The QWIQ Flip technique seems to be working fairly well for students during the Pandemic ‘Hybrid’ model of instruction. I have a tendency to over prepare and, in a distance setting, this often translates into students doing loads of extra work I would have adjusted away from if we were in person. So, I made a conscious decision to back off of the content demands when we were in person in favor of skills and engagement activities. Still, content is still necessary for context and critical thinking (as well as all of those district and state mandated tests). I needed some way to quickly get students the content they need while not letting it became a time suck. As it turns out I have been preparing for Pandemic instruction for years!

Let me reintroduce the QWIQ Flip Method.

QWIQ is of course an Acronym (because what would EDU be without those!)

Q – Question the Title

W- Watch the Video without writing anything down

I – Identify the Main Ideas once the video ends

Q – Questions? write down any questions you may want to discuss in class

Preparing the Recordings

To be effective Recordings should be “Chunky”. Recordings should be broken into 1-3 minute chunks that revolve around a central theme. Once that theme is established the recording should be given a title slide. For example, I might have a Compromise of 1850 video in my History Class. These thematic titles allow for the students to prepare for the content by turning that into a question. Some students might need some question stems and ideally the questions will become more complex as the students become more comfortable with the system. “What were the parts of the Compromise of 1850?” would be a fine question. Then, as the student watches the video they are thinking about the answers to that question.

These smaller “chunky” recordings should be gathered together into larger clusters centered around an essential question. For example, I would put that Compromise of 1850 video would be in a cluster called Antebellum Tensions or Build up to the Civil War. The clusters can be formed in several ways but I find YouTube Playlists to be the most convenient. Students should be aware of the Essential Questions that the Recordings are built around so they can better reflect later on. I put all of this into a Google Site for ease of sharing.

There is a lot going on here. My personal QWIQ based recordings are Option 1. Students can also examine some other similar content acquisition methods if they don’t like this method. I think this will be another post though. The point is for you to see the essential question for this Cluster.

QWIQ and Cornell Notes

In my school we use Cornell Notes style which is very well suited to this style! Here is a graphic showing how that is possible. The essential question goes on the top of the notes. For each “chunky” recording, the “Title Question” goes in the “left side” column, the “Identify” notes are in the main right side notes column, and any remaining “Questions” below the Identification. The next “chunky” section follows right below the first. Once all of the “chunks” are completed the student summarizes them. Ideally, the summary will be able to answer the essential question at the top of the page. I ask students to write one summary for the entire cluster regardless of how many pages it takes to complete all of the “chunks”.

This is an older example that shows the setup. I have moved away from the Summary/Essential question show in the picture as it was just a time suck.


Here are 2 videos about QWIQ that you can practice with!

The “Watch without taking notes” part is uncomfortable. Students will try to reject it. Remind them that the point is to make them think about the content and not just transcribe the words.

Guiding Principles

  1. Flipped Recorded Lecture Notes are a 1st Date with the Content. Students should get the big ideas and get out.
  2. Fill in the Gaps in Person – The 2nd and 3rd dates (review and reflection) should occur when students come in person. Games and quick writes are a great way to review and reflect. During these activities I encourage students to have their notes out write and build on them by writing in the margins or adding sticky notes.
  3. “Generative Activity Principle”. This is part of the 2nd video and is from a post by Blake Harvard (@effortfuleduktr). When creating QWIQ I knew that I wanted to transform typical transcription into a higher order thought exercise; something that would give a purpose to the notes. I later learned this was the Generative Activity Principle. The Watch and Identify portions asks them to Select and Organize the content and the summary asks them to Integrate the information. According to this Harvard post this allows for deeper learning and particularly valuable for low-knowledge learners.
  4. Value the Students’ Time. The acronym is QWIQ for a reason! I would rather students get the big ideas from all of the chunky recordings rather than take intricate notes and quit after the first 20 minutes. Our students are dealing with a lot we don’t know about once they leave our building. Taking notes for my class is probably low on there priority list. I’m fine with that.
  5. Assess Don’t Test (or quiz). It is really tempting to “grade” the notes to make sure students do them but avoid that temptation. It ruins the point of just getting the big ideas! Lets encourage students to get the big ideas and then ask questions later. Memorizing the minutia will lead to a) cheating b) students just not doing the notes or 3) memory dumps as soon as the test is over. We do need to know what needs to be retaught and/or what was taught poorly (yes, be humble). I use gamification techniques to encourage students to take the assessments seriously. Also, assessments can be review games and other check ins.