Improving Education By Turning it Upside Down

The NY Times Fixes column, explores solutions to major social problems. Each week, it examines creative initiatives that can tell us about the difference between success and failure.

Last week, Pulitzer Prize winner author, Tina Rosenberg, wrote an article about flipped classrooms. In these classrooms teachers record video lessons, which students watch at home or at lunch in the school’s tech lab. In class, they do projects, exercises or lab experiments in small groups while the teacher circulates.

Many schools have achieved some success with the flipped classroom and there is much experimentation going on as this new structure changes the roles of both the teacher and the student. One experimentation result was a change in the length of the videos from 20-minutes to six minutes, or even three minutes. The article says that the shorter time promotes re-watching, which strengthens learning.

Here at Brevedy, we’ve found that three minutes is the best length, because people will re-watch a three minute video much more readily then a four minute or longer video. In addition, breaking learning down into three minute chunks enables better absorption of the material as it reduces the risk of information overload.