Ubiquitous Learning International Award for Excellence

Ubiquitous Learning: An International Journal offers an annual award for newly published research or thinking that has been recognized to be outstanding by members of the e-Learning & Innovative Pedagogies Research Network.

Award Winner for Volume 12

Students’ Perceptions of the Flipped Classroom Pedagogy in an Open Distance e-Learning University

In the past decade, an increase has been reported in the growth and use of flipped class technology-integrated (digital) pedagogy in contact or blended environments. This article explores student teachers’ reflections on the usefulness of a flipped class design in a teaching methodology course. An exploratory study, qualitative approach was selected and learning journal entries were used to collect data. Twenty-nine postgraduate certificate in education and seventeen Baccalaureus Educationis student teachers participated in this research. Empirically, the pedagogy of flipping the class positively influenced economics students’ perceptions in a teacher education course in an online environment. This investigation has shown that positive gains were reported in this study, specifically the functionality of the strategy, facilitation role of the teacher, and ongoing support for the successful implementation of this strategy. Further work must be done to establish student teachers’ experiences in designing a technology-enhanced flipping class that facilitates students’ learning in other teacher education courses. In view of the strengths of the flipped class strategy, drawbacks emerged from students’ learning journal entries that showed the “flip side” of the strategy.


The Third Industrial Revolution (3IR), associated with “web-based connectivity and computerization” which brought a pedagogical shift in re-imaging teaching and learning whether through distributed blended or open distance learning environments. This 3IR pedagogical shift provided lecturers and students with immediate free online access to vast volumes of information. The 3IR created and promoted active learning pedagogies such as peer and collaborative learning spaces for students, including learning opportunities culminating into mass open online courses (MOOCs), asynchronous open educational resources (OER), blogs and flip learning networks.

All these gains made during the 3IR period, spilled-over, creating leverages, and building learning spaces to accelerate the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) into the higher education sector. Given educational gains during the 3IR era migrating into the 4IR, which is influencing the higher education sector “exponentially”. Exponentially, this “tipping point” or rapid growth is created by the 4IR paradigm shift, providing an accelerated launching platform for Education 4.0, in particular, the higher education sector to leverage and venture into blended, distributed, and open online learning environments extensively.

Education 4.0 scholars who explore more with technology-integrated teaching and learning strategies, such as the flipped classroom pedagogy is of the view that this phenomenon is one of the fast-growing approaches in the global learning space. Education 4.0 provided many opportunities that await institutions of higher learning, specifically teacher education faculties, to transform the current modes of curriculum delivery and contribute to personalized student learning.

This paper reported educational benefits of the flipped class pedagogy as a student-centered approach that promotes interaction, between the students and teachers, engages the students in learning through application and practice. Furthermore, this pedagogical strategy places students at the center of the student learning process to develop self-directed learners. This allows students to free up more in-class time for discussion and critical conversations which is important for 21st-century competencies. For the student teachers, the lecturer plays a vital role in planning, designing, and modeling quality learning materials with which they can engage personally. Ultimately, this research empowered students with online teaching competencies in becoming successful online learners to teach in a diverse South African schooling community. In summary, this scholarly endeavor revealed that benefits outweigh drawbacks regarding functionality, usefulness, personalized learning outcomes, freeing-up-time, collaboration, and active participation towards self-directed learning advancing the success of using this strategy in an ODeL context. The findings of this study compel faculties of education to rethink the existing teacher preparation programs, student support, and online learning, in particular for an ODeL context. This study also advances the epistemology of flipped classroom pedagogy that reported educational benefits to accommodate the digital learner. Future research should, therefore, concentrate on the investigation of students’ self-regulation, attitude, and academic performance in undergraduate courses. A longitudinal study with a larger sample, using a flip instructional design should be undertaken in similar and other teacher education courses.

Micheal M Van Wyk

Past Award Winners

Volume 11

Bringing the Ivory Tower into Students’ Homes: Promoting Accessibility in Online Courses

Marisa Macy, Robert Macy, and Melanie Shaw, Ubiquitous Learning: An International Journal, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp.13-21


Volume 10

Exploring the Limitations of Face-to-Face Instruction through Blogging: An Emergent Exploration in a Teacher Education Program

John Vitale, Ubiquitous Learning: An International Journal, Volume 10, Issue 2, pp.31-41


Volume 9

Ubiquitous Learning behind the Great Firewall: Transforming the English Major at Shantou University

Thomas J. Haslam, Ubiquitous Learning: An International Journal, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp.9-20


Volume 8

A Proposed Taxonomy of Theoretical and Pedagogical Perspectives of Mobile Applications to Support Ubiquitous Learning

Ronnie Shroff, Christopher Keyes and Warren S. Linger, Ubiquitous Learning: An International Journal, Volume 8, Issue 4, pp.23-44


Volume 5

Introduction to an Ubiquitous Learning Model to Assess the Ubiquity Level in Higher Education Institutions

Claudia Maria Zea Restrepo, Juan Guillermo Lalinde Pulido, Roberto Aguas, Gloria Patricia Toro Perez and Camilo Vieira Mejia, Ubiquitous Learning: An International Journal, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp.1-15


Volume 2

Anywhere, Anytime - Creating a Mobile Indigenous Language Platform

Tabitha McKenzie, Rāwiri Toia and Hiria McRae, Ubiquitous Learning: An International Journal, Volume 2, Issue 3, pp.167-178


Volume 1

Tech Pushers: Making Administrators into Tech Integration Facilitators

Larry Taylor, Ubiquitous Learning: An International Journal, Volume 1, Issue 2, pp.33-38