A Coalition Of Seven Universities Offer Support for Learning Recovery as the Delta Variant Expands Need for More Individualized Teaching


New program gives educators the skills to manage the back-to-school class of 2021, where students have the most diverse academic and social-emotional needs in recent history.

Irvine, CA, September 2, 2021 – Today, the Academy of Active Learning Arts and Sciences announced that Anahuac University has joined a global coalition of universities to provide critical classroom-level support to K12 teachers and university professors who will be facing an unprecedented need for more individualized teaching. The university is offering just-in-time skills for teachers and professors who will be teaching students returning to school this year with widely different academic skills and social-emotional needs. Anahuac is preparing educators with an evidence-based framework they can use during regular class periods to provide the personal attention students need to close diverse skills gaps.

“Differentiating instruction has long been a need and a challenge for most educators. The need for this competency has moved from desirable to critical because of the diverse learning gaps caused by COVID-19,” said Dr. Diana Galindo Sontheimer, director of the new program. “At the university level, offering more personalized and differentiated instruction can retain students in a climate where the new student pool is shrinking for many institutions.”

The Anahuac University program is based on the Flipped Learning model, which allows educators to spend less time teaching from the front of the classroom and more time working with students individually. During the pandemic, Flipped Learning experienced a surge of interest because of its ability to support online and hybrid learning.  Many K12 teachers and university professors received crash courses in the model when COVID-19 closed schools around the globe.  Now the Delta variant is disrupting back-to-school plans and creating a need for more advanced competency with the Flipped Learning model — this time, with an emphasis on more individualized instruction.

The Anahuac program is based on the global best practices identified by the Academy of Active Learning Arts and Science and adopted by the Coalition of Flipped Learning 3.0 Universities. Anahuac University adopted the framework to support a more evidence-based approach to teaching Flipped Learning to university professors and K12 teachers.

“Though there is a significant body of scholarly research on Flipped Learning’s ability to support differentiated instruction, there has been very limited work done on identifying the best practices for teaching differentiated instruction using the Flipped Learning model,” said Dr. Caroline Fell Kurban, Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning at MEF University.  The work we’re doing in collaboration with Anahuac University, the University of Northern Colorado, Dominican University, the National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, and the University De La Rioja moves Flipped Learning instruction from a matter of professional preference to an evidence-based framework that has been validated globally.

The Anahuac Flipped Learning Certification Center for Latin America

Three years ago, Anahuac University moved to introduce Flipped Learning to its faculty as part of a commitment to provide more personalized and individualized post-secondary education. In 2018, Anahuac implemented a program to put its best professors in 19 schools through a rigorous two-year Flipped Learning 3.0 certification process. The cohort included the staff of the university’s center for teaching excellence with faculty holding advanced degrees in instructional design, educational psychology, educational technology, and assessment. In all, 90 professors were certified, seven earned the Masterclass Facilitator Certification, and 4,000 instructors were trained by the initial cohort.  During the pandemic, Anahuac helped pilot, classroom-test, and enhance Flipped Learning professional development for higher education, introducing masters-level rigor to the program. In 2021, Anahuac University received the Eric Mazur International Flipped Learning Award for its innovative program.

“I know how hard it is to change one professor in one class. To change first 26 people, then an entire institution is absolutely admirable,” said Dr. Eric Mazur, Dean of Applied Physics at Harvard University and member of the Faculty of Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. “I love the strategy Anahuac University used, and I’m going to suggest it as a model to our own academic leadership for instituting change in their own institutions,” said Mazur.

The culmination of the initiative was the creation of the Anahuac University Flipped Learning Certification Center to offer the same professional support to schools and universities across Latin America. The University is prepared to help classroom-level educators meet the diverse needs of the class of 2021 while honoring the need for social-emotional and digital technology support.

“We launched the certification center because the pandemic created a critical need for a proven framework. School leaders and educators need to know that those whom they are relying on to train and support their faculty are aware of best practices, are teaching best practices, and are effectively preparing professors to succeed using Flipped Learning,” said Dr. Laura Gamboa Bello, director of CEFAD, Anahuac’s center for teaching and learning. The Flipped Learning Certification Center for Europe is scheduled to open later this year and a similar certification program will be available in the USA through the University of Northern Colorado in the summer of 2021.

About the Coalition of Flipped Learning 3.0 Universities

In 2018, 100 delegates from 49 countries collaborated with the nonprofit Academy of Active Learning Arts and Sciences (AALAS) to identify the global best practices of Flipped Learning. Several universities reviewed and embraced those best practices and launched programs based on the AALAS Flipped Learning 3.0 framework. This charter group of institutions make up the Flipped Learning 3.0 Coalition and continue to curate and apply the most advanced research and best practices shared through this international network. The Coalition was formed to take over the core mission of the Flipped Learning Global Initiative.  Dr. Diana Galindo Sontheimer is the current president of the coalition, a position that rotates annually. The Coalition includes a K12 advisory board led by Dan Jones, an original AALAS delegate, the first Certified Flipped Learning Masterclass Facilitator and an educator who currently teaches middle school history at a charter school in Ohio.

About Anahuac University, Mexico

Anahuac University, Mexico, is currently among the top three private universities in Mexico. Universidad Anahuac is part of the Anahuac Universities Network, of Catholic universities in Latin America, Europe, and the USA. CEFAD is Anahuac’s center for teaching excellence and has been providing supplemental professional learning to professors for over 30 years.