Why do I transform from traditional teaching to flipped classroom learning with TLE, SLE & PLE?


How creative do I conduct my class from students’ point of view?




Creating the space of Traditional Learning Environment (TLE), Social Learning Environment (SLE) and Personal Learning Environment (PLE)

During my teaching and my students learning, I introduce the three learning environment to my students which are: Traditional Learning Environment (TLE), Social Learning Environment (SLE) and Personal Learning Environment (PLE). This is what I have created in each of my class for my teaching and students learning. These three environments that I created in class and outside classrooms are explained below. It is an adaptation of Flipped Classroom with TLE, PLE and SLE being introduced.

Traditional Learning Environment (TLE)

I still believe in traditional learning environment where lecturers or teachers teach in front of the class. Therefore, every week, I still hold face to face lectures and meet my students. If I cannot make it due to attending conferences or meeting outside campus, I still hold replacement of class. Nevertheless, I have changed the way I delivered those traditional lectures. I tried not to spoon-fed but let the students to work towards gaining knowledge.

For example, I did not deliver normal lectures where lecturers explain every single detail of a concept. I will just summarize the main points or give the explanation briefly. In many cases, I explain about the bigger picture of the topic. I expect students to already understand the remaining sub-concepts. However, students will be tested to whether what they understood about the sub-concepts are true. Therefore, I will conduct active learning activities to test their understanding. These include presentations, discussions, negotiations and debates. Students are expected to work individually, in pairs and sometimes in small groups. They are expected to share the output of these activities with their colleagues. There will be marks given either by myself, instructors or their peers.

TLE with Active Learning Activities


I learnt that if my students did not come to my class prepared, they will be lost and find it difficult to understand subject being delivered. Whether they like it or not, my students have to come to class prepared at their own time. This is what I called learning at their Personal Learning Environment (PLE), which will be elaborated more in the next sub-section. Students find it difficult at first. However, they might lose marks if they don’t understand how to complete the activities that is related to the topic in class. They could also not participate in most of the activities if come not prepared. Therefore, this has forced the students to willingly learn and be prepared before coming to class at their Personal Learning Environment (PLE).

At PLE, students often found extra resources from other sources including websites and journal papers. This is what I wanted to cultivate among Malaysian students, which is to find knowledge themselves from all sources available around us. When they come to lectures, they are able to connect their knowledge from cases and stories published somewhere else by various researchers. They are also given chance to share those extra knowledge if time permits.

Nevertheless, in many occasions, there will be some contradicting points found through their own reading during PLE. They might be confused when the article published have different school of thought and contradicting results. I find it interesting to discuss about this issue in class. This is where my final year students need to think beyond what is delivered in lectures. The contradicting issues will be debated in class. I will moderate the debate session and come up with the final remarks. I always encourage students to think and discuss about what they think. With these exercises in TLE, students are trained to be more matured and critical in thinking.

Personal Learning Environment (PLE)

Students are expected to come to my lecture prepared at their PLE. This could be done at any time they prefer. Some students prefer to have their own PLE while other choose to do it in small groups or a mix of both. Honestly, I don’t mind whether their PLE is conducted in small groups or individually or a mix of both. This is due to the fact that, we all know that learning styles differs from one to another. To me, what matter most is that, they learn and gain knowledge.

At PLE, students are given materials to read, think and find. These are mostly guided materials that they could follow. The explanations about each steps are clearly given. However, the explanations are usually lengthy. This is due to the fact that students need to understand the fundamental concepts of the topic, which requires a lot of reading. Therefore, many students choose to read on their own and then start discussing with their group of friends afterwards. If they have any questions, I will answer the questions during lectures. This is to ensure that everyone get the same idea of the concept being discussed.

Materials being given for PLE are available on e-learning. This include slides, related articles, links to other resources and videos. Some of these materials will be discussed during lectures. Therefore, it is important for everyone to read them.

Social Learning Environment (SLE)

I have also introduced Social Learning Environment (SLE) in my teaching and learning. SLE is where my teaching and learning happens outside of classroom. This include educational visits, entering competitions and participating in conferences. I choose to expose my students to what is happening outside the classroom, so that they would learn more than what is published in books, papers and articles. I also want them to see and observe how things such as processes are managed, problems are solved and what is happening in industry.

Other than that, selected students will get the chance to present their work to conferences. This is how I choose to expose my students to research and development. Not only they would be able to share their work findings but could also learn about other people’s work and latest breakthrough. Usually, students who enters conferences are those who keen to continue their studies to at postgraduate level in research. Another important thing that I want my students to be exposed to is the knowledge on writing ideas and presenting results and findings. I find that by encouraging students to write conference papers, it stimulates their thinking and improve their technical writing skills.

Furthermore, I also encouraged my students to enter competitions and exhibitions that can showcase their inventions. I find that students would work hard when given the opportunity to let them showcase their work. During the preparation stage, they will find extra information, work on their product and go beyond what is being taught. For example, in my lectures, I taught students on how to develop knowledge management systems. They will use their own creativity to create knowledge management systems (KMS) using the concepts taught. They will ensure all elements are included as a complete package. They will also go beyond the miles, to learn new technology to design the KMS, and add unique features that they found useful to users. Some of them took the effort to promote the KMS to public, sell them online and conduct user testing for validity. This is the criteria that I would like my students to have, which is to produce work beyond what is taught in class. I have learnt that students will find more knowledge when given incentives and rewards. This include letting them to participate in competitions, exhibitions and other avenues at SLE.

Furthermore, at SLE (e.g. exhibitions, conferences and competitions) students they often get questions that test their understanding. These questions are not exams and test type, but something more practical and related to industry. These include business type of questions. I find it interesting to let students think and learn beyond what could be read in books, but very much related to the real world. Moreover, students also get to connect with industry that include investors that are interested with their work. They also get the opportunity to networking with business people that are valuable in many ways. Some of them point to ways students can improve their work to make it more marketable and some would want to collaborate and alleviate the idea. As I could not give nor teach those, I let the experts (e.g. corporate people) do it!

Pictures taken in various competitions that students have entered and organized at university and national levels as part of the class activities.