Gen Z and the Flipped Classroom

Migrated Account
2 0 2,604

Recently I was doing some proposal research on Gen Z (also known as Centennials, iGeneration, Post-Millennials, Plurals, or the Homeland Generation) and realized that this incoming generation of students is not only prepared for the flipped classroom, but expects it! Having been born starting in the late 1990’s, these students have been constantly engaged in constant communication through social media, technology at their fingertips, and consistent and fast internet access. In a recent survey from Barnes and Noble College on what Gen Z expects and wants from a college education, it was clear to me that the flipped classroom sets the stage for their ideal educational experience that is both immersive and engaging.

Based on the survey Gen Z wants:

Professors that care about their success and individual attention51% prefer meeting face to face, 77% prefer 4 year colleges
280753_teacher with young students.jpgThe flipped classroom provides more opportunities for one-on-one mentored like experiences through increased faculty/student interactions in guided classroom activities and group discussions. And while this generation values technology, independence and self-reliance, they still prefer the face-to-face experience and crave opportunities to interact with faculty and peers in person.

Career preparation:

35% currently own their own business or plan to own one in the future, 49% have already taken courses for college credit where 84% plan to

280752_white coats.jpgThe flipped classroom allows faculty to incorporate more real-life problem solving activities that allows students to practice applying both their background knowledge and new knowledge in ways that better mimics the problems they will face in their careers. Additionally, the flipped classroom teachings soft skills typically not address in the traditional lecture such as time management, collaboration, communication, and team work.

Interesting and engaging course work:

Class room discussions, working through problems, and working in small groups are preferred tools for learning

280758_group computer.jpg The flipped classroom takes the passive learning out of the classroom to make time for more collaborative learning experiences such as small group activities and discussions. The instructor can also bring in tailored activities reflective of a specific group’s interests that are relevant, timely, and more engaging. Additionally, the survey reports that students not only embrace technology in the classroom but expect it and rate class websites with supplemental material, game-based learning systems, DIYL (“Do it Yourself Learning), Smartboards, digital textbooks, online videos and learning websites as their top tech tools for the classroom.

Group learning environments:

80% study with friends, 60% like to exchange new ideas with friends, 52% like to help their friends learn

280756_group with globe.jpgThe flipped classroom allows for pedagogy that incorporates group problem-based learning by moving the lecture out and the hands-on activities in. By incorporating small group work, students also benefit from the diverse perspectives and knowledge of their peers and build stronger connections which help promote retention and success. 

  • Learn by doing:

51% learn by doing, 38% learn by seeing, 12% learn by listening

280759_hands on rocks.jpgThe flipped classroom affords the flexibility to allow more hands on and applied learning in the class, lab, field, or studio. In the survey, students reported class discussions as the most beneficial which opens opportunities for authentic student driven inquiry in the classroom (think Socrates) or problem based learning
  • Challenges:

(89% see college as valuable, 64% prefer advanced classes)

280760_stem group.jpgThis generation is not afraid of a challenge and expects to be pushed. The survey reports that an overwhelming majority of Gen Z students plan to or have already taken courses for college credit in high school. In the flipped classroom, the incorporation of active learning, group learning and blended learning strategies affords instructors the opportunity to weave in more challenges that push our students to think for critically about the concepts and application of those concepts in order to solve real world problems.


So flipped teachers rejoice because as Gen Z takes their first steps on to our various campuses they are poised and ready for what we have to offer and may even push us to do more! Have you noticed a change in student perceptions already? Have you noticed a change in their expectations? Let us know! We would love to hear your thoughts and experiences!

About the Author
As an educator, researcher, wife and mother, I am dedicated to developing and assessing innovations in chemistry education, medical diagnostics, and the biophysical characterization of non-helical DNA structures found in the non-coding regions of the genome. Website: