One innovation that’s sweeping across education is the ipped course. In a normal course, studentslisten to a lecture in class, and work on exercises at home. In a ipped course, students listen to,
watch, or read lectures at home, and work on exercises in class.
Many ipped courses use videos created by teachers, but that isn’t the only option. An alternativetool is the humble textbook. Could we design a ipped textbook that replaces both videos, andtraditional textbooks? And that improves on today’s ipped practices?
Before creating technology, we need to know the design goals. Fortunately, there’s a wealth of
research on learning. We can use learning science principles to decide what a textbook for a ipped
course will be like.
This paper is about how online ipped textbooks should be designed. The principles are partially
.The focus is on skills courses, like algebra, writing, and computer programming. Skills are more
difcult to learn than facts. When a student drops out of college, it’s more likely to be due to skills
courses, like math, than fact courses, like history. The paper is oriented to higher education, but theprinciples should apply to K12 as well.
Let’s look at learning science principles that can inform the design of ipped textbooks.
Designers should start by choosing skills that students will possessby the end of the course. Then designers work backwards, choosingcontent, creating exercises, andso on. Only content that helpsmeet outcomes is included in thebook.Figure 1 shows the table of contents from a book on buildingsimple Web sites, at CoreDogs.Com. There are no technicalterms in the table of contents,
because the book is not organized by technology. Instead, it is
organized around tasks, like “Make a Web page with text,” and“Make a page with tables.”Figure 2 shows the topics in the chapter about making a text Webpage. The chapter includes a lesson on “Writing for the Web.”
This is not about technology. It’s a lesson about language: using
short sentences, simple words, active voice, lists, etc. You need tothink about these things to accomplish the task “create a Web pagewith text.”
Figure 1. Book table of contentsFigure 2. Chapter table of contents