Smarter studies: using Glean with a ‘flipped learning’ approach to class

Developed in the 1990's, flipped learning alters the conventional classroom dynamic by encouraging learners to study content ahead of class. In this article, we explore how Glean can be used in conjunction with this approach to teaching.

Clock 3 min read Calendar Published: 29 Feb 2024
Author Sarah Hardy
Smarter studies: using Glean with a ‘flipped learning’ approach to class


In conventional classroom-based learning, learners turn up to class and are presented with content for the first time.

With flipped learning, learners study content ahead of class, then participate in active learning with their peers and tutor to deepen their knowledge during class.

This approach is a step up from pre-reading, as a little more engagement is required from both learners and educators.

Where did the concept come from?

The concept of flipped learning was developed in the 1990s by Harvard professor Eric Mazur. He created a model of ‘peer instruction’, which he called “just in time teaching” (Crouch and Mazur 2001).

As time went on and technology advanced, the inverted classroom was increasingly seen as a means of providing an inclusive learning environment. Teachers started to step beyond the role of instructor,  taking on the role of facilitator and coach.

The term ‘flipped learning’ was then popularised by chemistry teachers Jon Bergman and Aaron Sams (Bergmann and Sams 2012) and the founder of the Khan Academy, Salman Khan (TED 2011), in the early mid-2000s. 

Why is flipped learning a useful strategy for educators?

From saving time, to helping students develop independent learning skills, there are a number of key benefits to a flipped approach such as:

  • Learners arrive in class ready to have in depth discussions with newly acquired knowledge of the topic.
  • Educators can save time delivering content and spend time diving into the critical analysis of the content.
  • Learners can deepen their learning when following a flipped approach given the dual exposure to content.
  • Learners develop independent study and time management skills, with educator support, by doing flipped activities.

What are the challenges of using this strategy?

Reading through the benefits of a flipped approach makes it sound like a near-perfect solution, but it can bring its own set of challenges to the classroom.

The challenges mostly revolve around reliance on the learner to self-motivate and engage, for example:

  • Learners might not engage with material before class.
  • Learners could forget to take notes during the flipped activity.
  • Learners could forget what they learned in the flipped activity and struggle to engage in class.

So how can educators mitigate these potential challenges?

Luckily, in 2024, we have technology on our side, and there are many tools that can be used to support this model of learning.

Pairing Glean with flipped learning content is a great way for learners to develop their understanding of class topics, and prepare themselves to fully engage in classroom discussions. 

How learners can use Glean to study more effectively with flipped learning?

Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of exactly how learners can use Glean to engage with content ahead of class, then use their notes to support them during class review:

  • Step 1: Load up your video or audio based flipped learning content. Then, load up Glean alongside, and use the record screen audio feature to capture the audio from the material in Glean.
  • Step 2: If slides have been provided ahead of time, import these into your Glean event and post them into your recording where relevant.
  • Step 3: Add notes alongside your recorded audio and slides. Why not mark questions or points you want to raise in class, or items you’d like to research further before class in more detail? If you’re watching a video, take screenshots of complex diagrams or concepts and add them to your notes automatically so you can quickly focus on those key parts ahead of class ready to have meaningful discussions with peers and educators.
  • Step 4: Once you’ve finished reviewing the prep materials and taken your notes, you can export your event in ‘reading view’ so you can see slides, notes, screenshots and more all in one place. This can be reviewed by peers or the educator ahead of class.
  • Step 5: Refer back to your Glean notes live in class to explain your opinions on the key points shared in the flipped activity. You can also access a transcript of the recording if you prefer to review content as text.

Does your institution already use Glean? Download a version of these steps as a one page PDF and send it to your students!

How does using Glean helps learners with this strategy?

Using Glean beyond the classroom is a great way for learners to improve their understanding of class content, and develop critical learning skills that they will carry forward throughout their lives.

Here are a few reasons why:

  • Glean ensures nothing is missed, including the flipped learning activity.
  • Capturing notes in Glean, learners arrive in class prepared and ready to dive deeper into their topic.
  • Learners can share their Glean notes with their peers ahead of class to help create more meaningful peer discussions on the topic.
  • Learners have their notes in one place and can refer back to them, which can help lessen anxiety around forgetting key points in group discussion.

What other apps or tools could supercharge this approach?

There are a whole host of tools out there that can support this approach. In specific relation to Glean, learners can import their Glean notes into Zotero or Menderley to refer back to when citing sources in assessments.

In Zotero, learners can CTRL+C and CTRL+V notes including any saved screenshots in Glean. In Menderley, learners need to export their Glean notes as a PDF and upload to Menderley.

Where can I learn more?

To find out more about flipped learning, its history and application, you can read this article by Advance HE here.



If you’d like to learn more about how Glean can help students to become independent learners at your institution, book a call with our friendly team today.  

Book a call
Time for a simpler, smarter note taking accommodation?

Time for a simpler, smarter note taking accommodation?

Glean is the online note taking tool that makes compliance simple, reduces cost and admin burden, and improves student outcomes.
Learn More