• Energizing Neurosurgery Education: From Passive Learning to Dynamic Interaction

    Author: Bernard R. Bendok, MD

    The "Flipped Classroom" Approach to Luncheon Seminars

    ADDITIONAL CONTRIBUTORS: Samer G. Zammar, MD; Rami James N. Aoun, MD, MPH; Issam A. Awad, MD; Youssef J. Hamade, MD, MSCI; James Harrop, MD; Steven N. Kalkanis, MD; Shekar Kurpad, MD, PhD; Nathan R. Selden, MD, PhD

    Over the past twenty years in both K-12 and higher education, the concept of using the classroom as a forum for didactic lectures, followed by additional study and review at home, has come into serious question. The “flipped classroom” concept has emerged as an answer to the limitations of this classical approach. The flipped classroom is a pedagogical approach in which a student reviews didactic material from physical and/or online sources before attending class. Classroom time is then focused on discussion and group interaction.

    Flipping has rapidly moved into the core of education1 in parallel to an increased availability and accessibility of resources on the web. Various prominent online resources potentiate the flipped classroom model. For example, Bill Gates has supported and the national media have featured the Khan Academy, an online compendium of educational videos. Another example is iTunesU.

    Figure 1: Participants in the 2014 CNS Annual Meeting luncheon seminar “Hematology and Coagulation for Neurosurgeons: Dangers and Solutions” accessed lecture material about a month in advance of the actual event.


    The Congress of Neurological Surgeons applied the concept of flipped classrooms to a luncheon seminar on “Hematology and Coagulation for Neurosurgeons: Dangers and Solutions” last year. The module began with a live webinar in August 2014 moderated by Dr. Issam A. Awad, with Drs. R. Loch Macdonald, Kadir Erkmen, Alan S. Hoffer, and Pascal Labbour serving as faculty members. Luncheon seminar registrants who missed the live webinar were given access to an archived version. At the actual luncheon seminar, each faculty member summarized their didactic lecture in one slide and then showed cases for group discussion and audience interaction (Figure 1). Based on positive feedback from this luncheon seminar, the CNS has expanded use of the flipped classroom approach to three luncheon seminars at the 2015 CNS Annual Meeting in New Orleans. To make the most of your Annual Meeting Experience, we encourage you to register for these pre-meeting webinars, in addition to the live courses in New Orleans:

    • Pituitary Adenomas: Operative Nuances, Innovations and Management Considerations
      Webinar: September 2
      Luncheon Seminar M08: September 28
    • Athletic Head Injuries: Return to Play
      Webinar: September 9
      Luncheon Seminar M02 : September 28
    • Hematology and Coagulation for Neurosurgeons: Dangers and Solutions
      Webinar: August 26
      Luncheon Seminar W25: September 30

    Webinar registration will be available at www.cns.org.

    Educational innovation has always been central to the culture of the CNS. Emerging concepts from the flipped classroom approach promise to enhance educational offerings at the CNS Annual Meeting and address attendees’ desire for greater interaction and discussion. We hope and expect that the flipped classroom approach will enable more efficient and engaging educational experiences for CNS members and will ultimately improve educational and practice outcomes.


    1. Tucker B. The flipped classroom. Education Next. 2012;12:82-83.

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