Indian School of Business increases ‘Flipped Classroom’ use: MBA News |

Indian School of Business increases ‘Flipped Classroom’ use: MBA News

By QS Contributor

Updated September 24, 2014 Updated September 24, 2014

This year, the Indian School of Business (ISB) will increase its use of the ‘flipped classroom’ teaching methodology, an approach that uses online or video technology to supplement its course structure and encourage active learning. Following its successful implementation on an entrepreneurial decision-making course last year, the school now plans to extend its use from October.

The flipped classroom method was born in the USA as a response to suggestions that traditional teaching methods may not have been the best way to ensure impactful learning. What it does, in essence, is to take advantage of technology to both ease the pressure and facilitate that which takes place in class.

For example, MBA programs using this model can allow students to listen to lectures online, thereby saving classroom time for collaborative learning.  In its first year of use at the Indian School of Business, approximately 200 students saw the flipped classroom in action when product concepts to be discussed on their entrepreneurial course were webcast in advance of class.

ISB was one the first Indian business schools to experiment with the ‘flipped classroom’ approach. However, the signs are that a trend could well be developing. For instance, another leading school, SP Jain Institute of Management and Research (SPJIMR), has also begun to take advantage of flipped classroom technology on one of its executive MBA courses.

Amongst US business schools, faculties from Tuck School of Business, Columbia Business School and NYU Stern School of Business are all known to have experimented with the model since its initial appearance in American high schools just a few years ago.

“The flipped classroom model of teaching is beginning to take shape globally as well as in India," said Arun Pereira, Executive Director of the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Case Development at ISB, in an interview with the Economic Times.

‘Flipped classroom’ appeals to Indian business schools because of the benefits it offers large classes 

The flipped classroom is likely to particularly appeal to Indian business schools because of the model’s suitability for large class-sizes, a common feature in India.

"One of the challenges of teaching a large class of students is ensuring everyone is engaged at all times. With the right technology, even large classes can be managed for active learning," said Pereira.

It could also be of great use to business schools that offer a large amount of elective MBA courses. Pereira, a strong proponent of the flipped classroom has spoken about the model in greater detail in the past, highlighting its suitability for Indian business schools. Writing in the Economic Times he said, “As B schools increase the flexibility of the MBA, they are offering an increasingly broader and diverse selection of elective courses in the curriculum.” He goes to say that this development calls for “new and innovative ways to manage the MBA classroom.”

Whilst the advantages of using widely available technology in this way are obvious, some Indian business school professors are wary that it should by no means come at the expense of quality face-to-face teaching. “It’s difficult to replace good faculty and tutorials, which must be a part of this method”, said Suresh Srinivasan, a Chennai-based management consultant and strategy professor, in a recent interview for The Hindu Business Line.

However, as long as Indian business schools are able to implement the flipped classroom in the right way, without sacrificing strong classroom teaching, it looks as if the method will be a success based on the results already witnessed at the Indian School of Business. As Pereira says, “get ready for the "flipped" classroom arriving at a B school near you.”

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This article was originally published in September 2013 . It was last updated in September 2014

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