House half build with the frame showing

Photo by Devon Janse van Rensburg on Unsplash


The foundation of the research process is the theoretical framework that is applied.  Grant & Osanloo (2014) liken a theoretical framework to the blueprint of a home.  Just as a builder would be unable to build a home without a blueprint, A researcher cannot guide their readers through their study without an understanding of the theoretical framework that underpins the research.

There are a few theoretical frameworks that can be applied to the study of the flipped classroom.   In a flipped classroom, the learning activities that traditionally occur in the classroom, like the introduction of new material through lectures and handouts, are introduced to students outside the classroom in a digital environment and the activities that traditionally occur outside the classroom, like homework assignments and activities completed in isolation, are completed inside the classroom where students work on activities and assignments with the teacher and/or their peers.  Bloom’s Taxonomy as a theoretical framework could be useful to examine the effects of flipping the traditional classroom as it relates to learning in the workplace.

Looking at the flipped classroom through the lens of Bloom’s Taxonomy (Weitzenkamp, 2013), lower-order thinking is conducted outside the classroom and higher-order thinking is fostered inside the classroom.

Bloom's Taxonomy comparing traditional classrooms to flipped classrooms

Image: Williams, Beth (2013). How I flipped my classroom. NNNC Conference, Norfolk, NE.

Higher-order thinking, in a flipped classroom, being fostered and cultivated inside the classroom with peers, lends itself to constructivist theory.  The constructivist theory asserts that learning is not an isolated solo journey but a socially interactive journey that authentically explores real-time and real-world why’s and how’s as opposed to learning for the sake of learning.  The lesson being learned should be meaningful to the learner (Shieh, 2010, p. 707).  In a workplace learning program, learning objects would ideally be useful to the student in the navigation of the work environment.  A flipped classroom model in the workplace would allow employees to work directly with their peers on activities allowing for group work and sharing of ideas.  A core element of the constructivist theory is described by Shieh (2010) as being more than reflecting on one’s own experiences and thoughts about those experiences, but also incorporating others’ ideas about the experience as well in order to construct more wholesome knowledge (p. 707).

There are other theoretical frameworks that can be explored for this research such as Activity Theory, which identifies activities as the most transformative part of learning (Frederickson, Reed, & Clifford, 2005) and Piaget’s Equilibration Theory which assumes that the student assimilates new information into their own current understanding and then adapts a new way of thinking to achieve cognitive balance (Bloom, 2018), however I am more confident in the use of Constructivist Theory and Bloom’s Taxonomy in researching flipped classroom for workplace adaptation.

What do you think?  Are there other theoretical frameworks that would better suit a flipped classroom?   I look forward to your thoughts.


Bloom, J. (2018). Piaget on equilibration. In U. Muller, J. Carpendale, & L. Smith, The Cambridge Companion to Piaget (pp. 131-149). Cambridge University Press.

Eppard, J., & Rochdi, A. (2017). A framework for flipped learning. 13th International Conference Mobile Learning (pp. 33-40). UAE: Zayed University.

Frederickson, N., Reed, P., & Clifford, V. (2005). Evaluating web-supported learning versus lecture-based teaching: quantitative and qualitative perspectives. Higher Education, 645-664.

Grant, C., & Osanloo, A. (2014). Understanding, selecting, and integrating a theoretical framework in dissertation research: creating the blueprint for your “house”. Connecting Education, Practice, and Research, 12-26.

Ruey, S. (2010). A case study of constructivist instructional strategies for adult online learning. British Journal of Education Technology, 706-720.

Weitzenkamp, D. (2013, October 1). Blooms and the Flipped Classroom. Retrieved from Next Generation Extension Web site: