered at the end of the course and used in the previous year, showed no significant difference in a t-test, indicating that, for a variety of tasks, it was just as effective for students to study online as in class. The results of an evaluated task on summary writing showed that students produced better summaries than in previous years. This was probably because the flipped learning course created more out-of-class time to prepare for the task and more time to write the summaries. Teacher perceptions indicated several key points: While the flipped learning course was more complex regarding planning, very strong support from medical faculty senior staff and administrators made it possible; overall, flipped learning lightened the load of teaching contact hours, although the taught component was much more intense; the complete separation of evaluation tasks from teaching was beneficial; the use of the LMS made it easier to monitor students and get feedback from them.