How effective is the Inverted Classroom Model (ICM), a teaching tool most often used with undergraduates, when applied to postgraduate learners in economics and sustainability? ICM, also known as the “flipped classroom”, replaces the classroom lecture with active student involvement in experiential learning activities in class, whilst the core course content is provided using digital tools and video lectures, possibly in addition to readings, before the students arrive at class. In 2016, the Vienna University of Economics and Business brought ICM to its postgraduate economics students for the first time. The authors of this paper used ICM to teach behavioural economics, a core course in the Masters in Socio-Ecological Economics and Policy with 49 students, as a pilot for using ICM in a sustainability education context. Case study methodology was applied to document the ICM pilot and discusses the effectiveness of the ICM approach. Did the student's view the ICM format positively? Did the ICM format meet the instructors' goals for sustainable education? Which In-class Activities did the students benefit from or criticise? This case study used an anonymous post-course perception survey to determine if the pilot was successful from the students' point of view, grades, and the authors' observations. The main findings are that ICM “worked” for sustainable education. Students acquired new knowledge, valued elements of the course that were intended for reflection, and expanded their competencies. The majority of students were satisfied with the ICM format and believed that it improved their individual performance. However, students advised against expanding this format. The authors interpret this paradoxical result as reflecting the students' perception that the inverted classroom and active learning methods implemented in this course imposed a too high workload; whereas the students perceive that they receive sufficient benefits from a traditional lecture format. While it is a case study, the findings and outcomes apply to postgraduate education in economics, particularly in sustainable education programs. Therefore, this research contributes to the field of research on ICM at the post-graduate level and augments the limited research on ICM in sustainable education. Additionally, this paper expands the research on ICM in the German-speaking world.
Journal of Cleaner Production – Elsevier
Published: May 10, 2018
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