This blog was contributed by Bora Sinç, the Instructional Technologies Coordinator at MEF University, Istanbul, Turkey.
Flipped learning involves taking content out of the classroom and making it available to students in the form of videos, which students are expected to watch prior to class. This enables students to come to class equipped with the knowledge they need to participate. It also frees up class time for student-centered, interactive activities that enable the students to put into practice the knowledge they acquired from the videos. However, simply giving videos to students to watch before class may not be enough for them to assimilate the content. In order to be effective learners, students should be taught strategies for effective viewing and deeper understanding. One such strategy is the WSQ method.
The WSQ Method, (WSQ pronounced “wisk”), coined by Crystal Kirch, stands for “Watch – Summarize – Question”. The concept behind WSQ is as follows. In order to equip the students with the target content, instructors assign a video for students to watch before class and then require the students to submit a written summary, which includes a question based on the video content. The idea is simple but incredibly effective in getting students to properly engage with the pre-class content.
The basic purpose of the WSQ method is to make the learning content in videos much more meaningful. Students can better understand when they not only watch the video but also take notes while watching, and then summarize the content in the end.
The basic features in the WSQ method are:
Watch – “Students are given video lessons to watch. While watching or researching the content, they take guided notes… Students are expected to pause, rewind, and re-watch the video as needed so that they understand the key points before coming to the group learning environment.”
Summarize – “After students watch the video, they are asked to summarize, in writing, what they learned. Not only does this help them retain what they learned, it also helps them grow in their use of academic language…Providing guiding questions or sentence starters to help them process what they learned from the videos.” 1
Question – “After summarizing, students are prompted to ask about what they didn’t understand in the video, as a higher-level question about the concept that would lead to good group discussion, or create their own example problem similar to the ones in the videos. Students write this question or problem right underneath their notes so it is easily accessible the next day in class.” 1
At MEF University, I have been supporting instructors from the Faculty of Law, Engineering and Education, to use the WSQ method with their students to better prepare them for classes. However, after some trial and error as well as gathering feedback from the students, I hit upon an advanced form of WSQ to support the students’ learning. I call this WSQ+. The “+” in this version signifies an inclusion of an activity before the ‘Watch’ and after the ‘Question’ stages in WSQ. This version is not a different method of WSQ but it is only a different usage of the same method with some extra learning activities and with an integrated instructional design concept.
My enhancements to the WSQ method features are as follows:
Watch – Before the students watch the video, they are given a prior-knowledge activity, which includes the main keywords that appear in the video. The main idea behind this stage is to activate students’ prior knowledge and make them open to new information as part of their learning process. In order to create this Prior-knowledge activity, I created an online form using G-suite (MEF is involved in a Google Schools Pilot Project) whereby a Google form was integrated into our learning management system prior to the video, and students had to complete vocabulary activities or answer simple questions to activate their prior knowledge.
In some videos I integrated interactivity using EDpuzzle in order to support students’ learning process and to emphasize important points in the video.
Summarize – Question – I combined these two aspects into an online form using Google docs.
As we follow a Flipped Learning model, at this stage, I also asked students to answer guided questions about the video content and give feedback about what they didn’t understand in the video.
I believe these simple enhancements to the WSQ model, processed in online forms, can help the instructor to get data about each student’s prior knowledge and understanding, and about the learning process in general. The instructor can easily use this data to plan and develop the in-class activities.
Example WSQ+ project:
After active learning, in-class activities such as group work, projects, discussions, presentations, etc., formative, project-based assessments can be given that ask the students to put into practice the concepts from that unit. Student achievement (or lack of achievement) ascertained through their success in reaching the learning outcomes identified from these forms can be easily integrated into the next iteration of the course if needed. Both students and instructors can take advantage of this methodology inside and outside the classroom. Prior activities help students understand the video content better and create connections between prior knowledge and new knowledge. In addition, instructors can follow the whole learning process regarding the video content in the course, and can organize differentiated tasks to support different groups of students when required.
I have successfully trialled WSQ+ with the following courses, “ELT: English Literature”, “FLM: Fluid Mechanics”, “LAW: The Law of Rome” and will be working with these faculties again to integrate WSQ+ into more of their courses in the upcoming semester.
To see a detailed presentation of one of these projects, please feel free to email me on email@example.com
 Bergmann, J., & Sams, A. (2012). Flip Your Classroom: Reach Every Student in Every Class Every Day. International Society for Technology in Education.
Instructional Technology Coordinator
Bora Sinç has been developing projects in the field of Educational and Teaching Technologies as both a teacher and a manager for more than 20 years. He has B.A. degree in English Language and Literature and an MSc degree in Technology in Education. He has been working on academical research in the area of “Brain and Learning” as well as developing interactive instructional materials. His MSc thesis subject was one of the first e-Learning projects which referred to the in-service training of K-12 teachers in Turkey. He continues to work on Learning Management Systems (LMS), Instructional Design (ID) integrations, Virtual Reality, STEAM, and Computerized Gamification and Coding.