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Economics student teachers’ views on the usefulness of a flipped classroom pedagogical approach for an open distance eLearning environment

Micheal M. van Wyk (Department of Curriculum and Instructional Studies, University of South Africa , Pretoria, South Africa)

International Journal of Information and Learning Technology

ISSN: 2056-4880

Article publication date: 3 July 2018

Issue publication date: 25 July 2018




The purpose of this paper is to explore to what extent a flipped classroom pedagogy (FCP) design as a digital pedagogical tool enhances student teachers’ learning in economics education at an open distance e-Learning (ODeL) university.


This exploratory study used a quantitative approach and online survey design. The sample consisted of 214 Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) and 157 Baccalaureus Educationis (BEd) (senior and further education and training phase) student teachers. A closed structured online questionnaire, Flipped Classroom Pedagogy Questionnaire, designed on a four-point Likert scale, was used to collect data. Descriptive and inferential data were computed to explore student teachers’ learning to teach an economics education in a teacher education course. Ethical clearance was granted and therefore adheres to the policy on research ethics of the university.


Empirically, the findings of this paper revealed that the FCP digital pedagogy enhanced economics students’ academic performance and perceptions in an online open distance learning environment. Furthermore, student teachers perceived that the functionality of the FCP experience as an online strategy was useful and effective for their learning. Therefore, these findings confirmed and extended what is revealed by earlier research studies regarding the debate on the usefulness of the FCP approach as a powerful technology-integrated teaching design in teacher education courses.

Research limitations/implications

The findings of this investigation could not be generalised because a small sample was selected. Further investigation is needed regarding comparing other similar modules of the PGCE/BEd (senior and FET phase) programmes over a longer investigative period in the college. Further research should be explored, employing a mixed-methods approach on how student teachers perceived academic support in the FCP strategy towards self-directed learning.

Practical implications

Ultimately, several implications for using the FCP approach emerged, in particular for rethinking teacher education programmes to support and accommodate the digital learner. To implement this approach successfully, faculties should formulate clear intended outcomes for implementing the FCP pedagogical approach. In addition, faculties at higher education institutions should seriously consider the merits of the FCP approach in order to avoid becoming redundant. Therefore, lecturers who intend to use this strategy either through a contact, blended or ODeL mode of delivery, are compelled to provide consistent, ongoing constructive feedback and monitoring required learning tasks.

Social implications

The paper empowers PGCE/BEd (senior and FET phase) students to teach the subject in a diverse society.


This research study has shown that student teachers perceived an FCP approach in an online platform as an empowering tool that is both effective and useful and that positively impacts on their lived experience in an ODeL context. It extends the epistemology (subject of knowledge) of the effectiveness of the FCP strategy as an enhancer for student learning in an ODeL environment, teacher education in particular. Furthermore, a noteworthy contribution is made towards the application of the FCP as one of the digital pedagogies in teaching economics in an ODeL context. This exploratory study also makes a methodological contribution to the validation of an online data collection instrument for use in future studies.



The author is indebted to the critical reviewers for constructive feedback and positive comments of the journal. The author expresses his gratitude towards the National Research Foundation for grant funding (Grant No. 113615) to support the project. Acknowledgement is given to the economics student teachers who voluntarily participated in this research study. The quality of language revision work done by the University’s Language Services is highly appreciated. Lastly, any opinions, findings and conclusions expressed in this paper are those of the author and do not reflect the views of the department.


van Wyk, M.M. (2018), "Economics student teachers’ views on the usefulness of a flipped classroom pedagogical approach for an open distance eLearning environment", International Journal of Information and Learning Technology, Vol. 35 No. 4, pp. 255-265.



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