flip teacherMy wife is a middle school math teacher. One of the biggest challenges of her job is deciding how to best use her limited face time with her students.  The year is a race to get through all of the content, and more importantly have it be absorbed by her students.

If you’re in corporate communications or HR, I know this sounds familiar. While we don’t have a syllabus and teaching standards, we are definitely in that same race. How do we transfer knowledge faster? How can we help our companies change faster and be more agile than our competitors?

In education there’s a new trend that’s moving the needle on this issue. It’s called Flip.  The idea is to flip the normal teaching cycle of “group lecture, then individual homework” on its head:

  • Teachers record videos of lessons for students to watch at home before the topic is covered in class
  • Class time is focused on working on problems together, with the teacher available to help when needed

It makes perfect sense if you think about it. Why spend that valuable face time on a one-way lecture that can mostly be replaced with a video? Save that time for interactive problem solving.

As corporate “teachers”, we have an opportunity to learn from this.  How many meetings do we have where the primary purpose is one-way knowledge transfer?  A clue: count how many people actually speak in a meeting. If it’s less than 10% of those present, consider a “flip”: record the presenter and distribute the video for consumption on your employees’ schedule.

We’ve adopted this at our company for some corporate meetings. Our CEO shares his perspective and direction for the company on video, and then we meet in functional groups to talk about the implications at a team level. The conversations are specific, actionable and interactive.

Whether in education or business, face time is precious.  Success comes from squeezing the most value out of every hour.