Flipping the Accounting Classroom to Boost Student Engagement

We’re all familiar with the traditional style of learning: students settled into desks with notebooks in front of them, listening to an instructor or, in their least favorite classes, fighting the urge to doze off during lectures. Then it comes time for homework, the very thought of which puts a feeling of dread in students’ stomachs. Half the time, it gets completed in a hasty scribble ten minutes before class.

This lecture-then-homework model is how many courses have operated for years. But it’s not always the most effective way for students to learn—especially with complex subjects like accounting.

Accounting can be intimidating because of its difficult concepts. Both majors and non-majors may struggle, particularly during the first few weeks of class when the material feels unfamiliar and overwhelming. This frustration can even lead students to drop the class altogether. One reason for this is the difficulty of keeping up with lectures. When students are scrambling to take detailed notes, it’s hard to process the lesson—and vice versa. Then, when those who haven’t yet grasped important concepts try to do their homework, they get stuck. By the time the next class rolls around, there’s a whole new lesson to learn, and they fall behind.

But what if students came to class already knowing the material? This is the main idea behind the flipped classroom, a relatively new model of education that began developing in 2007. In a flipped classroom, lectures are replaced by students learning the material at home before class via interactive online tutorials provided by the instructor. This reserves class time the next day for working on assignments that would traditionally be ruled as homework.

With the flipped classroom, subjects like accounting become less intimidating for students. Online tutorials allow them to learn at their own pace by pausing to take notes, doing interactive exercises with the lesson right at their fingertips, and watching tutorials as many times as they need—all things that are just not possible with in-person lectures. When they come to class prepared, practice exercises become less frustrating. Students already know the material, and if they do get stuck, the instructor is immediately available to solidify concepts and walk them through tricky problems.

Rates of flipped classroom use have been steadily rising since its conception, and it’s easy to see why. Of educators who have tried this teaching model, ninety percent have seen an increase in student engagement. If you’re looking for ways to turn frustrated students into successful ones, this might just be the perfect solution.

To easily implement flipped learning in your own accounting course, check out Paradigm’s new suite of AME Learning courseware, which includes access to the AME Engage technology platform.

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