Flipped classrooms in pharmacy education: A systematic review

Najwa Aljaber, Jamilah Alsaidan, Nada Atef Shebl, Mona Almanasef

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In recent years, flipped classrooms (FCs) have gained popularity in higher education, particularly among healthcare students. The FC model is a blended learning approach that combines online learning with in-class activity. This has prompted many instructors to assess how they teach and prepare successful graduate students for today's society. Additionally, colleges and universities have been challenged to deliver curricula that are relevant to the needs of students and to provide the rising skills and knowledge that are expected to be acquired by students.

This systematic review aims to evaluate the flipped classroom teaching approach in pharmacy education and to provide a summary of the guidance for the introduction and implementation of the flipped classroom model in pharmacy educational programs.

This systematic review followed the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA 2020) guidelines. Eight databases were cross-screened by four reviewers, following key terms and predefined inclusion and exclusion criteria. A form was developed to extract relevant data from the reviewers. Qualitative data within the studies reporting students’ and educators’ perceptions and views on the FC model were also analyzed using a thematic analysis. Studies were appraised using the Medical Education Research Quality Instrument (MERSQI) and the Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI) checklist for qualitative research.

The reviewers screened 330 articles, of which 35 were included in the review. The themes identified were implementation, academic performance outcomes, student satisfaction with the flipped classroom model, and long-term knowledge retention. Most studies (68%) have found that flipped learning enhances students’ success and exam performance. Six (27%) studies reported no statistically significant difference in academic performance. However, two studies reported lower long-term knowledge retention in FC learning than in lecture-based learning. The students’ perceptions of the FC approach were assessed in 26 studies, and the majority reported positive feedback. However, some students found the pre-class homework difficult to complete before class, and some expressed dissatisfaction with the inconsistent grading and unclear assessment questions in the FC model. Overall, the FC model was found to enhance the students’ critical thinking and communication skills, self-confidence, and time management.

The findings of this review indicate that pharmacy students generally found the flipped classroom model preferable to traditional lectures. However, this preference is conditional on the effective implementation of this approach and alignment within the core instructional elements. The issue of increased workload for students associated with self-directed pre-class learning may present a challenge.
Original languageEnglish
Article number101873
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalSaudi Pharmaceutical Journal (SPJ)
Issue number12
Early online date13 Nov 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 13 Nov 2023


  • Education research; Flipped classroom; Pharmacy education; Blended learning


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