Flipped economics classroom

Recent active learning experiences have been associated with “flipped” or “inverted” classroom (Norman and Wills, 2015). Indeed, this method has been receiving increasing attention by professors that search for alternatives to traditional lectures so as to cover some topics of the course content.

By adopting the flipped  classroom in economics instruction, professors out to enhance a larger pre-class involvement of the students not only by reading the selected bibliography but also by watching instructional videos.

Before the class, professors provide instructional short videos (five to fifteen minutes) that cover the main ideas related to a selected topic of the syllabus. The videos generally emphasize theoretical approaches, definitions, formulas and graphs. Recent evidence shows that many professors actually record a narration of the lecture slides and notes.

As students should watch the video before the class, professors can privilege active learning methods during class time. Therefore, the class activities aim to apply the material that was covered in the videos in order to enhance a real-world approach to economics education. These activities- that are supervised and oriented by professors – can include, for instance:

  • Presentation, analysis and discussion of real-world problems
  • Team–work exercises oriented to solve practice problems followed by class-room discussion of the main results.

Indeed, internet technologies are also affecting the economics classroom. Topics in macroeconomics, microeconomics, international economics, financial economics, among others, can certainly benefit from flipped classrooms since this teaching practice does not mean the replacement of professors with videos.



Bishop, J. L., & Verleger, M. A. (2013, June). The flipped classroom: A survey of the research. In ASEE National Conference Proceedings, Atlanta, GA.

Honeycutt, B. (2013). Looking for ‘Flippable’ Moments in Your Class. Retrieved from http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/instructional-design/looking-for-flippable-moments-in-your-class/

Norman, S, & Wills, D. (2015). Flipping your Classroom in Economics Instruction: It’s not all or nothing. Retrieved from http://faculty.washington.edu/normanse/uploads/2/9/8/5/29853431/flipping_your_classroom.pdf

7 thoughts on “Flipped economics classroom

  1. As you can probably guess from my previous comments on this site, I’m not a bid fan of economics. Both because I consider it a duplication of work performed better by other social scientists and because of the tendency of economists to take a strong (sometimes dominating) hand in creating “economic events” and then pretending to study them.

    The “flipped classroom” sounds interesting as an approach to expand learning and excitement about learning. For some reason the excitement part in learning social sciences always seems difficult to achieve.

    1. Hi Ken,

      There might be at least one important reason. Realism and relevance should overwhelm the economics curiculum and the economics classroom.


      1. It’s good to say that realism and relevance should overwhelm the economics curriculum and classroom. In Anthropology we say “follow the actor” if you want to find out what’s happening and why. But that’s a difficult thing to do. First, because following is hard to do. Sometimes impossible. Second, because following without “going native” as Anthropologists term it is difficult and when it occurs can definitely bias research results.

  2. Interesting that it now has a label. We advocated the core idea at university 53 years ago (different technology situation, of course) as part of the issue of “relevance”, but it got no traction.
    Thanks for this good post.

    1. Hi David,

      Thanks for your comment! Realism and relevance should overwhelm the economics curriculum and the economics classroom.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.