A cross-sectional, mixed methods examination of a modified “Flipped Classroom” pedagogy

The “Sandwich Approach”

  • Jerry K. Hoepner University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire
  • Abby L. Hemmerich University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire
Keywords: ‘flipped classroom’, ‘sandwich approach’, student confidence, academic performance, instructional techniques, gap assessment


The “Flipped Classroom” has garnered much popularity as an instructional pedagogy over the past several years. At times, popular press and less empirical descriptions have superseded data driven descriptions of the technique. Further, many of the publications, which describe the flipped classroom approach, provide limited information about implementation or a vague overview of the principle. Nonetheless, the approach has thrived and is used broadly given gains in engagement and academic performance reported in a few key investigations. Several shortcomings have been identified but not evaluated systematically, in terms of potential solutions. This paper attempts to summarise previous empirical research findings, describe a modified version of the pedagogy referred to as the “sandwich approach,” and provide detailed information regarding implementation. A multi-year, cross-sectional, and mixed qualitative-quantitative design was employed to analyse comparisons of traditional versus flipped versus sandwich pedagogies in an undergraduate neuroanatomy course. Variables included student performance, influence of each pedagogy on student confidence, and student perceptions regarding each pedagogy. In quantitative comparisons of final grades, the sandwich approach out-performed traditional instruction . Student confidence ratings were generally better in the flipped contexts, as opposed to traditional. Qualitative analyses compared barriers and facilitators across pedagogies. Perceived barriers were highest for the flipped classroom approach, whereas barriers were lowest for the sandwich pedagogy and facilitators were the highest for the sandwich approach. Previous evidence suggested that the flipped classroom approach improved grade performance but was perceived less favourably by students. The sandwich approach appears to improve grade performance at a level equivalent or exceeding flipped classroom approach, while improving student perceptions. Since student perceptions are likely related to their motivation and engagement, addressing concerns identified in previous research regarding student perceptions within the flipped classroom approach is an important finding.

Author Biographies

Jerry K. Hoepner, University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire

Dr. Jerry Hoepner is an associate professor in the department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire. He teaches undergraduate foundational coursework, including anatomy and physiology, neuroanatomy and physiology, and undergraduate research. His graduate courses include aphasia and related disorders, acquired cognitive disorders, dysphagia, and counseling. He continues to work clinically with persons with acquired neurological disorders. He is a co-facilitator of the Chippewa Valley Aphasia Camp (staff since its inception in 2004), Chippewa Valley Aphasia Group (staff since its inception in 1998) and founder of the Blugold Brain Injury Group. His research addresses student learning outcomes, as well as outcomes at aphasia camp, video self-modeling, partner training, and related topics. He is a founding editor of the Teaching and Learning in Communication Sciences and Disorders journal.

Abby L. Hemmerich, University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire

Dr. Abby Hemmerich is an associate professor in the department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. She teaches undergraduate coursework in the areas of speech science, voice and resonance disorders, and undergraduate research. Her graduate courses include voice and speech disorders and accent addition. She continues to work clinically with individuals with voice disorders. Her research assesses teaching and learning in communication sciences and disorders, video self-modeling outcomes with patients with voice disorders, and comprehensive treatment in individuals who are transgender.


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How to Cite
Hoepner, J., & Hemmerich, A. (2019). A cross-sectional, mixed methods examination of a modified “Flipped Classroom” pedagogy. Journal of Interactional Research in Communication Disorders, 9(1), 5-43. https://doi.org/10.1558/jircd.34318