Efficacy of flipped vs. traditional course design for cognitive learning, affective learning, and study habits in non-major undergraduate biology laboratory classes instructed by graduate teaching assistants

Instruction utilizing flipped classroom design focuses on providing interactive discussions, hands-on learning, and higher levels of cognitive learning during class by reassigning tasks of lower levels of cognitive learning as preparatory homework, often through pre-recorded video lectures accessed online. The philosophy is student-centered, promoting self-motivation, engagement, and responsibility for learning. Seven Graduate Teaching Assistants, 10 class sections, and 203 undergraduate non-major students at California State University, Stanislaus in the spring semester of 2015 Introductory Biology Laboratory course volunteered participation in this study. Students were analyzed for measures of cognitive learning, affective learning, and study habits. Instructors were analyzed for measures of compliance to treatment type and intra-rater reliability during grading. Some statistically significant differences were noted between treatment groups for student cognitive and affective learning; however, instructors were found to be a confounding factor accounting for up to half of the variability in measures of student learning. Statistically significant differences between treatments were found in student study habits, with students in the flipped classrooms performing more frequent study habit actions than students in the traditionally taught classes. More research is needed to parse out factors influencing flipped classroom efficacy in non-majors undergraduate labs instructed by Graduate Teaching Assistants.