Exploring the relationship between desire for learning and number of preferred out-of-class activities in flipped classroom courses.

  • Dennis Nevels

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Due to the current pandemic, distance learning has been increasingly used as an alternative to classroom learning and is offering the possibility for students to continue their study remotely. Distance learning is a different delivery mode that comes with its own challenges and this thesis aims to contribute to the educational literature in this specific area. Our focus is on an educational model named flipped classroom courses in higher education and combines classroom activities with out-of-class activities. Flipped classroom courses are defined in this study as:

“a set of pedagogical approaches that: (1) move most information-transmission teaching out of class, (2) use class time for learning activities that are active and social, and (3) require students to complete pre- and/or post-class activities to fully benefit from in-class work” (Abeysekera & Dawson, 2015, p.3).

Thus, in flipped classroom courses, learners carry out learning activities at home (out-of-class activities) that normally are done in the classroom and classroom time is used for activities that constitutes homework (Bergman & Sams, 2012; Sohrabi & Iraj, 2016). There is research available about its effectiveness with promising results, (table 1 provides an overview). Even though flipped classroom courses might benefit learners in general, it is also possible that for a number of learners the benefit is absent. They might not be prepared to adapt and participate in this new educational concept, which requires them to complete learning activities on their own before going to class. In this study we have adopted desire for learning as a construct, that in our assumption helps to understand why not every learner benefits from flipped classroom courses. The question that arises is whether these learners have other preferences when it comes to the type of out-of-class activities?

In an attempt to find an answer to that question, we have developed and carried out this study among learners in higher education in The Netherlands to measure, analyse and compare the two constructs: the desire for learning and number of preferred out-of-class activities in flipped classroom courses. To what extent do learners have a desire for learning and is there a relationship with the number of out-of-class activities that learners prefer to carry out in a flipped classroom course? The goal is to see whether this correlation exists and if so, whether it is a positive or negative correlation and how strong? Based on this goal we have formulated the following research question: In what way is the level of desire for learning among higher education learners associated with the number of preferred out-of-class activities in flipped classroom courses?

In the study we have also included a number of demographic characteristics; grade point average, sex, academic status and preference for group work. The purpose for including those characteristics is to examine whether those allow for variation between higher education learners.
This research question is specified in four hypotheses and a thirty-item survey will be used in an explanatory research design to see whether the two constructs co-vary. Both constructs will be measured in twenty-four items (twelve each) and the demographic questions count for four items in the survey. Two additional questions measure learners’ potential experience with flipped classroom courses. In this study 59 learners from 20 different classes of The Hague University participated. They agreed to fill out an online survey to gauge their desire for learning and the number of preferences in out-of-class activities. The results report a positive linear relationship between the level of desire of learning and the number of preferred out-of-class activities in flipped classroom courses. This means for our research question that the relationship exists and that learners who score high on the desire for learning scale also indicate a high number of preferred out-of-class activities that they would like to do. The types of out-of-class activities that the group with a high desire for learning likes to do are; reading activities (articles, book chapters etc); reviewing a PowerPoint presentation; a reflection assignment and listening to an audio lecture. There is no evidence that learners with prior flipped classroom experiences prefer a higher number of out-of-class activities.

Date of Award19 Jul 2021
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorChristian M. Stracke (Supervisor)


  • classroom courses
  • out-of-class activities
  • higher education

Master's Degree

  • Master Onderwijswetenschappen

Cite this